We the undersigned organisations welcome the action taken by the UN Security Council on 15 June 2017 on the situation in Yemen through its release of a Presidential Statement. This is a critical step towards addressing the ongoing humanitarian crisis, protection of civilians and breaking the deadlock in political negotiations. However, more must be done.
We welcome the Statement’s call for a durable cessation of hostilities, efforts to improve the access, capacity and safety of Yemen’s ports, including the vital installation of cranes into Hodeida, and increased access via Sana’a Airport. This long-overdue leadership from the Council will be vital in offering hope to the millions of Yemeni civilians facing the triple horrors of hunger, cholera and violence, and we urge all parties to the conflict to heed the Council’s calls to end the violence, improve humanitarian and commercial access, resume the payment of government salaries and re-engage in good faith in peace talks.
However, the Statement falls short of addressing issues that could offer the peace process real political impetus. It does not address the crucial contextual issues, including the worsening economy, a lack of accountability in respect of international humanitarian and human rights law and the ongoing impediments to humanitarian and commercial goods access into and within Yemen, including the closure of Sana’a International Airport and delays at key ports. Furthermore, we note with concern that UNSC members are highlighting this man-made crisis whilst continuing to supply the weapons that fuel the conflict, and reiterate our call for the immediate suspension of all sales of arms that are at risk of being used in the conflict in Yemen.
The Council must now set a clear timeframe for implementation, including convening an additional meeting within one month to assess progress and work to ensure all measures are fully implemented, while continuing its work towards the adoption of a new Security Council Resolution.
The Presidential Statement is a welcome small step towards addressing the worsening man-made humanitarian crisis, which can only be done through a political solution. This cannot be a one-off; Council members must build on this work and continue the momentum at the UN Security Council.
Words must now be turned into action. The people of Yemen cannot wait any longer for these measures to be implemented.