Plan agreed in Geneva for the release of prisoners of war in Yemen

Press releases, 20.03.2023

The Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) welcomes the positive outcome of the negotiations that were held in the canton of Bern. The plan, agred this afternoon at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, was concluded thanks to facilitation by the UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Switzerland supports the UN peace process in Yemen as part of its good offices policy.

Several hundred prisoners of war will be returned to their homes thanks to the plan negotiated during the seventh meeting of the Supervisory Committee for the Implementation of the Prisoner and Detainee Exchange Agreement. The meeting began in Switzerland on Saturday 11 March 2023. The Supervisory Committee is co-chaired by the Office of the UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy for Yemen (OSESGY) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), with the membership of the parties to the conflict in Yemen.

For many years, Yemen has been torn apart by a conflict that has brought the country to its knees. People, reduced to misery, largely depend on international aid for survival. In this context, the agreement signed in Geneva is a step in the right direction.

Switzerland's commitment

Switzerland is convinced that only dialogue can lead to a resolution of the conflict and to a solid and lasting peace. For this reason, it supports the efforts deployed by the United Nations and acts as a Host State for negotiations, providing a neutral, discreet and secure space for dialogue.    

FDFA Deputy State Secretary Thomas Gürber emphasized that the exchange of prisoners is a step on the road to peace. "It is essential that all parties involved remain committed to finding solutions that will benefit all Yemenis, focusing on the human impact of this conflict," said Ambassador Gürber at the signing ceremony at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

ICRC’s Role

The ICRC will make its expertise and experience available for the implementation of the agreement signed in Geneva. ICRC is heavily involved in Yemen, where some 22 million people, or two-thirds of the population, are in need of humanitarian assistance.

To support the work of the ICRC and other international organizations in Yemen, Switzerland, together with Sweden, organized a high-level donor conference in Geneva last month. It also released CHF 14.5 million for humanitarian aid on the ground. Swiss support is focused on water, food security and the protection of civilians.

Address for enquiries:

FDFA Communication
Federal Palace West Wing
CH-3003 Bern, Switzerland
Tel. Communication service: +41 58 462 31 53
Tel. Press service: +41 58 460 55 55
Twitter: @SwissMFA


Federal Department of Foreign Affairs