STATEMENT BY THE UN SPECIAL ENVOY FOR YEMEN HANS GRUNDBERG AND THE UN RESIDENT AND HUMANITARIAN COORDINATOR FOR YEMEN DAVID GRESSLY
Amman/Sana’a, 25 January 2021– We are alarmed by the escalating spiral of violence in Yemen that continues to harm civilians and is spilling over its borders. January will almost certainly be a record-shattering month for civilian casualties in Yemen.
We reiterate the United Nations Secretary-General’s condemnation of the air strikes carried out by the Saudi-led Coalition on 21 January against a prison facility in Sa’ada where migrants were also held. The airstrikes reportedly killed 91 detainees and injured 226. It is the worst civilian-casualty incident in Yemen in three years.
Over the past few weeks, air strikes and missile attacks have hit hospitals, telecommunication infrastructure, airports, a water facility and a school. There has also been an alarming uptick in attacks against the United Arab Emirates and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia that resulted in civilian casualties and damage to civilian infrastructure.
The scale of the escalation is exacerbating an already severe humanitarian crisis in Yemen, complicating efforts to provide relief, threatening regional security and undermining efforts to bring an end to the conflict.
We remind the parties that being at war does not absolve them of their obligations under international humanitarian law, which strictly prohibits disproportionate attacks and requires that all feasible precautions be taken to avoid civilian harm. We reiterate the importance of accountability for violations of international humanitarian law.
The United Nations has been in contact with all sides to explore options to achieve de-escalation and begin an inclusive dialogue aimed at reaching a negotiated political settlement that comprehensively ends the conflict. We urge all parties to engage with these efforts immediately and without preconditions. We call upon them to prioritize the needs and interests of the Yemeni people.