The ICRC in Yemen
The ICRC is helping civilians affected by conflict and other violence in several of Yemen’s governorates, where a difficult humanitarian situation has compounded the suffering of communities already affected by a weak economy and limited infrastructure.
Having expanded its programmes significantly in both the north and the south over the past 12 months, the ICRC is now able to ensure assistance, health care, water supplies and income-generating opportunities for tens of thousands of Yemenis.
The ICRC also visits people detained by various authorities in Yemen to assess their treatment and conditions of detention. In line with its standard procedures, the ICRC discusses its findings and recommendations solely with the detaining authorities, and these discussions remain confidential. The ICRC also assists migrants who are in custody pending deportation.
Restoring family contacts
Together, the ICRC and the Yemen Red Crescent Society are helping members of separated families, such as refugees and asylum seekers, to stay in touch through Red Cross messages. Yemeni families are able to contact relatives held in detention in Afghanistan, Iraq and Guantanamo through Red Cross messages, phone and video calls.
The ICRC has intensified its networking with authorities, religious scholars, tribal leaders and arms carriers to help increase understanding of its neutral, independent and impartial humanitarian mandate and action, and to encourage respect for international humanitarian law. This networking takes the form of workshops, seminars and less formal contacts. Target audiences also include members of the legal profession, academics, NGOs and think tanks, and the media.
Health Care in Danger
The ICRC’s four-year ‘Health Care in Danger’ campaign is a global initiative, aimed at enhancing safe access to health care during conflict and violence. In Yemen, a national conference on the issue took place in Sana’a at the end of 2012, prior to which the Yemeni authorities signed a declaration summarizing the rules and principles that are intended to protect health services, the sick and the wounded. These rules and principles form part of international humanitarian law and international human rights law, which apply in Yemen as they do throughout the world. Yemen was the first country in the world to sign such a declaration.
The ICRC has been operating in Yemen since 1962. There are some 250 staff based in the main ICRC delegation in Sana'a, and in sub-delegations in Sa'ada, Amran and Aden, and an office in Taiz.