Statement at the UNSC Briefing on the situation in Yemen
Statement14 June 2022
Thank you very much Mr. President and I want to welcome and thank our briefers. I want to especially thank Hans Grundberg for both his in depth briefing but also for his encouraging news today. Thank you for all of the work you and your team are doing Hans, and thank you to Ms. Mudawi and all of your team.
I want to say a special thank you to Ms. Azal Al- Salafi who is still with us on screen. You gave us an excellent insight but also a sort of reality check take away about what is happening and what the challenges are on the ground. That is really very important that we hear that, so thank you very much.
As always, I welcome our Yemeni colleague to the table. I would like also if I may Mr. President to recognise in the chamber Major General Michael Beary, the head of UNMHA who is with us in person today for the first time. We will hear from him later but I just wanted to recognise his being with us.
I would like to start by commending the parties’ commitment earlier this month to extend the April truce for a further two months. It is heartening good news and as others have said, it gives us reason for hope.
As we have also heard again today, the measures taken already on freeing up movement of people and goods across the country are now providing Yemenis with long overdue, tangible relief. The vital efforts of the Special Envoy and of regional states in facilitating these developments are deeply appreciated and to be welcomed.
The establishment of a joint coordination room, and agreement to monthly meetings by the military coordination committee are further positive signals we see of the parties’ commitment to de-escalation through communication and building trust.
The first meeting of the parties to discuss re-opening roads in Taiz is also a very welcome step. As Ms. Ola Al-Aghbary told this Council in January, road closures mean journeys are longer and more perilous, rendering Taiz, in her words, a ‘repulsive environment’ for humanitarian and medical workers.
We welcome the flexibility shown by the Government of Yemen and call on the Houthis to engage constructively with the Special Envoy’s revised proposal.
We call on the parties to ensure the full participation of local, diverse women and the inclusion of youth peacebuilders in Taiz in ongoing negotiations. Azal, we share your aspiration for a timely and inclusive process and for the participation of women in all structures and committees.
We also note the recent contributions to the UN-coordinated proposal to address the serious environmental and humanitarian threat posed by the Safer tanker.
Despite these positive developments, we continue to closely follow the fragile security situation and the threat of violence across Yemen, especially in Marib, Hodeidah, Aden, and elsewhere in the south.
We are very concerned about the vulnerability of civilians, especially children, to mines and other explosive remnants of war, particularly as Yemenis begin to move around more freely.
UNMHA is coordinating life-saving mine action in Hodeidah. We call on the parties to prioritize mine clearance, allow full and safe access for demining teams, and to provide and facilitate mine risk education.
As we have also heard today, addressing the deteriorating economy is essential to improving the everyday lives of Yemenis and removing one of the largest drivers of conflict.
We welcome the participation by UN humanitarian agencies and international financial institutions in the Special Envoy’s meetings with Yemeni economic experts.
In spite of the gains made over the past months, tens of thousands of Yemenis still risk starvation or death. Just last week, WFP and FAO identified Yemen as one of the world’s five Hunger Hotspots on the “highest alert”. We call on the international community to address the funding gaps in the UN Humanitarian Response Plan.
It is also critical that humanitarian actors can undertake their life-saving work freely and safely.
Attacks against international non-governmental organisations and UN organisations, including those occurring online, are deeply troubling and must end.
To conclude, Mr. President,
We hope that the space created by the truce will ultimately lead to a durable ceasefire and an inclusive, Yemeni-led and-owned political settlement, under UN-auspices.
We strongly urge the parties to put women at the heart of the peace process, and to ensure the design of such a process that includes their full, equal and meaningful participation, in the room and at the table.
We also cannot lose sight of the pursuit of justice and accountability for violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law that have been perpetrated against Yemenis with impunity.
Let me be clear: without this, peace cannot be sustained.
Finally, we call once again on all parties to seize the opportunity at hand for a lasting peace in Yemen and an end to the suffering of the Yemeni people.
Thank you Mr. President.