Yemen, 26 March 2020:
The Women Solidarity Network welcomes the recent public statements by the internationally-recognized government of Yemen, the Arab Coalition Forces, the Houthi Group, and the South Transitional Council in relation to heeding the calls for a ceasefire made by the United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres, to focus efforts on countering the COVID-19 Pandemic.
We highly appreciated the sense of national responsibility from the parties to the conflict and choosing to priorities the national interest and avert further bloodshed in Yemen.
We call on the parties to translate this into practical measures on the ground to cease hostilities and military operations immediately and permanently.
The Yemeni people have suffered enough from the consequences of the conflict, and this Epidemic comes as a divine message that death can be imminent, and that power and authorities are temporary gains which cannot be taken to the afterlife. Therefore, Yemenis must wise up and resolve their conflicts through dialogue and not through arms, with the hoping that this ceasefire lays the groundwork for a comprehensive, just, and durable peace for everyone.
We also call on the internationally-recognized government, the Coalition, the Houthis, and the International and regional actors to adopt the following measures to help the Yemeni people address this Epidemic and mitigate its aftermath:
- Adopt Social Distancing standards and suspend all social gatherings and activities.
- Adopt a policy of universal basic income for all citizens
- Pay and increase salaries for all government civilian and military staff, and pay scholarship dues for Yemeni students overseas.
- Establish clear procedures and standards to monitor the retail prices of foodstuff and medications, and forbid monopolies.
- Support the Agriculture and Fisheries sectors and address risks of marine pollution, particularly to service Safer’s floating oil tank immediately to stop environmental disaster that will eradicate marine life, and make provisions to pay salaries for fishermen/women, farmers and agricultural labourers and provide specific grants to support their contributions to food security.
- Establish salaries for self-employed and handicraft workers.
- Delay the payment of public utilities of Water and Electricity for a minimum of six months.
- Support the public health sector and focus on establishing dedicated centers for medical quarantine against COVID-19, and provide the needed medical supplies to protect healthcare workers.
- Support the private sector through deferring of payments and taxes for a period of no less than six months, and provide interest-free credit facilities.
- Remove restrictions on financial transfers from and to Yemen, and allow the use of old and new Yemeni banknotes and normalize financial services, and improve digital banking, currency exchange, and financial transfers.
- Activate online and digital educational programmes and direct TV stations to broadcast educational sessions, particularly for the elementary and high school certificates.
- Immediately release all prisoners and forcibly arrested and disappeared, women and men, and provide dedicated support to assist in normalization of life and stability post-release.
- Provide support for civil society organizations, particularly women-led organizations and those which work on countering the COVID 19 pandemic and humanitarian relief.
And finally, we remind you of Quran verse that reads “Should they cease [fighting], then Allah is forgiving and Merciful” 2:192.