Address by the Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis, Head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), delivered on the High-Level Pledging Event on the Humanitarian Crisis in Yemen – Check against delivery

Speaker: Cassis Ignazio; Head of Department, Ignazio Cassis

Mr Secretary-General
Distinguished Delegates
Ladies and Gentlemen

On behalf of the Government of Switzerland, I welcome you to the High-Level Pledging Event on the Humanitarian Crisis in Yemen.

I extend a special welcome to my co-hosts:
UN Secretary-General António Guterres and the Swedish Minister for International Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade, Johan Forssell.

I’d like to first of all express my condolences to the families of the victims of the earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria. This tragedy is just the latest, among many crises over the past year, including of course the war against Ukraine.
Despite these terrible crises and the media attention they generate, they should not make us forget the ongoing tragedy occurring in Yemen.

After eight years of conflict, it is hard to imagine the suffering of the Yemeni people:

- Two-third of the population – almost 22 million people – are in need of humanitarian assistance.

- Tens of thousands of civilians have been killed or injured.

- Millions are displaced - and pushed into poverty and distress.

- Women and children are among those most impacted, facing the highest obstacles when it comes to accessing food, healthcare or education.
Given the sheer scale of suffering of the Yemeni people, we have to keep this crisis high on our agenda.

We are not allowed to give up, even if today is the first time, as co-host of this conference, that I address you with a very cautious sense of hope.

For the first time in many years, Yemenis received a break from the conflict. Aid has been delivered to people cut-off from the reach of humanitarian organizations. The number of civilian casualties dropped. And thousands of critically ill Yemenis were able to receive medical treatment abroad.

A complete cessation of hostilities is what is most needed: The truce has shown, that a different Yemen is possible.
I therefore call on all parties to the conflict to formally restore the truce, followed by a comprehensive ceasefire, and to commit to an inclusive political process, under the lead of the United Nations.

A peaceful solution to this conflict must be reached.

Our support for the Yemeni people is more important now than ever. The humanitarian response must continue without a gap. Failure to do so, risks reversing the small gains and destabilizing the country further.

Switzerland upholds the level of its contribution for the humanitarian response in Yemen.
My country will allocate a total of 15.6 million $ (14.5 million Swiss francs) towards humanitarian operations this year.
In addition, we will contribute another 2.2 million $ (2 million CHF) to strengthen economic development and entrepreneurship in Yemen.

However, funding alone is not enough to address the humanitarian crisis.
Humanitarian organizations must be able to reach those most in need, without obstruction, and in a timely manner.

I therefore call on all parties to the conflict to:

  1. Allow for the movement of all humanitarian workers, both male and female, without restrictions.

  2. Respect the independence and neutrality of humanitarian actors. Humanitarian organizations need to be able to recruit and deploy the staff they need for their operations, without interference. And they need to obtain all necessary permits to operate.

  3. Lift all bureaucratic obstacles that hinder humanitarian organizations from delivering in an efficient manner for the benefit of the Yemeni population.

It is the obligation of conflict parties under international law to protect the civilian population and safeguard their access to humanitarian assistance. It is our collective responsibility to maintain our full support for the benefit of Yemeni women, men, and children.
Let us provide them the prospect of a better future.

Thank you for your continued support.

Address for enquiries:

FDFA Communication
Federal Palace West Wing
CH-3003 Bern, Switzerland
Tel. Communication service: +41 58 462 31 53
Tel. Press service: +41 58 460 55 55
E-mail: kommunikation@eda.admin.ch
Twitter: @SwissMFA


Federal Department of Foreign Affairs

Last update 29.01.2022


FDFA Communication

Federal Palace West
3003 Bern

Phone (for journalists only):
+41 58 460 55 55

Phone (for all other requests):
+41 58 462 31 53

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