Statement by Ambassador Byrne Nason at UNSC Briefing on the situation in Yemen
Statement15 June 2021
Thank you very much indeed Mr President.
Firstly, I would like to thank you Najiba for your frank and very inspiring words this morning. Listening to you reminds us clearly why a solution is urgently needed to the conflict in Yemen. After six years of war, the people of your country deserve a peaceful and prosperous future. We keep saying that when we meet here. All Yemeni’s, regardless of gender or age, must be afforded every opportunity to play a substantial role in shaping this future.
Najiba, I would like to say that Yemen needs women like you at the table, both in the peace talks but also in the government, and we really regret the exclusion of women from the current government. The full, equal and meaningful participation of women can unlock inclusive paths to peace. Building that peace for ordinary Yemeni’s, for their children, rebuilding infrastructure and institutions and working as you said this morning Najiba at community level to diffuse tensions, and against the odds build that peace that we keep talking about. Evidence shows us that women at the peace table can help to produce at least a more sustainable peace and we have seen that experience on the island of Ireland in the last twenty years.
To the parties in Yemen, let me say that women’s direct representation is not optional, it is actually their right. This Council has been united in calling for this.
Grassroots peacebuilders like Najiba and civil society organisations can have a powerful impact in sustaining ceasefire implementation, and building lasting peace. It is a striking figure that 70% of the population in Yemen are young people. They deserve their place also in this discussion and at the table when it comes to issues that critically affect their futures. We are relying on them to carry forward of course the peacebuilding work of today into their future.
I want to salute Najiba’s courage and the honesty of the message we heard. We know clearly that much remains to be done but your very forward and concrete ideas this morning can become one day a reality. We must all at this table help to finish that work, so that Yemeni people can have that opportunity for real peace.
I want to thank sincerely Martin Griffiths, who as he told us is concluding after three challenging years his service as Special Envoy
Martin, we very much look forward to working with you in your new role as Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs. We know that you will bring to that role and to your new responsibilities, that same energy and dedication that you brought in this particular job.
Despite the overall rather bleak picture, to quote you Martin that you presented to us this morning, we were nonetheless encouraged by your visit to Sana’a for the first time in a year, and by the sustained diplomatic momentum generated by efforts of regional and international actors to bring an end to this conflict.
However difficult the decisions may be as you put it, moving from war to peace still remains the only option. We cannot escape the simple reality that what is needed now is decisive political will amongst the parties to the conflict and for once and for all that they put the Yemeni people first, and bring a conclusive end to the unconscionable violence on the basis of an inclusive political dialogue for the future of the country.
We reiterate our call for a nationwide ceasefire, and in particular call on the Houthis to immediately halt the deadly offensive on Marib, which continues to cause widespread suffering as we have heard, especially for those also in the informal camp settings.
We want to condemn in the strongest terms the attacks earlier this month on Marib city, whose victims included children. We call on all parties to adhere to their responsibilities under international humanitarian and human rights law to protect civilians. Ireland fully supports the work of the Group of Eminent Experts and enabling full and unfettered access for the Group to carry out its work.
I also want to thank Under-Secretary General Lowcock for his briefing today and for his outstanding and dedicated service at the UN. We know this is also his final appearance at the Council to discuss the situation in Yemen. Mark, you have shone a much needed spotlight on this tragic humanitarian crisis during your tenure. We all owe you our appreciation for paying attention to this tragedy.
Regrettably, crisis levels of food insecurity persist as we have heard this morning throughout the country. The economic impact of the conflict continues to cause dire humanitarian consequences.
It is shocking to hear that the cost of food has reached record highs. Basic food items are out of reach for millions living with chronic and acute hunger. There should be no better incentive for stopping the war than ending this indefensible suffering.
Finally, Mr. President,
Earlier this month, the Council discussed the decaying Safer tanker, which poses an undeniable humanitarian and environmental threat. Ireland welcomes renewed efforts to reach agreement on access for a UN inspection team, and can only once again we reiterate our call on the Houthis and the UN to reach an agreement on that as soon as possible.
Thank you Mr President.