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Yemen: ICRC alarmed by unprecedented level of violence

20-09-2011 News Release 11/193

Geneva/Sana'a (ICRC) – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is deeply concerned by the significant loss of life that has occurred during the last 72 hours in Sana'a and Taiz. The ICRC calls upon the authorities, demonstrators and all others involved to respect human life and dignity at all times.

The violence comes exactly six months after the last security crackdown in Sana'a, which left dozens dead and many others injured within a few hours. The events currently taking place are even more worrying, because the confrontations have been expanding geographically and the violence has reached unprecedented levels. Many people are being killed or injured every day.

"The ICRC delegation is receiving very worrying reports of armed confrontations taking place in Al-Gomhori Hospital and placing many innocent lives at risk," said Valérie Petitpierre, the deputy head of the ICRC delegation in Yemen. "Over the past three days, Yemen Red Crescent Society emergency response teams have been threatened and assaulted. In some cases they have had equipment confiscated, and there have also been incidents in which they were denied access to people in need of first aid.

"Anyone injured or wounded must be able to receive life-saving health care without undue delay," said Ms Petitpierre. "Medical staff, vehicles and facilities must be respected and protected."

Since the beginning of the unrest, the ICRC has been striving to help medical facilities cope with a multitude of casualties. Over the past three days, the ICRC has donated wound-dressing materials to a field hospital and first-aid equipment to Yemen Red Crescent emergency response teams in Sana'a.

The ICRC calls again on all those involved in the violence to do their utmost to respect and facilitate Red Crescent and Red Cross efforts to come to the aid of those in need. Security forces must apply international laws and standards governing the use of force.

The ICRC continues to monitor the situation on the ground and stands ready to provide further support for the efforts of Yemeni medical services to care for people injured in the violence.

For further information, please contact:
Ammar M. Ammar, ICRC Sana'a, tel: +967 1 213 844 or +967 71 44 99 790
Hicham Hassan, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 25 90 or +41 79 251 25 41