December 2017 marks 1000 days since the escalation of a war that has turned the Middle East’s poorest country into the world’s largest humanitarian crisis, leaving Yemen ravaged by preventable diseases and on the verge of a historic famine. Every ten minutes, a child dies from hunger or disease. Three-quarters of the population – 22 million people – need humanitarian assistance to survive.
All parties to the conflict have repeatedly carried out deplorable violence against civilians, with almost complete impunity. The recent blockade imposed by the coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates has made an already catastrophic situation worse. It has barred delivery of life-saving food, medicines and fuel, leading to hospitals shutting down, and whole cities without clean water or working sanitation. The increased violence in Sana'a, and the killing of former President Saleh by the Houthis risks further increasing the threat to Yemen's civilians.
The international community has failed to take the action needed to end this man-made catastrophe. Millions of Yemeni women, men and children feel abandoned by global leaders who seem to put profit and politics above human lives. Throughout 1000 days since the conflict escalated, quiet diplomacy has failed to curb violation after violation by the warring parties.
The US, UK, and France, as permanent members of the UN Security Council and major weapons suppliers to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, bear a special responsibility to use the full extent of their leverage to press their partners in the region to end the crisis. Instead of stoking the flames of a war that is strangling an entire population and risks destabilising the entire region, they could be the brokers of peace.
We are at a tipping point. To prevent further catastrophe and famine, Yemen needs an immediate ceasefire; an end to all blockages on access for food, fuel and medical supplies; and investment in a new, inclusive peace process in which women, youth and diverse civil society meaningfully participate. We call upon President Trump, Prime Minister May, and President Macron, to take urgent action at the UN Security Council to make this happen.
Our message to them is simple: if you don’t want the burden of the lives of thousands more Yemeni children on your hands, then the time to act is now. Yemen can't wait any longer.
We, along with more than 350 signatories across 40 countries, are calling for action. For a full list of the signatories, please visit YemenCantWait.org.