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Yemen: Parties to conflict must protect prisoners and wounded and sick

19-12-2013 News Release

Sana'a (ICRC) – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is concerned by the severe hardship being endured by people trapped by the intensified fighting in northern Yemen. Many of the most seriously wounded or sick are not receiving the medical care they require. In addition, the physical well-being and dignity of those arrested are not always respected.

''We call on the parties involved in the conflict in Dammaj and elsewhere in Sa'ada and neighbouring governorates to protect and care for the wounded, the sick and all those not, or no longer, taking part in hostilities," said Cedric Schweizer, head of the ICRC delegation in Sana'a. "They must at all times respect the lives and dignity of all persons arrested or detained in connection with the ongoing conflict by either party, regardless of whether those persons are fighters or civilians."

The ICRC has repeatedly requested access to Dammaj since its most recent humanitarian operation on 24 November, and stands ready to enter Dammaj immediately to evacuate the sick and the wounded, provided it is able to carry out its work in an impartial manner and without preconditions of any kind.

Civilians must be protected at all times and must not be targeted. The parties involved in the fighting in Saada and its neighbouring governorates must take all feasible precautions to avoid harming them. Those who wish to leave for safer areas must be allowed to do so. Those who choose to stay, or who are unable to leave, remain protected by international humanitarian law. The wounded – civilians and combatants alike – must receive medical care as promptly as possible. Fighters who have surrendered or been captured must not be harmed and must be treated humanely.

For further information, please contact:
Marie Claire Feghali, ICRC Sana'a, tel: +967 73 607 19 67
or visit our website: www.icrc.org