Statement by the Yemeni Youth Forum for Peace demanding unified movement against Corona pandemic
March 27, 2020
In the light of the Corona pandemic or what has come to be known as COVID-19, we are not surprised by the UN Peace Envoy in Yemen, Mr. Martin Griffiths, calling conflict parties to convene a meeting to adhere to their stated speeches, but what surprises us is the persistence of the conflict parties to use this pandemic as a political game to score points against the other rival. If the parties are honest and up to their their words, then we should have seen that translated on the ground in sincere, executable, and tangible actions starting with the cease of all military hostilities and addressing its consequences, especially those with a human aspect such as the release of prisoners and the opening of roads between cities and governorates.
Therefore, we call on all parties to refrain from seeking political or media gains at a critical time when the world is observing with great concern the rapid and accelerated escalation of the victims of COVID-19 virus where every government is reviewing its financial and political and also livelihood priorities to face this pandemic.
We, the Yemeni Youth Forum for Peace, will not bring anything new in our statement, other than emphasizing our persistent demands for a lasting and comprehensive peace, and now we call and rely on all parties and donor States to take responsible positions to take the highest preparedness measures to confront the spread of Coronavirus in Yemen. Therefore, we recommend the following measures:
Our recommendations to conflict parties and international backers and peace sponsors
We will not overcome the Coronavirus unless we overcome the War-virus which grows among the dirty political benefits and nourishes from oil deals and arms sales, so we call to:
1. Consider taking measures to translate their adherence to their words on the ground, and we recommend announcing immediate and effective cessation of all hostilities on all fronts and to constructively and positively participate in the meeting called by the UN envoy, and to utilize financial resources to maintain the fronts of public health by strengthening the relevant institutions.
2. Consider taking measures to accelerate addressing the humanitarian burdens resulting from the war, and we recommend the release of war prisoners and kidnapped and detainees of conscience, and the opening of roads between Yemeni cities and governorates.
3. Consider taking measures to ensure the removal of any political obstacles hindering combating the pandemic, and we recommend the formation of a high political coordination committee to oversee the response to the pandemic with the meaningful participation of youth, women, and people with disabilities, and we also recommend the formation of a committee to study measures to assist Yemeni students and individuals stranded abroad.
4. Consider taking measures to ensure securing basic livelihood needs for citizens, and we propose to pay an exceptional two-month salary to all beneficiaries of social safety institutions and to workers in the vital services, and to put protective measures place for the self-employed people and freelancers through coordination with trade and labors unions.
5. Consider taking measures to reduce the financial burden on the citizens, and we recommend postponing the collection of any fees or bills due to the state or other parties until full recovery from the pandemic, including rents, installments, and fines.
6. Consider taking measures to ensure the availability of goods and materials in the market, and we recommend strengthening the market control teams in participation of the community to combat monopoly and price manipulation and to ensure social defamation and urgent legal accountability of those who violate the measures, and we also stress the need to continue the flow of goods and overcome difficulties such as customs and food taxes.
7. Consider taking preventive measures, and we recommend establishing quarantines at the Yemeni land/sea/air ports and at the governorate level, and we stress on strengthening the epidemiological surveillance teams. It's highly recommended to close all markets, community centers and restaurants, and establishing checkpoints at the entrances of institutions, hospitals, and malls when necessary.
Our recommendations to organizations working in the humanitarian field
Overcoming Corona requires responsible attitudes and great sacrifices, so we must:
1. Consider taking measures to ensure smooth humanitarian operations, and we recommend developing contingency plans for your programs and suspend any leaves or travel permissions to any international or local employee, and we also recommend more flexibility in logistical operations.
2. Consider taking measures to ensure financial support to the response, and we recommend establishing a Corona Response Fund and call for a local donor conference to which all political leaders and businessmen are invited to pledge donations, and we also recommend budget-cuts and reduced spending in other operations.
3. Consider taking measures to implement the Do-No-Harm principle, and we recommend taking preventive measures to avoid impoverishing the goods from the markets which may cause a need in the market when purchasing requirements for humanitarian operations such as food and hygiene materials.
4. Consider taking measures to ensure full coordination between all agencies responding to the pandemic, and we recommend the formation of a coordination council led by the Yemen Red Crescent to coordinate and overcome any constraints and to work as a single and unified platform for information for the media and society.
Our recommendations to the media, activists and social figures
The response to the pandemic will not be complete unless there is societal awareness that supports official efforts. Therefore we recommend:
1. Adopting a unified media discourse that removes the war and violent content from the mediums and focuses on health awareness raising, we also emphasize on creating a broader media space for educational and informative content aiming to raise the society awareness.
2. Adopting and implementing art ideas that enrich the educational content and target various community groups, especially those with disabilities and special needs.
3. Adopting joint media programs in coordination with the media of the opposition political parties to deliver a message to the citizens that everyone is united against this pandemic and we must put all other matters aside.