Yemen's warring groups urged to back ceasefire pledge

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Smoke rises above Yemen’s capital Sana’a following an air strike in April this year. Photo: UNICEF/ Mohammed Hamoud

Warring parties in Yemen who hold "guns in their hands" should heed calls to stop the fighting and end the suffering, a top UN official said Tuesday.

Ahmad Fawzi, who's the UN's spokesperson in Geneva, made his comments as fighting continues in Yemen despite apparent assurances that a ceasefire would be respected by those involved in the conflict.

Meanwhile, UNHCR called for aid to be scaled up "all over" the war-torn country since four out of five Yemenis are in need of humanitarian aid.

Daniel Johnson has more.

UN spokesperson Ahmad Fawzi described the situation in Yemen as "one of the major humanitarian crises of the decade".

And he said it was up to warring groups to respect ceasefire pledges made at the end of last week to UN Special Envoy for Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed.

"It is the responsibility of those who have the guns in their hands to silence their guns… strikes continue, fighting continues, suffering continues."

Those comments follow an announcement by the UN human rights office (OHCHR) that 142 civilians have been killed in the last two weeks, including 36 children and 27 women.

That brings the total civilian death toll to 1,670, since an escalation of fighting in late March.

According to the UN human rights office, on the 6th of July, airstrikes hit two markets in different provinces, killing 76 civilians.

The UN refugee agency UNHCR meanwhile said that the aid effort urgently needs to be stepped up all over the war-torn country.

Johannes van der Klauw, who's UNHCR's Yemen representative, said that four out of five Yemenis need help, some 21 million people in all.

Daniel Johnson, United Nations, Geneva

Duration: 1'05"

 

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