Statement by Ambassador Byrne Nason at UNSC Briefing on the Situation in Yemen
Statement15 April 2021
Thank you very much Mr. President, and like others, I would like to send our sincere best wishes for the Holy month of Ramadan. Thank you also to Martin and Mark for their briefings and their candour again today.
Every time we discuss this, we say it and we mean it, the terrible conflict in Yemen continues to cause unimaginable human suffering. However, as Mark said earlier, until we end the fighting, we cannot end the suffering.
We urge support for all efforts to bring this conflict to an end. Ireland is encouraged that dialogue is continuing among the parties to the conflict and has been bolstered by recent intensified diplomatic efforts from international and regional actors, as well as the tireless dedication and resilience of Special Envoy Griffiths.
We welcome and commend the recent initiative and commitment of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia towards a peace agreement. We also acknowledge the longstanding and the constructive role played by the Sultanate of Oman to bring an end to this horrific conflict. The work of US Special Envoy Tim Lenderking, EU Ambassador to Yemen Hans Grundberg, as well as other Envoys, is particularly valuable at what we hope now will prove to be a critical juncture.
Now more than ever, the international community and this Council must stand fully united behind efforts to end the conflict.
An end to the conflict cannot come too soon for the people of Yemen. As we heard earlier today, the toll of human suffering is rising and the situation on the ground remains dire. Marib has become the crucible of renewed hostilities and violence, resulting in widespread displacement, and we urge an immediate end to this offensive.
We all know that there can be no military solution to this conflict – a nationwide ceasefire is urgently needed. Only then can the work begin on a comprehensive political settlement, including, and we underline again, the full, equal and meaningful participation of women at every step in the process.
We are very concerned by the rapid rise that we have heard about in Covid-19 cases, and the shocking reports of high levels of associated fatalities.
Yemenis face a shattered health system and a deeply degraded economy. Amid widespread hunger, devaluation of the Rial means that millions of Yemenis are unable to purchase food. Those who are not paid a salary are totally unable to support their own families. Fuel shortages limit the functioning of schools, transport, hospitals and other vital infrastructure.
In addition to ensuring that fuel and food are imported and delivered to those who need it most, we know it is also vital to ensure a basic economic stability. The recent import of fuel into Hodeidah Port was welcome and we call on all parties to urgently implement further practical actions that might go some way to easing the suffering of the Yemeni people.
The instability of the Safer oil tanker, we raise it each time, continues to threaten a new catastrophe. It is welcome news that there was recent talks and we call on all parties to rapidly conclude discussions so that the UN teams who are ready to go can access the tanker and carry out the necessary repairs.
I wanted to mention in particular today, the plight of children in Yemen, which has come into sharper focus as a result of recent hostilities. As Martin Griffiths lamented this week: “a generation has been lost”. We continue to witness grave violations against children, including killing and maiming, denial of basic humanitarian access, and the horrific recruitment and use of child soldiers. Over 2 million Yemeni children are out of school.
We call on all parties to the conflict to abide by their obligations and responsibilities under international humanitarian law and human rights law, and to take the necessary measures to end and prevent such violations. Surely the children of Yemen, who have suffered six long years of conflict, at a minimum deserve peace and the chance of a brighter future.
Thank you, Mr. President.