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YEMEN: Humanitarian Organizations Call for the Release of Personnel Detained for One Month in Yemen


GENEVA/LONDON – WEBWIRE

Three International Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) are calling again for the immediate and unconditional release of personnel, the majority of whom were detained one month ago by authorities in northern Yemen.

CARE, Oxfam, and Save the Children reiterated their concerns about the detention of about 18 members of UN entities and INGOs and many others associated with civil society organizations, national and international NGOs, and other organizations supporting humanitarian activities. 

The whereabouts of the detained staff remain unknown, and their organizations have not been able to speak to them.  Some of those detained have pre-existing medical conditions.

These detentions are unprecedented – not only in Yemen but globally – and directly impede the organizations’ ability to reach 18.2 million people in Yemen who need humanitarian aid and protection, which is about half the population and includes 14 million women and children. All the detained staff were working as part of the agencies’ life-saving responses to the country’s humanitarian crisis.

The three INGOs said in a joint statement:

"We again ask the authorities to confirm the whereabouts of our staff and their wellbeing and to give us immediate access to them. They have been held now for a month.

"International Humanitarian Law requires all parties to armed conflict to respect and protect humanitarian personnel, including against harassment, mistreatment, and unlawful arrest or detention. 

"To get help to millions of Yemenis who are in dire need of assistance, our staff need to be able to carry out their duties safely and without fear of arbitrary arrest, intimidation or violence. 

“Humanitarian organizations and aid workers dedicate their efforts to support the people of Yemen and do so by abiding with humanitarian principles.  The targeting of humanitarian, human rights, and development workers in Yemen must stop. All those detained must be immediately released.” 

CARE has been present in Yemen since 1992 and operates across 14 governorates, reaching approximately 2.8 million people a year with food security and livelihoods, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), reproductive health, women’s economic empowerment, and education programs.

Oxfam has been working in Yemen for more than 40 years and maintains an impartial approach to ensure delivery of humanitarian assistance to those most in need including in hard-to-reach areas of the country. Since July 2015, Oxfam has helped more than three million people in nine governorates of Yemen with clean water and sanitation, cash assistance and food vouchers.

Save the Children, an independent and impartial child rights organization,  has been working Yemen since 1963 and is currently active in 11 governorates, focusing on food security, health, nutrition, child protection, education, and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) initiatives. Last year Save the Children reached about 2.3. million people in Yemen.

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