21 March 2016
Four volunteers from our partner organisation, the Yemen Red Crescent Society, have been wounded by shelling. The team was on duty at the time, retrieving the bodies of people killed in the fighting.
The volunteers were injured by shrapnel: one is in a critical condition and is currently fighting for his life. The three others are in a stable condition.
This happened despite agreements from all sides of the conflict that humanitarian workers should be able to provide assistance in safety.
At least 6,000 people have been killed in the year-long conflict in Yemen. This includes eight Yemen Red Crescent Society volunteers and two staff members from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). More than 30,000 people have been wounded in the fighting.
The British Red Cross and our partners in the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement are very concerned about this latest incident. It reveals the failure to protect aid workers that risk their own lives for the sake of the lives of others in Yemen and around the world.
Michael Meyer, head of international law at the British Red Cross, said: “The red cross and red crescent emblems are, first and foremost, symbols of neutral protection in wartime.
To be effective, they must be understood and completely trusted. International humanitarian law, including the emblems, must be respected for the effective provision of humanitarian aid in Yemen.
Red Crescent volunteers have been at the forefront of humanitarian response in Yemen since the conflict began, in spite of the risks involved. In the past 12 months alone, there have been more than 100 attacks on health facilities in Yemen.
Of the 17 million Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers around the world, one million currently work in countries affected by conflict. Up to 100,000 volunteers are regularly saving lives on the frontlines.
Despite the danger, Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers and staff will continue to provide help to people wherever and whenever possible.