Statement by Mr. Martin Gallagher at the UNSC Briefing on the situation in Yemen
Statement15 March 2022
Thank you Mr. President, and thanks also to the Special Envoy and to USG Griffiths for their briefings today.
The conflict in Yemen has caused unthinkable suffering for too long. Yemenis have endured more than seven years of conflict, which has savaged their country. As we heard from Martin, they continue to battle everyday with extreme levels of hunger. As we know from the IPC report, this year 19 million people across Yemen will face acute food insecurity, with 160,000 living in famine-like conditions, the highest number in years.
The humanitarian community is providing lifesaving assistance on the ground, in challenging circumstances and we commend their efforts. However, we are increasingly concerned that a lack of funding is forcing many humanitarian programmes to scale back or shut down entirely. This risks leaving millions without access to food, water, and other life-saving services. Half of those in need of such life-saving assistance are children.
The High-level Pledging Event, taking place tomorrow, is therefore very welcome, and Ireland is pleased to participate. It is clear that Yemen still needs the strong support of the international donor community. It is also clear that sustainable solutions are required. The UN Economic Plan for Yemen provides that opportunity, and we call for progress in its operationalization. Ultimately, however only an end to the conflict can truly lead to long-term stability and prosperity for the Yemeni people.
Yemenis rely upon commercial and humanitarian imports for up to 90 percent of their food, medicine, and fuel. This is a reality that we are all familiar with here. We know that the timely and unimpeded flow of these commodities through Yemen’s ports is essential. We call on all actors to ensure this, without delay. As Martin has said, this is particularly vital at a time when tragic events elsewhere in the world are unfortunately likely to push Yemenis further into hunger.
We fully support the Special Envoy’s work, and welcome the launching of his consultations last week with a broad range of Yemeni actors. We reiterate our call on all parties to meaningfully engage with him towards establishing an inclusive Framework.
Only a negotiated political solution will bring peace to Yemen. We reiterate that all efforts to this end must include the full, equal and meaningful participation of women, and extensive engagement with civil society. Young people, who have a right to shape their own future, should also be central to these efforts. The exclusion of these groups from the table over recent years is simply inexcusable.
Furthermore, we believe that negotiations towards peace can only take place when there is a serious effort towards de-escalation in violence, including an end to the Houthi offensive on Marib. We condemn in the strongest terms the cross border attacks against Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
Ireland also condemns the detention of Yemenis who are currently or formerly employed by the UN, or by the United States. We call for their immediate and safe release, and that at a minimum, they be afforded contact with their families. We also reiterate our call for the release of the Rawabi vessel and its crew.
Innocent civilians have suffered for too long. Airstrikes, and all other attacks where civilians and civilian objects bear the brunt of the impact are unacceptable. Let me take this opportunity, once again, to remind parties of their obligations under International Humanitarian Law.
Finally, Mr. President,
We welcome the recent progress made on the UN-coordinated proposal to address the threat posed by the Safer Tanker, which we have often referred to in this Council as a “ticking time bomb”. The Memorandum of Understanding signed last week was a positive first step towards stopping the clock, and we hope this momentum continues. The humanitarian and environmental imperatives are indisputable, and the vital livelihoods of many Yemenis rely on it.
Thank you Mr. President.