Yemen, no end to the crisis without a political solution

A street  in Sana’a, Yemen A street in Sana’a, Yemen Photo by Saif Albadni on Unsplash

16 March 2021

As violence intensifies, a political settlement may be the only way to prevent the crisis in Yemen from deteriorating to a massive famine.

A briefing by United Nations Special Envoy Martin Griffiths claims that the ongoing and long-lasting conflict in Yemen is expanding on several fronts, and that the internal situation is deteriorating into the world’s largest humanitarian crisis. “The war is back in full force”, said Mr. Griffiths, while also insisting upon how the increasing violence is putting civilian lives at risk, including the more than a million who were displaced as a result of the conflict.   

Since the outbreak of the conflict in March 2015, the Yemeni crisis has led to more than 24 million people needing humanitarian assistance, of which 12 million are children, according to data provided by UNICEF. The world’s worst humanitarian crisis is currently “speeding towards a massive famine” as the conflict intensifies between the Saudi Arabia-backed government forces and the opposing Houthi forces, contributing to a rise in the cost of basic commodities, while also negatively impacting the healthcare system and other public services. Despite attempts to avoid an economic collapse, the country’s economic situation is desperate, and requires an urgent political intervention. According to Mr. Griffiths, “without a resolution of those differences, without a political settlement, there will be no sustainable defeat of humanitarian problems”.

Indeed, given the links between the war and the humanitarian crisis, a political solution seems to be of the utmost importance to stop the conflict. As underlined by Mr. Griffiths, there is the need for a resumption of an inclusive political process, “as the parties can only resolve their differences through negotiation.” Moreover, he affirmed that it is incumbent upon the involved parties to ensure a nationwide ceasefire, the regular flow of fuel into the country, along with the opening of Sana’a airport, as “these measures will ease the impact of the conflict on civilians, will facilitate Yemenis’ right to freedom of movement” and thus, allow Yemen a chance to survive the conflict. 


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Author: Sara Mariani; Editor: Maxime Grenier

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