News release

Yemen: 113 detainees released with the support of the ICRC

Geneva/Sanaa (ICRC) – The unilateral release of 113 detainees took place in Sana’a today. The release was supported by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) following a request from the National Committee for Prisoners Affairs. The released detainees were among those regularly visited and assisted by the ICRC in Sana'a, visits that seek to ensure their humane treatment.

"We are pleased to see that humanitarian considerations are being prioritized, particularly for the families eagerly awaiting the return of their loved ones, especially with the approach of the Eid al-Adha celebrations in a few weeks. We hope this paves the way for further releases, bringing comfort to families eagerly anticipating reunification with their loved ones. We are prepared to extend our humanitarian services to individuals detained in relation to the Yemen conflict and their families and to support their release when authorized by the detaining authorities, as we did today. We also stand ready to serve as a neutral humanitarian intermediary for the simultaneous release and transfer of detainees, should the parties reach an agreement in this regard," said Daphnee Maret, the ICRC's head of delegation in Yemen.

In line with its established practice, the ICRC conducted private pre-departure interviews with the detainees to confirm their identity and verify if they wished to travel straight from Sana'a to their home or if they wished to be transferred to a location of their choosing.

"We held confidential conversations with all detainees to listen to any concerns they may have about the release process, ensure they have been in contact with their families, and gather the necessary information to follow up on their condition if needed," said Alessia Bertelli, the head of the ICRC's protection department in Yemen.

Prior to the release, an ICRC medical staff member assessed the health condition of the detainees, determined their fitness for road travel and provided recommendations to the authorities regarding any specific measures that some detainees may have required. The Yemen Red Crescent Society (YRCS) provided two ambulances for the operation. One of the ambulances transferred a released detainee with health issues to the detainee's area of origin.

The ICRC welcomes this unilateral release, as well as previous ones, as a positive step towards reviving negotiations under the Stockholm Agreement. We are ready to play our role as a neutral intermediary in facilitating the release, transfer, and repatriation of detainees, as we did in 2020 and 2023, whenever the parties to the Stockholm Agreement agree to engage in such efforts once again.

About the ICRC
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is a neutral, impartial and independent organization with an exclusively humanitarian mandate that stems from the Geneva Conventions of 1949. It helps people around the world affected by armed conflict and other violence, doing everything it can to protect their lives and dignity and to relieve their suffering, often alongside its Red Cross and Red Crescent partners.

For more information, please contact:
Iscander Saeed, ICRC Sana'a, +967 730500719,
Courtney Wilson, ICRC Geneva, +41 78 263 58 44,
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