The Yemen Safe Passage Group was formed in mid-2015 as an informal grouping of senior professionals, all acting in their personal capacity, who have worked in Yemen for substantial periods and who share a concern about the well-being of its people. We represent the case for the unimpeded flow of food, fuel and medicines into Yemen, by drawing attention to serious abuses at senior levels of government, in parliament and to journalists. We highlight the naval blockade and delays imposed on vessels delivering essential supplies, as well as the systematic attacks on Yemeni livelihoods and infrastructure. We look for solutions that would significant improve the lot of Yemenis, and make the case for an early cessation of hostilities and for a sustainable and inclusive peace.
The YSPG has now grown to around 60 individuals comprising three sections: former British diplomats and defence personnel, including former ambassadors; prominent British academics working on Yemen; and senior development and community workers.
Its strength lies in bringing together a wide range of expertise – international politics and diplomacy, peace-making and reconciliation skills, security and its military underpinning, trade and the economy, port operations, infrastructure, livelihoods and humanitarian operations. This is coupled with an understanding as to how this expertise might realistically be applied to the Yemen situation and its unique political culture and history.
The group has a wide range of contacts, both in and outside Yemen, and on every side of this conflict. This helps keep its recommendations rooted in an often-complex reality. YSPG moves as far as possible by broad consensus, seeking feedback from the group on major statements, which in turn become the positions on which to influence or take initiatives. It has a small coordinating team representing the cross-section of backgrounds and skills within the group.
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