Peace Must Be Based on Clear And Comprehensive Foundations for It to Succeed
  • 21/09/2023
    SAM |

    On the occasion of International Day of Peace, which falls on September 21st, while peoples of the world celebrate this significant event and its profound meanings, Yemen continues to be engulfed in the quagmire of a raging conflict that has been ongoing for nine years. This conflict was ignited by the armed coup carried out by the Houthi group against the legitimate institutions of the state on September 21, 2014, causing widespread destruction and a horrifying collapse in all aspects.

    The commemoration of this noble occasion, International Day of Peace, has turned into a terrifying nightmare due to the coup that caused significant collapses in various aspects of life, particularly the front of peace. The lives of Yemenis have been transformed into an ongoing ordeal as a result of the war imposed by the coup leaders. They face daily tragedies and sufferings in all aspects of life, both internally and externally. Yemen has become the site of the worst humanitarian crisis in the world, and its territories have become a battleground where local and regional parties compete and vie for control.

    The Houthi's seizure of state institutions and their desire to monopolize power as a supposed divine right, along with Saleh's revenge against his own people after being forced to relinquish power, the Arab coalition's confusion and wavering between pursuing their own interests and achieving the goals they entered for, the blatant failure of the Yemeni government, and the oppression of numerous armed militias have deprived Yemenis of peace. These factors have led Yemen down the path of tragedy and fragmentation, making it one of the worst countries in the world.

    Regional intervention in the Yemeni affairs continues to "complicate the situation" and undermine any chance for peace in the country. Iran and its affiliated groups in Iraq and Lebanon continue to provide military and logistical support to the Houthi group through deceptive means. Meanwhile, the United Arab Emirates provides military and political support to the Southern Transitional Council and the Joint Forces seeking to separate southern Yemen from the north. Additionally, there are forces known as the National Resistance, affiliated with a member of the Presidential Council, which is based in the city of Mocha in western Yemen. These interventions persist alongside their control over important economic resources in Yemen, including ports, oil, and gas companies. Saudi Arabia, on the other hand, maintains a confused approach, fluctuating between fighting the Houthis, engaging in secret negotiations with them, and monitoring military actions that occasionally erupt between the Yemeni government forces and the Transitional Council. Saudi Arabia also seeks to maximize influence and share interests in the Al-Mahra Governorate. All of these factors further complicate the situation and make it resistant to all attempts aimed at achieving peace.

    Amidst this divided, intertwined, and complex scene, Yemenis are enduring a devastating humanitarian tragedy. There is limited international intervention in providing food and healthcare, and there is a clear deterioration in the national currency's value, leading to a decline in purchasing power for Yemenis. Moreover, all conflict parties continue to commit further violations and undermine the state's structure, plunder resources, and violate international humanitarian law and human rights.

    Indeed, organizations such as SAM and various local, regional, and international human rights groups have documented numerous grave violations committed by the parties to the conflict in Yemen. These violations serve as a stark reminder of the magnitude of the atrocities and the loss of personal and collective peace. Among the most notable crimes are the killing of civilians through various means, such as indiscriminate shelling, snipers, mines planted by the Houthi group, airstrikes by the Arab coalition, and drone attacks. Additionally, there have been cases of arbitrary detention, enforced disappearances, and torture, resulting in the deaths of over 150 individuals. Thousands of violations have also been committed against children, particularly their continuous recruitment. Furthermore, there have been attacks on press freedom and public liberties, as well as discriminatory restrictions imposed on women, including arbitrary arrests by the Houthi group.

    The matter does not stop at this level of violations; it goes beyond it. Information indicates that the judicial system in Yemen is divided and subject to instructions from the warring parties on the ground. It is unable to deal with human rights violations and grave crimes under international humanitarian law. The judicial system fears being targeted as the protection system weakens. Moreover, there is a lack of serious indicators from the United Nations Security Council to discuss the intervention of the International Criminal Justice System in investigating war crimes and grave crimes that have occurred in Yemen since the beginning of the conflict.

    Peace in Yemen has become an elusive dream, given the escalating crises and the stubbornness of the parties involved, who entrench themselves behind their selfish demands without considering the humanitarian and economic situation of Yemenis. They exploit the suffering and pain of Yemenis without showing any concern for their legitimate aspirations, which include achieving a comprehensive, just, and genuine peace that fulfills their hopes and alleviates the repercussions of nine years of devastating conflict.

    While the international community is working to bring the Yemeni parties together in Riyadh to sign a comprehensive ceasefire agreement, it should be noted that an agreement with the current format and features does not necessarily achieve a lasting peace. What we are witnessing may be temporary measures to calm the situation and alleviate crises, providing the parties with an opportunity to prepare for a new phase that could potentially bring the situation back to square one.

    In SAM, we emphasize that peace must be based on clear foundations for it to succeed. It should involve all parties, including civil society, human rights organizations, and the families of victims. Agreement should be reached on the outlines of the transitional phase, which all parties should participate in shaping. This should be accompanied by a sustainable ceasefire, the release of detainees and abducted individuals, the provision of basic services, urgent medical assistance to the wounded, the protection of civilians, assistance to those affected by the conflict, ensuring freedom of movement, and emphasizing transitional justice to hold human rights violators accountable, compensate victims, and restore damages. Additionally, the recovery of looted funds by militias, the return of unlawfully seized lands, the reconstruction of destroyed homes by various conflicting parties, and the closure of secret detention centers should be addressed.

    It is crucial for everyone to prioritize national interest over personal interests and break free from selfishness, which has brought and continues to bring more crises and suffering. The continuation of war only serves the parties that trade with the pain and suffering of civilians, using it as an opportunity to evade accountability for the violations they have committed against them.

    At SAM, we recognize that the disarmament of the Houthi militia and all other armed militias in the south, west, and east, as well as serious consideration of establishing a committed Yemeni leadership that is loyal to its people and devoted to its nation, chosen by the Yemeni people themselves, and restoring democratic rights for the Yemeni people to choose their representatives without guardianship, is the only way to bring peace to Yemen. There is no path for the warring parties other than the path of dialogue and proposing a political settlement that saves Yemenis from this catastrophic situation. Years of conflict have demonstrated that no one can overcome the other through the use of weapons.

    SAM calls on the international community to approach the Yemeni issue seriously and effectively, free from geopolitical and polarized calculations. It urges the international community to fulfill its responsibility, as dictated by international conventions and humanitarian conscience, by compelling all parties to sit at the negotiating table and reach a comprehensive and just settlement that is not subject to the dictates and agendas of international and regional powers. This settlement should take into account the will of the Yemeni people and meet their aspirations in reclaiming their dormant state.


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