Sana'a/Aden/Geneva (ICRC) – In an important breakthrough that will allow many families to know the fate of missing loved ones, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has just finished a first round of visits to 279 people detained at a major detention facility in Aden.
"We are encouraged by the visits in Aden, the first of their kind there in nearly three years of hostilities," said ICRC President Peter Maurer. "They add to the positive dynamic generated by similar visits to conflict-related detainees that have been ongoing in Sana'a since November 2017."
Hundreds of families throughout Yemen and outside the country have approached the ICRC over the years anxiously looking for clues about the fate of loved ones. Some did not know if missing relatives were dead or alive.
"'Is my son alive?' The answer to this simple question, the ability for a family to know the fate of a missing relative, contributes to the building of mutual trust amongst Yemeni communities," said the ICRC's head of delegation in Yemen, Alexandre Faite.
The ICRC wishes to acknowledge the efforts made by parties to the conflict that enabled the visits to happen. The ICRC last year visited 11,000 detainees in Yemen.
"As positive as these visits in Aden and Sana'a are, more needs to be done. We encourage all sides in Yemen to grant access to all those detained in relation with the ongoing conflict. Visits to detainees are a humanitarian imperative from which all sides can only benefit," Mr Faite said.
The ICRC works around the world to ensure humane conditions of detention through regular visits, meetings with detainees to monitor their conditions and treatment, and by bringing about improvements. The ICRC's findings are discussed confidentially with the concerned authorities.
For further information, please contact:
Mirella Hodeib, ICRC Sana'a, +967 73 050 0719
Adnan Hizam, ICRC Sana'a, +967 73 372 1659
Iolanda Jaquemet, ICRC Geneva, +41 79 447 37 26