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Human Rights Commissioner Kofler on Yemen

18.12.2020 - Press release

Bärbel Kofler, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Assistance at the Federal Foreign Office, issued the following statement today (18 December) on the humanitarian emergency in Yemen:

One of the issues addressed by UN Secretary-General António Guterres in his speech to the German Bundestag today was Yemen. This prompts us to draw attention to the alarming humanitarian situation in that country: Some 16 million people in Yemen will not have enough to eat in the first half of 2021 and there is a very high risk of widespread life-threatening famine.

The very thought of this is unbearable. We must not look away. Everyone must do whatever they can to avert this terrible scenario. Germany is one of the biggest donors to Yemen. However, the countries in the region have a special role to play in the current situation. They are called upon to live up to their responsibility and to continue their aid at the level of previous years in order to prevent this humanitarian disaster.

I appeal to the parties involved in the Yemen conflict to end the fighting immediately. I urge the parties to the conflict to participate constructively in the negotiations on the joint declaration on a nationwide ceasefire, confidence-building measures and the initiation of a political process which are being brokered by UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths. We can only end the humanitarian emergency in Yemen on a durable basis if the parties involved find a political solution to the conflict.

Background information:

A civil war has been raging in Yemen for the last six years. The humanitarian situation is disastrous. Some 80% of the population (24 million people) rely on humanitarian assistance and protection. This year, the Federal Foreign Office has provided 126.5 million euro for humanitarian assistance in Yemen in order to alleviate the suffering. Given the difficult food situation, the German Government has increased its funding to the World Food Programme (WFP) to 102 million euro.

Germany is the third largest donor of humanitarian assistance to Yemen in 2020. All in all, the German Government has provided funding for humanitarian assistance, stabilisation and development cooperation in Yemen to the tune of almost 310 million euro. In view of the ongoing very high level of humanitarian need, Yemen will remain a priority of German humanitarian assistance in 2021. At the same time, other donors, for example the Gulf states, have massively reduced their funding.

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