Statement by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

New York, 28 September 2015

The Secretary-General condemns the airstrikes that reportedly struck a wedding party in Wahijah village, outside of the Red Sea port city of Mokha in Yemen, killing as many as 135 people. The Secretary-General expresses his deepest condolences and sympathies to the families of the victims and a swift recovery to those injured.

The Secretary-General has consistently stated that there is no military solution to the conflict in Yemen. Its continuation will only bring more human suffering and destruction. Earlier today addressing the United Nations General Assembly, he condemned the disregard shown by all sides for human life.

The Secretary-General, therefore, again calls on all parties involved in the Yemeni conflict, from inside and outside the country, to immediately cease all military activities and resolve all differences through peaceful negotiations facilitated by his Special Envoy.

Any intentional attack against civilians is considered a serious violation of international humanitarian law. Violations of international law should be investigated through prompt, effective, independent and impartial mechanisms to ensure accountability.

Find the original statement here

The Sad Decline of Yemen, the Best Country You'll Never Get to See

The Daily Beast article by Barry Pell:

I’ve been to more than 160 countries. None are more fascinating than Yemen, where violence is making its remarkable beauty and people undiscoverable.

As my plane descended into Yemen’s international airport and I had just finished reading the country’s English-language newspaper, I noticed a small article about a Dutch tourist who had recently been kidnapped by a hill tribe and released after two weeks of negotiations. Not great news, I thought. But reading further, the Dutchman declared that his captivity was wonderful, and the tribesmen treated him like an honored guest and showed him parts of the country he would have otherwise never seen. It was, he said, the best part of his trip.

This was 1998, and it was common for disenfranchised hill people to embarrass the central government by holding tourists and then bargain their release for needed investments like roads, schools, and hospitals. There was no intention to harm anyone.

Unfortunately, this tactic of nonviolent protest has, in many instances, been replaced by a much more virulent form of assault on Western tourists by hill tribes, motivated by extremist religious causes, political opposition, or foreign influences intent on destabilizing the government.

Read the full article here