Statement by Ambassador Byrne Nason at the UNSC Briefing on the situation in Yemen
Statement10 September 2021
I want to thank our briefers and in particular Entesar for your frank and eloquent contribution today. We should never forget the tragic human consequences of this conflict. I salute your courage and commitment in carrying out such vital work on the ground in Marib.
I want to welcome our new Special Envoy Hans Grundberg. Hans, you can be assured of Ireland’s full support for you and your team as you embark on the challenging task ahead. We call on all actors to engage constructively and in good faith with the Special Envoy.
I will make three points today.
The fighting in Yemen needs to end and end now.
The Houthi offensive on Marib is unacceptable.
Its impact on the people of Marib, particularly its women and girls, is horrific.
Thousands of Yemenis have been uprooted and displaced, as Entesar has so vividly described today. Cross-border attacks on civilian infrastructure in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia must end. Escalating violence elsewhere in the country, including in Taiz and Hudaydah, is deeply concerning.
Constructive engagement by all parties on a nationwide ceasefire is needed urgently now to allow for a political dialogue under the auspices of the new Envoy to take place.
Yemen continues to struggle with the devastating humanitarian consequences of this protracted conflict. Famine-like conditions are a reality for many Yemenis as we have heard, and pose a very real threat to millions of others.
The conflict has far-reaching economic consequences, such as the inadequate passage of fuel through Yemen’s Red Sea ports, which compound the ongoing crisis and undermine the humanitarian response. The longstanding issue of irregular salary payments for civil servants has left millions of doctors, nurses, and teachers struggling to feed their families.
Let’s be clear. Yemenis are not starving because there is no food. They are starving because they cannot afford it. We urge the parties with the power and means to do so to ensure that an adequate flow of fuel and commodities reaches those who so desperately need it.
The consistent pattern of women’s exclusion from the political process in Yemen cannot continue. Entesar has exemplified today why women belong at every table, during peace talks and in the government.
Day in day out, women are working to build peace in Yemen.
From enhancing the role of political parties in local peacebuilding, to developing local conflict-resolution mechanisms with tribal actors, Yemeni women like Entesar are waging peace, not war.
Entesar’s work with children, who suffer enormously as a result of this conflict, is essential to building sustainable peace.
All Yemenis, regardless of gender, age, or background, need to be given the chance to play a substantial role in shaping their own future.
This requires full respect for human rights, as well as accountability for human rights abuses. These include conflict-related sexual and gender-based violence, and violations of international humanitarian law. This is not rhetoric. These violations are weaponised to prevent ordinary Yemenis, women in particular, from participating fully in political and public life.
Sitting around this table, we have a responsibility, collectively and individually, to act in the face of such immense suffering. Today, we heard clarion calls to action. Let us not only hear these calls, but rather heed them. We owe this at the very least, to the millions of Yemenis, who have clearly already suffered too much.