Netherlands and Sweden demand access for aid workers in Yemen

The Netherlands and Sweden have called on the warring parties in Yemen to guarantee humanitarian organisations free, direct access to the many people in dire need in the country. They have also urged an immediate ceasefire, which would be overseen by the United Nations. This would allow the resumption of peace talks under the direction of the UN.

Foreign minister Bert Koenders and his Swedish counterpart Margot Wallström issued these appeals in a joint statement, a Dutch initiative taken Monday during Mr Koenders’ visit to Sweden.

Catastrophic situation

In the statement, the ministers expressed their shock at reports from UNICEF and the World Health Organization that over 200,000 people in Yemen were currently suffering from cholera. Children are particularly vulnerable to this potentially fatal infectious disease. ‘It is appalling to see yet another humanitarian crisis added to an already catastrophic situation,’ said the ministers.

Humanitarian aid is an acute priority, but a great deal more needs to be done to resolve the crisis in the Arab country. Mr Koenders and Ms Wallström stressed that a political solution must be found to secure a lasting peace and that women must play a part in this process. The Netherlands and Sweden reiterated their support for an international, independent investigation into violations of human rights and international humanitarian law in Yemen. They also called on the warring parties to allow commercial flights into Sanaa airport and permit the resumption of the country’s economic development.