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Statements Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

Virtual High-Level Pledging Event for the Humanitarian Situation in Yemen

01 March 2021

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Statement by Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
1 March 2021


The fundamental human rights of millions of Yemenis have been stripped away by more than six years of devastating conflict, and the shortage of funding for humanitarian help.

Access to shelter, adequate food, clean water, education and medical care has become non-existent, in some cases – and for many, impossibly costly.

With inflation escalating and the Yemen riyal depreciating very rapidly, more and more Yemeni families are being pushed into crushing debt or homelessness.

The pandemic has had devastating impact on the livelihoods of Yemeni workers and farmers.

It is also straining the capacity of health-care facilities, already reduced by attacks by all sides during this conflict, in contravention of international humanitarian law.

I cannot overstate the scale of need. The people of Yemen look to us for hope, for help – for life.

More than 16 million people face the pain, weakness and permanent health threats associated with prolonged malnutrition. A generation of children is threatened by stunting or failure to thrive.

The consequences of prolonged hunger – or famine – on this scale, will reach across the region, and for many generations. 

Women; internally displaced people and migrants; the widely discriminated Muhamasheen community; members of religious minorities; and people with disabilities often bear a double or triple burden. Discrimination has been exacerbated during these years of conflict, and it is growing even worse under COVID 19.

My Office continues to document the toll of civilians killed and injured by the armed conflict, carefully verifying each individual case with the aim to ensure future accountability for any violations or abuses. The verified total civilian casualties since March 2015 now amounts to well over 20.000 – more than 5000 of them children.

All parties to the conflict are responsible for these attacks. No party to the conflict takes adequate precautions in their use of weaponry – whether it be artillery: missiles; airstrikes; the indiscriminate dissemination of landmines and sea mines; or the reckless use of small arms.

The people of Yemen have suffered beyond human endurance. They need extensive humanitarian assistance; political support for the peace talks; and to the extent possible, enhanced protection for especially vulnerable groups.

Legal assistance for all who lack identity documents because of loss or displacement. Services to assist and shelter victims of gender-based violence and violence against children. Legal aid to monitor and assist people facing arbitrary detention, torture or ill-treatment or unfair trial. Help to the families of people who have been disappeared.

These are essential to people's dignity, and to restoring hope that the rule of law can survive.

We need your help, on a scale that is similar with the dedication of thousands of courageous humanitarian and human rights workers, and the immense need of millions of Yemenis. And we ask for that help to be effective without delay.

Thank you for your assistance.