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Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Yemen peace plan: how to end the world’s worst humanitarian crisis

In order to end the world's largest humanitarian crisis, all international actors must put in a joint- effort to bring peace to Yemen.

In January 2015, Houthis backed by Iran, ousted pro-Saudi president Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, formed a ruling council, and began to rule Yemen from Sana. Hadi fled to Saudi Arabia. Resultantly, on 26 March 2015, Saudi Arabia along with other allies intervened in Yemen, which resulted in a full-fledged war.

Saudi Arabia-led coalition started airstrikes and also imposed blockade. Still, the war has not ended. Attacks across borders are routine matters. Thus, armed conflict in Yemen resulted in the largest humanitarian crises in the world.

Read more: A cry for help; Yemen’s humanitarian crisis

Yemen data project figures show more than 100,000  people have been killed in the Yemen war so far and still counting. Furthermore, Saudi led coalition has conducted nearly 21000 airstrikes since the war has begun, and according to the world food program, 16.5 million people in Yemen are facing food insecurity. UNICEF has reported that nearly 2.3 million children in Yemen are going to suffer from malnutrition this year.

Moreover, the UN Group of Eminent Experts on Yemen found that “Saudi led coalition-backed forces practiced arbitrary detention and torture, including sexual violence, in detention facilities they controlled.” The Houthis are also violating the fundamental rights of the individuals. Further, this war has caused the loss of billions of dollars to the parties involved in this crisis.

Read more: Yemen faces economic disaster as Saudi remittances dwindle

The power struggle between the two arch-rivals has worsened the condition of Yemenis. Although it’s too late, sagacity prevailed, and a great breakthrough has been witnessed. Saudi Arabia has put forward a peace plan.

The plan which was unveiled in Riyadh includes: UN-backed ceasefire between Houthis and Saudi block, reopening of Sanaa airport, and talks to reach a political resolution. The end of the blockade is also proposed under this peace plan.

After six years of war, Saudi Arabia has realized the mistake. The shocks of the war have been felt all over the largest peninsula of the world and beyond. To make the peace in Yemen persistent and permanent, the following suggestions must be considered.

Read more: Is Saudis’ renewed peace push enough to save Yemen?

A need for a joint effort

The UN should immediately bring the Houthis and Saudi-led block on the same page for the ceasefire. The blockade must be lifted.

After that all-important players in Yemen i.e. Southern separatist, Sunni Islamist, Republican guard of Yemen, and other regional leaders, who are at war must be brought to the table for political negotiations.

Iran is an important party to this conflict. The Houthis are backed by Iran. Therefore, Saudi Arabia must accept Iran as an important factor in this regard. Both rivals must break the deadlock between themselves.

Read more: Iran backing Houthi rebels against Saudi Arabia?

The two oil giants of the world must bring the groups backed by them to the table for the sake of humanity. Both countries must jointly work to bring peace to the region.

The UN must arrange peace talks at a neutral place. The peace talks must be inclusive. All regional and important actors must also be included.

All nine countries, which are part of Saudi led coalition, must be a party to peace talks because these states are directly involved in the conflict. Russia also has some influence over Houthis, therefore it must also be included.

Furthermore, the US, France, and the UK facilitated Saudi Arabia in this war, they should also be a part of negotiating.

Read more: Saudi-led coalition removed from UN blacklist

Equitable power distribution

The whole power must not be shared with the Houthis, it must be shared proportionally. In Yemen, different actors have different goals, for example, the Southern transitional council wants independent southern Yemen, whereas Tariq Saleh, a Yemeni commander, is supporting Saudi led coalition’s stance in Yemen.

Therefore for a permanent solution to the Yemen conflict, all actors must be part of a peace deal. For equitable power distribution, the UN can establish an interim government in Yemen. All stakeholders must be given a share as per their portion.

Read more: Yemeni govt backs UN peace talks but Hodeida still at risk

After that, elections must be held under the supervision of the interim government and the United Nations, and power should be transferred to those, who win public confidence through voting.

All internal stakeholders must be instructed to protect and preserve democratic values. The fundamental rights of the individuals must be upheld. The judiciary must be made independent.

Moreover, the women rights must also be ensured. Issues like unemployment, poor healthcare, rising prices of goods of basic needs must be addressed, and those who committed war crimes must be brought to the book.

Read more: Yemen war hits people with disabilities hardest: Amnesty

How can the UN play its part to bring peace to Yemen?

The UN peacekeepers should work to train the Yemeni forces to fight against terrorist groups. Currently, ISIS and Al-Qaeda are involved in terrorist activities in Yemen. They have a free hand to fulfill their evil interests.

To eradicate terrorism the UN peacemakers must play their part. The Pakistani troops can also train the Yemeni army in this regard because the Pakistani army has much more experience in fighting and eliminating terrorism.

Read more: Pakistan Army ranks 10th most powerful army in the world

According to UNICEF, 80 percent of the population is in need of humanitarian assistance. Therefore, to provide assistance, to uplift the condition of people, and for economic development, international actors and institutions should provide aid to the wretched and downtrodden Yemenis.

The changing approach of the new administration in the United States has directly impacted Saudi Arabia’s policy towards Yemen. The Houthis are gaining ground day by day and Biden has also announced the end of his support to Saudi Arabia for operations in Yemen.

Read more: Biden & Yemen: Will He Do The Right Thing Even For The Wrong Reasons?

Thus, losing Saudis are running for peace. Although Saudis are failing, peace must prevail for the prosperity of the whole region. The international actors and especially United Nations must play their role to end the world’s worst humanitarian crises.

The author is a practicing lawyer and human rights activist based in Lahore. The views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space