The parties agree on a plan to release hundreds of conflict-related detainees
Joint statement by the Office of the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen and the International Committee of the Red Cross at the conclusion of the seventh meeting of the Supervisory Committee on the implementation of the Detainees’ Exchange Agreement
Amman- 20 March. The parties to the conflict in Yemen concluded a ten-day meeting in Switzerland today and finalized the implementation plan for the release of 887 conflict-related detainees from all sides. The parties have also agreed to reconvene in May to discuss more releases and committed to undertake joint visits to each other’s detention facilities, and to enable access to all detainees during these visits.
The parties’ representatives were convened as members of the Supervisory Committee on the Implementation of the Detainees’ Exchange Agreement - co-chaired by the Office of the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen (OSESGY) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). This is the seventh meeting of the Supervisory Committee which was established under the Stockholm Agreement to support the parties in meeting their commitments to release all conflict-related detainees. To this end, the parties have agreed in previous meetings of the Supervisory Committee to adopt a phased approach to fulfill their obligation to release all for all. In October of 2020, the Supervisory Committee met and agreed to release over 1,000 detainees from both sides.
“I welcome today’s outcomes and I thank the parties for making the compromises needed to reach this conclusion. I join hundreds of Yemeni families in looking forward to the swift and smooth implementation of the releases. And I hope there will be an end soon to the suffering of all Yemenis who are still waiting to be reunited with their loved ones and who are pained by uncertainty about the fates of those dearest to them,” said the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen, Hans Grunberg, “The United Nations remains ready and eager to facilitate progress towards releasing all conflict-related detainees. And I encourage the parties to take initiatives to release additional detainees on a unilateral and ongoing basis.”
The Special Envoy thanked the Swiss Government for hosting the meeting and for its continued, unwavering support to the efforts of OSESGY and ICRC in relation to the Detainees’ Exchange Agreement. He also expressed his appreciation for ICRC’s important role in facilitating the release operation.
“This is a crucial step that will end the suffering of many separated families and help build confidence between the parties that we hope will lead to further release operations,” said Daphnée Maret, ICRC Head of Delegation in Yemen, “The ICRC stands ready to continue to play the role of neutral intermediary and to facilitate purely humanitarian visits in places of detention, contribute to the re-establishment of family links, and support the release, transfer and repatriation of conflict-related detainees so that thousands more can return to their families.”