National Statement by Sweden at the Security Council Briefing on the Situation in Yemen

National Statement by Sweden at the Security Council Briefing on the Situation in Yemen, Thursday, 26 January 2017, New York.

I thank the Special Envoy Special Envoy for his briefing and for his tireless efforts to secure a comprehensive and permanent ceasefire, as well as a negotiated political settlement in Yemen. I want to reiterate our strong support for his work. I also thank the Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mr Stephen O’Brien, for his briefing and his constant efforts to remind all of us about the humanitarian needs in Yemen – for telling us what we need to know, not necessarily what we want to hear.

Colleagues,

The people of Yemen are the ones bearing the brunt of the current conflict. No one has escaped from being affected, either directly or indirectly. Today’s reports of the deteriorating situation corresponds all too well with the haunting eyewitness accounts from a Swedish-Dutch humanitarian mission in October.  

The mission underlined the horrific impact of the crisis on not least children, women and the internally displaced. Their reports of the consequences for children are particularly chilling..

One of the children they met in a health centre was a four-year old boy suffering from severe acute malnutrition. He weighed just 7 kilos. Around a third of what a normal healthy boy his age should weigh.

He is not alone. UNICEF/ACF report 1.5 million children suffering from acute malnutrition, 370,000 of them severely. If we do not act now, a whole generation of Yemeni children will be lost.

Reports such as this one underline the need for all parties to respect international law and to urgently allow swift and unhindered humanitarian access.

Ensuring humanitarian access should include finding ways and mechanisms to reopen Sana’a airport for commercial flights, to provide Hodeida with the cranes needed to improve the capacity of the port, as well as providing humanitarian access to Taiz. 

Politically, our overarching priority must be a renewal of the cessation of hostilities agreement, followed by a resumption of peace talks. Convening the De-escalation Committee, with all parties present, is of course an important component of this process. 

That said, we must not lose sight of the importance of once again broadening the consultations. There should be a renewed effort to ensure that women are fully engaged in the peace negotiations. We must revive the inclusivity of the National Dialogue Conference, including with the so called Yemeni Women Agenda for Peace and Security (which I believe has been made available to Council Members) and their demand to support the peace efforts and inclusion of Yemeni women.

Thank you