Statement by Ambassador Christoph Heusgen during the UN Security Council Meeting on Yemen, September 15, 2020

15.09.2020 - Speech

Check Against Delivery

I think we have never had a more somber briefing than we had today. I have hardly ever heard Martin [Griffiths], who is the eternal optimist, as down and frustrated as today. Mark [Lowcock], you described the humanitarian situation as very dramatic, and we must not get used to these kind of briefings.

On the political process, Germany expresses full support to what Martin [Griffiths] has been trying to do. We fully support your call upon the parties for a re-engagement into the political process. I would really commend you also for your approach to the involvement of women. This is key for us, as we believe that in order to be sustainable the Joint Declaration and the Riyadh Agreement processes must be inclusive and that the voices of women and marginalized groups have to feature in these processes. Germany supports the political process. We co-host together with Kuwait, Sweden and the United Kingdom a meeting of the foreign ministers of the P5 and the European Union on Thursday with the Secretary-General to see a way forward from the political impasse.

Let me just concentrate on the humanitarian situation. The violation of international humanitarian law and international human rights law by all parties is appalling. We heard about the harassment of aid workers, the blocking of food and fuel imports, and the closure of Sana'a Airport for humanitarian aid. How negative can one get? I appeal to the Iranians for once to do something positive and put pressure on the Houthis so that they allow humanitarian aid in, open the Sana'a airport, and finally allow for an assessment by the UN team of the SAFER tanker.

There continues to be sexual and gender-based violence. We continue to witness the repression of journalists, members of the judiciary and human rights activists. As I said, we continue to have ongoing airstrikes with disproportionate impact on civilians. I listened carefully to what Mark said: last month was the worst this year with regard to the killing of civilians.

On the humanitarian funding gap, there is, as Mark said very clearly, a serious risk of famine. Germany pledged 150 million dollars of humanitarian assistance in 2020 as part of our total financial engagement for Yemen of more than 360 million dollars in 2020. Of these funds, we have already disbursed more than 90 percent. Mark, I am just appalled by what you said: that members of the coalition, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, have not honored their pledges. How cynical can one be by promising money and then dashing hopes? Continuing to hold back is issuing a death penalty for civilians, to quote Mark.

So I would like to end my short intervention by appealing to those countries that have not honored their pledges to do so and urgently get the money to the humanitarian aid organizations, so that they can help the people of Yemen. Thank you very much.

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