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Focus on civil society: Yemen on the UN Security Council agenda Yemen

A doctor advises girls on free healthcare for poorer families at a medical school during the COVID-19 pandemic

A doctor advises girls on free healthcare for poorer families at a medical school during the COVID-19 pandemic, © dpa

28.07.2020 - Article

The conflict in Yemen continues unabated and political initiatives have failed to achieve any breakthroughs so far. COVID-19 is further exacerbating this humanitarian disaster. Germany is focusing on civil society initiatives in the UN Security Council.

Civil society initiatives play an important role in Yemen, where humanitarian access is often hampered by the parties to the conflict. This is not only a question of ensuring that relief supplies reach the population, but is also about harnessing the expertise of volunteers on the ground who experience developments in the region and can relay information about the specific needs and situation.

Within the framework of the UN Security Council’s monthly briefing on the situation in Yemen, Germany has invited two Yemeni women to report on the situation on the ground as part of its Presidency. The main focus is on identifying ways to ease the catastrophic humanitarian situation – by improving access for aid workers, for example.

People with disabilities

Raja Abdullah Ahmed Almasabi
Raja Abdullah Ahmed Almasabi© Raja Almasabi

Raja Abdullah Ahmed Almasabi campaigns for the rights of people with disabilities and women in Yemen. She founded the Yemeni branch of Handicap International in 1988 and works with international organisations to raise awareness of the situation of people with disabilities in the country. She also supports Yemeni women and men who have been left with disabilities as a result of the conflict. 

Supporting and caring for people with disabilities, who are among the most vulnerable groups in conflicts, is an important aspect of Germany’s humanitarian assistance efforts. In Yemen, the Federal Foreign Office is supporting the NGO Handicap International to the tune of four million euro. People with disabilities undergo rehab courses, receive psychosocial support and can have prostheses and orthoses fitted.

The assistance and protection measures of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) supported by Germany are also specifically geared towards people with serious injuries and disabilities. Humanitarian de-mining is an important aspect of preventing further injuries. The Federal Foreign Office therefore supports the work of the UN and the Yemen Executive Mine Action Centre in this field.

Healthcare

Wafa’a Al Saidy at her office in Sana’a
Wafa’a Al Saidy at her office in Sana’a© Doctors of the World

Pharmacist Wafa’a Al Saidy heads the Yemen office of the NGO Doctors of the World. The organisation provides basic healthcare for many Yemeni people at 16 medical centres and with over 100 Yemeni staff throughout the country. It will brief the Security Council on healthcare in Yemen. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare was barely adequate, and there have been repeated outbreaks of cholera.

Germany is working to strengthen the medical infrastructure in Yemen and to get more medical supplies such as medicines and respiratory equipment into the country. Since 2018, the Federal Foreign Office has supported the organisation Doctors of the World with a total of nine million euro as part of its humanitarian assistance programme. The focus is on basic healthcare, psychosocial support and the fight against cholera and COVID-19.

Humanitarian assistance continues to be a priority

According to the UN, 24 million people out of a total population of 30.5 million are dependent on humanitarian assistance in Yemen. Germany is therefore contributing 125 million euro for humanitarian assistance in 2020. The main areas in which Germany is providing support include emergency food aid, healthcare, water and sanitation for the suffering population. Moreover, the Federal Government is supporting the efforts of Special Envoy Martin Griffiths to secure a lasting ceasefire and a return to the political process.

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