Creating new perspectives since 2009

UN envoy welcomes Yemen prisoner exchange

April 15, 2023 at 1:00 pm

UN special envoy for Yemen Hans Grundberg speaks to the press after a meeting with local officials in Taiz, Yemen [Abdulnasser Alseddik – Anadolu Agency]

The United Nations (UN) Envoy to Yemen Hans Grundberg on Friday welcomed the start of the process of releasing around 900 detainees in connection with the conflict in Yemen, urging the parties to immediately and unconditionally release all arbitrarily detained people.

Grundberg announced in a statement: “Nearly 900 conflict-related detainees are being released by the parties in Yemen starting today, Friday, and over the course of three days.”

This release is in line with an agreement reached by the Supervisory Committee on the Detainees’ Exchange Agreement, which announced the initiative at the UN Office in Geneva in March.

“The Red Cross is managing the release operation, which includes flights between six airports in Yemen and Saudi Arabia to repatriate all prisoners over three days. This will be under the supervision of a committee consisting of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Office of the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen (OSESGY).”

Grundberg added that the parties agreed to meet again in May to organise more releases. He welcomed the start of the release process and thanked all parties for their cooperation with his office and the ICRC and the continuous partnership in the supervisory committee.

The envoy expressed: “This release operation comes at a time of hope for Yemen as a reminder that constructive dialogue and mutual compromises are powerful tools capable of achieving great outcomes. I hope this spirit is reflected in ongoing efforts to advance a comprehensive political solution. Today, hundreds of Yemeni families get to celebrate Eid with their loved ones because the parties negotiated and reached an agreement.”

Grundberg conveyed his hope that: “The parties build on the success of this operation to fulfil the commitment they made to the Yemeni people in the Stockholm Agreement to release all conflict-related detainees and bring this suffering to an end.”

The UN envoy also urged the parties to immediately and unconditionally release all arbitrarily detained individuals and to adhere to international legal standards regarding detention and fair trials.

READ: Prisoner swap process begins in Yemen