Remarks by Ambassador Heusgen during the Security Council VTC Meeting on Yemen, April 16, 2020

16.04.2020 - Speech

Check Against Delivery

Last week, we all remember we had a very good debate under Dominican Republic’s leadership about the response of the Security Council to the Secretary-General's call for a global ceasefire. And we believe this humanitarian ceasefire is most urgently needed. It's needed everywhere, but most urgently needed in Yemen. And therefore, I would also appeal to colleagues to now work very hard so that we get the resolution with regard to the support of the humanitarian ceasefire called for by the Secretary-General to get this on the table and adopt it. Because, as I said, Yemen and other places are the most prominent places where we have already this enormous suffering of the people, of the civilians. We all know about and we heard, again, the suffering of women and children in particular. Thousands of children have died in Yemen because of the conflict. So therefore, we need the general humanitarian ceasefire, but we specifically need it in Yemen.

I also add my voice to those who have welcomed that one of the parties that was also responsible for escalation in the past, Saudi Arabia, has agreed to a humanitarian ceasefire. And I find it appalling that the Houthis have not echoed this and have not done likewise. As a result, we are witnessing, again, a resurgence of heavy fighting in the country. We have, again, suffering of the people all against the backdrop of the first confirmed case of Coronavirus.

So we fully support the de-escalation initiative of Martin Griffiths and we urge parties to follow what Martin is trying to do in his virtual meetings. We can only support him and urge parties to actually then come to a conclusion on the three tracks, have these proposals tabled, confirmed and published to have this as quickly as possible.

I also want to echo those who asked for the respect of international humanitarian law. This has been a longstanding problem in Yemen, but the parties, in particular the Houthis, who don't implement humanitarian law, they don't allow humanitarian aid workers to go to those who are most affected. I really find it appalling that all sides, also the government side, are very slow in lifting restrictions to humanitarian aid and don't give the agreement so many projects that have been prepared and wait to be implemented.

I appreciate what OCHA is doing. I would like to highlight the work of  aid workers who continue their work under the dire circumstances in the face of the threat of the Coronavirus despite being harassed by many. I find it unacceptable that the parties don't allow aid workers to do their job.

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