Hisham Al-Omeisy, political analyst and human rights activist from Yemen, called on all concerned for peace and human rights in the Yemen to put pressure on the UK Government to take a decisive lead in bringing the various parties to the table. He was speaking to a large diverse group at the Temple of Peace, Cardiff at an event on 22nd March 2019 arranged by Cymdeithas y Cymod, the Fellowship of Reconciliation Wales.
Hisham, was critical of both warring factions in the Yemen conflict that has claimed the lives of an estimated 56,000 people . The current attempts at mediation focus on two groups, ignoring the fact that neither is homogenous, with factions within them, and this also excludes groups from the south of the country who are not directly involved. The UK Foreign Secretary should use his position to not only call the protagonists to negotiations, but also hold Saudi Arabia to account for its role in the deaths of civilians in bombing raids on the Yemen. He was critical of the lack of progress made by the United Nations in Yemen. Whilst praising the actions of some international aid agencies he expressed concern that a priority should be establishing aid corridors to reach all parts of the country and creating plans for a sustainable future.
Hisham Al-Omeisy spent 5 months in solitary confinement in Yemen for his criticism, especially of the Houthi forces in the North. He thanked activists with Amnesty International and other human rights groups for the pressure they brought, ensuring his release.
A Yemeni woman from Cardiff in the audience thanked everyone who attended, saying,” It is encouraging that so many people care about the Yemen.”
Here is a blog article about Hisham Al-Omeisy’s talk at the WCIA for more on the Yemen conflict.