One Year Since the Stockholm Agreement: Yemen’s Fading Hopes for Peace

A year since the Stockholm Agreement, the war in Yemen rages on and civilians continue to suffer. Warring parties must immediately agree to a nationwide ceasefire and restart peace talks.

Ahmed had to flee Hudaydah with four other families when the 2015 esclation of Yemen’s conflict began. Photo: Gabreeze/Oxfam
Ahmed had to flee Hudaydah with his family in 2018, when conflict in the area escalated. Photo: Gabreeze/Oxfam
Nuha* looks at a picture of her husband who died in a crossfire when Yemen’s war escalated. Photo: Husam Al-Sharmani/YHMA
Nuha* looks at a picture of her husband who died in a crossfire when Yemen’s war escalated. Photo: Husam Al-Sharmani/YHMA

Nuha’s story (Taiz): “I wish for an end to the war.

Before the war, Nuha and her family lived a comfortable life in Taiz city. Her husband was a construction laborer, and never struggled to put food on the table for his family. But all that changed when conflict reached Taiz. One day while at work, Nuha’s husband was caught in crossfire. A stray bullet hit him in the chest and he died instantly.

Aisha lives alone in a small room in a neighborhood in Taiz, Yemen. Photo: Husam Al-Sharmani/YHMA
Aisha* in a small room in a neighborhood in Taiz, Yemen. Photo: Husam Al-Sharmani/YHMA

Aisha’s story (Taiz): “Death roamed the streets”

Aisha lives alone in a small room in Houd Al-Ashraf, a neighbourhood in Taiz. Now in her mid-80s, Aisha has three sons who all moved away years ago.

Wafa* lives with her parents, three brothers and two sisters in their home in Taiz, Yemen. Photo: Husam Al-Sharmani/YHMA
Wafa* lives with her parents, three brothers and two sisters in their home in Taiz, Yemen. Photo: Husam Al-Sharmani/YHMA

Wafa’s Story (Taiz): “We still carry my mother’s pain in our hearts.”

Wafa lives with her parents, three brothers and two sisters in their home in Taiz. Shortly after the conflict broke out, Wafa’s mother Jamila was diagnosed with cancer. But the closure of the cancer treatment center in Taiz meant that the family’s only option was to seek treatment elsewhere. All of the roads out of Taiz were either blocked or too dangerous to travel, however, and as the family tried to find a way out Wafa could only watch as her mother’s condition deteriorated.

Musa*, 21, lost his father and now is alone responsible for his six sisters, and three brothers. Photo: Yahya Khinin
Musa*, 21, lost his father and now is alone responsible for his six sisters, and three brothers. Photo: Yahya Khinin

Musa’s story (Al-Durayhimi): “Our hopes for peace have come to nothing.”

Prior to the outbreak of conflict in Yemen, Musa and his family lived a comfortable life. His father sold vegetables in the market and his mother stayed at home to take care of his nine siblings. However, when fighting broke out they found themselves in the middle of the fighting:

Huda* and her daughters had to flee their home and farm due to the siege on Al-Duraihimi, Yemen. Photo: Yahya Khinin

Huda’s story (Al-Durayhimi): “Why is it that ordinary people always bear the worst brunt of war?”

Huda fled her home, along with her husband and three daughters, when the conflict broke out in 2015. Previously, the family had lived and worked on the farm that they owned, making a good living. Their daughters attended school.

One year on, and not a minute to lose

The Stockholm Agreement is frequently credited with having prevented a battle for the Red Sea port of Hudaydah, a vital lifeline for the Yemeni population given the fact that 70 per cent of goods imported to Yemen arrive through this port.

Civilian casualties continue

Now, one year since Stockholm, Yemen’s almost five-year-old conflict rages on. In Hudaydah, despite the relative calm that marked the first two weeks following the signing of the Stockholm Agreement, violence continues in and around the city — including shelling, ground fighting, and recently the resumption of airstrikes. A quarter of all civilian casualties across Yemen in 2019 were recorded in Hudaydah governorate.

Moving Yemen toward peace

As ever, it is urgent that all parties to Yemen’s conflict commit to respecting the Stockholm Agreement in full and start to work towards its implementation.

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Oxfam is a world-wide development organization that mobilizes the power of people against poverty.

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Oxfam International

Oxfam is a world-wide development organization that mobilizes the power of people against poverty.