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Statement by Ambassador Christoph Heusgen during the Security Council Meeting on Yemen, July 28

28.07.2020 - Speech

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We wanted to have the Council look at the situation on the ground in Yemen and listen to briefings from people on the ground. You may remember that when Germany had its last UNSC presidency in April 2019, we had a representative of civil society looking at the role of women in Yemen.

We heard today two statements that gave us a dire impression of the situation on the ground and the impact of the war on civil society. I would like to thank both Wafa'a and Raja for their statements. I think we were all deeply moved by these very two strong female voices. I think it's good to be confronted with the dire reality on the ground and hear concrete examples of the decisions that families have: to either buy medicine for a chronically ill member of the family, or to buy food; to let persons with disabilities stay behind, or join, slow down and endanger their fleeing families.

We hear about the hundreds of thousands of suffering and traumatized children. The image of a child walking past dead bodies of classmates on the streets after a bombing is what we are discussing. I share the view that it is deeply disappointing that we have not yet reached an agreement on a ceasefire between the parties. The joint declaration is not signed.

Martin Griffiths, an optimist, always jumps on the slightest opening when there is a glimmer of hope. I have never heard him as pessimistic as I did today. But Germany would like to encourage you to not give up. I find it deeply shocking to hear again about a stark increase of attacks by the Houthis on Saudi Arabia and coalition airstrikes on Sanaa over the past few weeks. Children were maimed, traumatized and even lost their lives. Let me recall that the UN Secretary-General, in his latest report on children and armed conflict, has stated his intention to re-list the coalition, should killings and mutilations of children not decrease this year.

International humanitarian law is not negotiable. All briefers told us about the humanitarian situation on the ground: there is no food, no medicine for millions of people, who don't know how they will survive the day. They all need support. We heard that the UN humanitarian response plan is highly underfunded. In particular, we need the countries in the region to provide funding and disburse it as soon as possible.

Two weeks ago, the Houthis gave confirmation that they would allow the UN inspection team to go and see FSO Safer. Here we sit two weeks later, and again, the Houthis have not delivered.

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