Statement by Ambassador Byrne Nason at the UNSC on Yemen
Statement23 August 2021
Thank you Mr. President. I would also like to thank our briefers.
I want to welcome Martin Griffiths to the chamber; it’s good to see him in his new role. And always very happy to see Henrietta Fore amongst us. I’d also like to welcome the appointment earlier this month, Mr. President, of Hans Grundberg as the new Special Envoy for Yemen. We look forward to working with him as he takes forward the crucial work of seeking solutions to this devastating crisis, building of course on your own tireless and valiant efforts, Martin.
Regrettably, as we have heard from other speakers, the summer months in Yemen have seen a further deterioration of the political, security, human rights and humanitarian situation, with devastating consequences for the ordinary people, for the civilian population in Yemen.
Ireland reiterates our firm conviction that there can be no military solution to this conflict. A nationwide ceasefire is urgently needed, to open the way for inclusive negotiations on the badly needed political way forward. Such processes require the full, equal and meaningful participation of women.
Ireland also calls for the full and urgent implementation of the Riyadh Agreement, and for all parties to set differences aside, and finally, to act in the interests of the Yemeni people themselves. We reiterate our strong support to the unity Government of Yemen and call on all sides to resume dialogue with the aim of the safe return of the Government to Aden.
The continued absence of any women in the cabinet remains seriously regrettable to us. We hope that this issue will be addressed in the very near future. The voice of Yemeni women in finding a pathway to peace is critical. We will return to this point, Mr. President, again and again until it is done.
I repeat Ireland’s call for all parties to comply with their obligations under international humanitarian and human rights law, and for accountability for crimes committed against the Yemeni people, critical for any lasting peace.
The briefing we have just heard from Henrietta Fore, taken together with recent reports, lays bare the devastating combined impact of war and poverty on the innocent children of Yemen.
I will not repeat the horrifying facts and figures. They are staggering and all too familiar by now.
They make clear that Yemeni children - and Yemeni girls in particular - remain the primary victims of this horrific crisis.
As we approach the International Day to Protect Education from Attack, we are reminded that every child should have a desk - a desk where they can learn in safety and security and begin to build a brighter future for themselves, their families, and for their country. We know that when girls have access to education, they are empowered and equipped to participate fully in political and social life in later years, and to break devastating cycles of violence, conflict and poverty.
It is shameful therefore that more than 2 million Yemeni children are currently out of school, and that a harrowing 70% of Yemeni girls are married while still children. That is an automatic denial of access to education for those 70% of Yemeni girls. And schools in Yemen continue to be attacked and used for military purposes.
Ireland fully supports the critical work of UNICEF in addressing these vitally important issues, including in providing access to education and in supporting teachers and school staff whose salaries have gone unpaid for many years.
Ireland remains deeply concerned about the humanitarian consequences of the protracted conflict in Yemen, further compounded by the continuing violence across the country and the serious economic pressures that Yemenis currently face.
We have heard from USG Martin Griffiths again today that the humanitarian and economic crises in Yemen are conflict-driven. The lack of fuel entering Hodeidah port both directly and indirectly affects the ability of millions of Yemenis to access food. Rising fuel prices mean rising food prices. The only food on shelves in Yemen today is food which few can afford.
And let’s not forget that the effects of famine – horrific as they are – are not only immediate. The effects are intergenerational. The effects of stunting and education lost will undermine the ability of Yemenis to rebuild their country once this brutal conflict finally ends. In other words, Yemen’s future is marked for decades ahead by famine.
We call for the lifting of restrictions of imports into Hodeidah port, for the payment of civil servant salaries and for critical humanitarian access to all those in need to be preserved and strengthened.
Thank you Mr. President.