Yemen, 15 April 2020: The Women Solidarity Network is highly concerned about the tragic situation in the city of Taiz in light of the military escalation, the tightening of the siege on the city, and the threat posed by the spread of the Corona pandemic.

In particular, the network condemns the military escalation, the shelling of populated civilian areas, and the continued militarization of schools, hospitals and civilian facilities in the governorate of Taiz by all parties, which have been used as military headquarters or prisons, resulting in depriving children of their education right over the past five years. It also poses a threat to the civilian population living alongside these sites for risks of being targeted.

The network also strongly condemns the closure of remaining entrances to the main entrances already closed by the Houthi group recently, who have justified these road closures as measures to respond to the Corona pandemic. These actions will lead to a humanitarian catastrophe and deprive the residents of their daily livelihoods. There is no longer any entry point for entering goods and transporting people except through a very dangerous rugged route.

The residents of Taiz suffer from insecurity, bloody conflict, deteriorating living conditions, outbreaks of deadly diseases, scarcity of water, destruction of infrastructure, and indiscriminate targeting, over the past five years by all actors, more particularly Houthis indiscriminate shelling, snipers, and mines, as well as, the insecurity and gunpoint looting by armed groups and outlaw thugs who are perceived to belong to political parties. The people of Taiz can no longer endure any more suffering. Every house in Taiz has martyrs, wounded or amputated children!

We call on the local authority to do its part to normalize the situation, bridge the security and administrative vacuum, and work seriously with everyone to install the pillars of security and stability and provide basic services, especially as Ramadan is approaching and the thousands of displaced families who have fled the fighting suffer from displacement, hunger and disease.

Accordingly, and as confidence-building steps, we call on all the parties in Taiz to assume the historical responsibility to end the bloodshed and respond to international calls for a ceasefire and focus on preventing the spread of the Corona pandemic, which requires preparation and solidarity to confront it, not military escalation. It requires coordinating efforts urgently between the conflicting parties in Taiz and making concessions and immediate action to:

  1. We urge all parties to immediately cease military operations without conditions.
  2. We urge the Houthis to immediately open major roads in the city, allowing humanitarian materials to enter freely and ending human suffering.
  3. We call on all parties to the demilitarization of schools and civilian facilities and the immediate release of women and men prisoners and arbitrary detainees and those who are forcibly disappeared in secret prisons by all sides, in anticipation of the spread of the epidemic in light of the deteriorating prisons crowded with thousands of prisoners.
  4. We demand that the government and the Houthis give access to the Group of Eminent Experts in Yemen to enter the city of Taiz and document violations of civilians and civilians.
  5. We call on the wise people of Taiz to intervene to alleviate the suffering and take the necessary measures to restore security, stability and normalization of life. We remind the local forces in Taiz of the Ten Points Initiative to achieve peace in the governorate that was published by the Women’s Solidarity Network last year: