Statement by Ambassador Byrne Nason at UNSC Briefing on the Situation in Yemen
Statement12 May 2021
Thank you very much Mr. President and I would like to also join in wishing Eid Mubarak to all celebrating at this time. A special thanks also to Special Envoy Griffiths and Under-Secretary-General Lowcock for once again very frank and also informative, if not very uplifting briefings.
When we last discussed the situation in Yemen at this Council in April, we did so with some sense of hope. This hope at the time stemmed from the concerted diplomatic efforts of the international community and regional actors to help end six long years of war, which of course have taken a brutal toll on the people of Yemen.
Despite those efforts and the resilience and tireless work of Special Envoy Griffiths and other envoys, it is worrying, it is disappointing, it is dismaying that progress in bringing an end to this conflict remains so elusive. Although I did note that Martin this morning left the door open, telling us that a deal is still possible, in spite of everything.
I heard Martin also reach for new ways to say the inevitable - that all parties to this conflict have a responsibility to put the rights and the needs, and I would add the lives, of the Yemeni people first, and to engage seriously with the diplomatic efforts underway to end the violence, including the efforts within the UN process. I urge them all to do so without further delay.
We all know here how critical it is that the Houthis end their offensive on Marib. Hostilities there continue to inflict death and misery on the civilian population and are quite simply deplorable. Children have been recruited, homes destroyed, 25 thousand Yemenis displaced due to the violence. The most vulnerable in Marib face extremely difficult conditions, with mothers, children and pregnant women unable to safely access emergency pediatric and maternal care. This must stop.
Elsewhere in the country, Yemenis are also continuing to suffer. We know that COVID-19 cases are rising across the country. Years of conflict have shattered the healthcare system; there is a really constrained capacity to control the spread of the virus, to care for infected people and indeed to sustain basic health services for the general population.
We know every effort should be made to assist those in need. We are deeply concerned by reports we have of bureaucratic impediments to humanitarian assistance, particularly in the south and west coast. This basic assistance is a vital lifeline for millions of Yemenis each month, including those facing the horrible threats we heard Mark outline of hunger and famine. We again urge all parties to adhere to their obligations under international humanitarian and human rights law and enable the rapid, safe and unimpeded delivery of humanitarian assistance.
We must also acknowledge the role of the economic crisis and blockages of vital imports such as fuel in driving the humanitarian crisis, and we call on all parties to work together to urgently reduce humanitarian need.
Furthermore, the Safer oil tanker, as we know, continues to pose a significant danger to the people of Yemen and the region and we urge all parties to conclude talks to allow UN teams to access the vessel and carry out the necessary repairs.
In line with Security Council Resolution 2564, Ireland strongly supports all efforts to ensure an inclusive Yemeni-led, Yemeni-owned political process, under UN auspices, with women at the table. We call again on the parties to the conflict to ensure women comprise at least 30 percent of their delegations in all future talks. Their participation in the room at the talks will be critical, not just to achieving a political solution, but also to establishing a sustainable peace.
I began by expressing the disappointment we all share at the lack of progress towards peace. However, I am encouraged that despite the stubborn and persistent obstacles, the international community and this Council stands fully united behind efforts to end the conflict.
Violations of international humanitarian and human rights law must end, and accountability must be prioritised. The work of the Group of Eminent Experts on Yemen is essential in this regard.
Once again the world is watching. For the sake of the Yemeni people, it is incumbent upon all parties on the ground to engage urgently and sincerely, to agree on an immediate nationwide ceasefire and to resume talks - long overdue. The people of Yemen deserve nothing less.
Thank you Mr. President.