Yemen: 71 ICRC staff pulled out of Yemen amid security incidents, threats
Statement from ICRC's Director of Operations Dominik Stillhart
Geneva (ICRC) – Due to a series of incidents and threats, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has pulled 71 staff members out of Yemen, crippling its humanitarian activities such as surgical services, visits to detainees, clean water initiatives and food assistance activities.
The ICRC has been present in Yemen since 1962, but we are now seeing dangerous trends. Our current activities have been blocked, threatened and directly targeted in recent weeks, and we see a vigorous attempt to instrumentalize our organization as a pawn in the conflict. The ICRC holds all parties responsible for the security of its staff.
While the Yemen delegation has received numerous threats in the past, we cannot now accept additional risk less than two months after a gunman killed a staff member. The security of our staff, who are being intimidated by parties to the conflict, is a non-negotiable prerequisite for our presence and work in Yemen and an absolute priority.
The ICRC is calling on all parties to the conflict to provide it with concrete, solid and actionable guarantees so that it can continue working in Yemen. The ICRC hopes to continue preventing and alleviating the suffering of people caught in the conflict, but we must have the full agreement of all parties to the conflict based on solid guarantees.
ICRC's work in Yemen for more than five decades has assisted victims of armed conflict and violence including displaced people, families of the missing, detainees, mine victims, and those in need of health care in Sana'a, Aden, Taiz, Saada and Hodeida. The ICRC's activities are based on the principles of neutrality and impartiality, focusing on victims' needs and applying the same approach to all victims.