In the midst of the third wave of COVID-19, The Taiz Axis Force, a group of military brigades in charge of Taiz governorates, have publicly declared their commitment towards the protection of civilians during the pandemic. With the support of Geneva Call office in Yemen, the group signed a unilateral declaration “…committing themselves to safeguard access to health care and help to prevent the spreading of COVID-19.”
Ever since the outbreak of the pandemic, Geneva Call has been working directly with armed actors to ensure protection of health care and civilians during COVID-19. The organisation is holding regular discussions with key Armed non-State Actors (ANSAs) on their response and measures on COVID-19 and the protection of health care in areas under their control.
The commitment made by the Taiz Axis Force showcases one of the practical steps they can undertake to ensure their compliance and commitment to protect civilians during this global pandemic. The Declaration will also serve as a useful first step to take further actions in future humanitarian commitments and stronger dialogue.
The Declaration by the Taiz Axis Force comes in the wake of a visit by Geneva Call’s Director of Operations Hichem Khadraoui to Yemen, and following number of meetings and discussions with the force represented by its Commander General Khalid Fadil. Hichem Khadraoui said “this unilateral declaration by the Taiz Axis Force is most welcome, and paves the way for further engagement with the force on the protection of health care and civilians”.
To support so, Geneva Call has been working in Yemen since 2008 engaging with different fighting forces. In 2019, the Southern Transitional Council (STC) signed three Deeds of Commitments to better enhance the protection of civilians during armed conflicts. Geneva Call is currently discussing with STC follow-up steps to further operationalise their commitments.