Statement by UN Special Envoy for Yemen Hans Grundberg and UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen David Gressly [EN/AR] – Yemen
Amman/Sanaa, January 25, 2021– We are alarmed by the escalation of violence in Yemen which continues to harm civilians and spill over its borders. January will almost certainly be a record month for civilian casualties in Yemen.
We reiterate the UN Secretary-General’s condemnation of the airstrikes carried out by the Saudi Coalition on January 21 against a prison in Saada where migrants were also detained. The airstrikes reportedly killed 91 detainees and injured 226 in the worst civilian incident in Yemen in three years.
Over the past few weeks, airstrikes and missile attacks have hit hospitals, telecommunications infrastructure, airports, a water supply facility and a school. There has also been an alarming upsurge in attacks on the United Arab Emirates and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which have caused civilian casualties and damaged civilian infrastructure.
The scale of the escalation is exacerbating an already serious humanitarian crisis in Yemen, complicating relief efforts, threatening regional security and undermining efforts to end the conflict.
We remind parties that being at war does not exempt them from their obligations under international humanitarian law, which strictly prohibits disproportionate attacks and requires that all possible precautions be taken to avoid harm to civilians. We reiterate the importance of accountability for violations of international humanitarian law.
The United Nations has been in contact with all parties to explore options to achieve de-escalation and to begin an inclusive dialogue aimed at reaching a negotiated political settlement that ends the conflict.
We urge all parties to engage in these efforts immediately and without preconditions. We ask them to put the needs and interests of the Yemeni people first.