Oxfam strongly condemns attack on 13 civilians in Northern Yemen

Published: 16th June 2020

In reaction to the reprehensible attack that killed 13 civilians, including children, in the north of Yemen yesterday, Oxfam and seven other international agencies working in Yemen strongly condemned the attack.

Muhsin Siddiquey, Oxfam Country Director in Yemen, said: “We condemn all violence by all parties to the conflict. What the people of Yemen need now more than ever is a nationwide ceasefire and a return to negotiations between the warring parties. More than five years since the escalation of this bloody conflict, it is high time that action is taken to ensure that peace can return to Yemen.”

This morning also saw numerous airstrikes on Sana’a, including in residential areas.

The attack on 13 civilians happened the same day as the publication of the UN’s Children and Armed Conflict report, which saw the Saudi Arabia and UAE-led coalition removed from the report’s blacklist for the first time in three years. This is despite the fact that, according to the report, the coalition killed or injured 222 children in Yemen last year. In total, all parties to the conflict were responsible for 689 such casualties last year.

"What the people of Yemen need now more than ever is a nationwide ceasefire and a return to negotiations between the warring parties."

Muhsin Siddiquey, Oxfam Country Director in Yemen

Mohamed Abdi, Country Director for the Norwegian Refugee Council in Yemen, also said: “These 13 people should not have come under attack and their families should not be mourning them today. An investigation must take place, and warring parties responsible for their deaths must be held accountable if it is confirmed that this strike violated international humanitarian law.”

A unilateral ceasefire was announced by Saudi Arabia in April, but there was little evidence that this translated on the ground, and it has since ended. Violence by all parties to the conflict has continued, even during the ceasefire, including airstrikes and shelling.


Danish Refugee Council
Handicap International/Humanity & Inclusion
Mercy Corps
Norwegian Refugee Council
Save the Children

Notes to editors

  • Figures on child casualties can be found within the UN Secretary General’s report on Children and Armed Conflict. According to this report, the coalition will be subject to one year of monitoring and any failure to further decrease child casualties would result in it being listed again next year.
  • This attack is in the context of a growing COVID-19 crisis in Yemen which, alongside mass flooding in several parts of the country, has caused an increase in humanitarian need.
  • In light of this attack, upcoming UN Security Council meetings on Yemen and on Children and Armed Conflict are opportune moments to reiterate the calls for a permanent ceasefire, and for stronger calls to stop and denounce civilian deaths in conflict.

Contact information

Sarah Grainger | sgrainger1@oxfam.org.uk | +44 781 018 1514.

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