The Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid at the Federal Foreign Office, Bärbel Kofler, issued the following statement today (29 June) on the occasion of today’s event in Berlin entitled “Crisis in Yemen: politics and humanitarian assistance in the context of media restraint” hosted by the German branch of the International Rescue Committee:
I am shocked by the further worsening of the already dramatic humanitarian situation in Yemen. The war that has raged for over two years has inflicted a man-made humanitarian disaster upon this impoverished nation that has hit the weakest first – children, the elderly and the poor. The current cholera epidemic with around 5000 new suspected cases every day is exacerbating the crisis in the country still further.
The civilian population is bearing the brunt of the suffering. While humanitarian workers are attempting to do their job at great risk to life and limb, aid is not reaching many areas owing to restricted access and administrative barriers. We are greatly concerned by the fact that hostilities are claiming civilian casualties time and again. The attack on a market in Sadaa province on 18 June 2017, which claimed over 20 lives, is a case in point. Furthermore, more and more reports are detailing increasing repression and restrictions to fundamental civil and basic liberties by all parties to the conflict.
Only a political solution can put an end to this man-made crisis. The most important steps to this end are an immediate ceasefire, unrestricted and secure humanitarian access and the resumption of negotiations brokered by the United Nations. Infringements of international humanitarian law must be investigated quickly and thoroughly. An independent international commission of inquiry is the most effective tool in this regard.
According to the United Nations, one of the world’s most serious humanitarian crises is taking place in Yemen. Some 18.8 million people are dependent on humanitarian assistance and there is a threat of famine. The current cholera outbreak has further exacerbated the situation since April. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the epidemic has already claimed in excess of 1400 lives. There are 220,000 suspected cases.
The Federal Foreign Office has increased humanitarian assistance for the country in 2017 to 125 million euros. Furthermore, Germany is funding the Track II dialogue of the Berghof Foundation, currently the only inclusive intra-Yemeni dialogue format to support the UN’s mediation efforts.
Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid Bärbel Kofler is patron of the #nichtvergessen (don’t forget) initiative, launched by the Federal Foreign Office together with several aid organisations. Thus aims to draw more attention to crises such as the one in Yemen.