Note to Correspondents United Nations Mission to Support the Hudaydah Agreement (UNMHA)

Note to Correspondents

United Nations Mission to Support the Hudaydah Agreement (UNMHA)

 

Statement by the Chair of the Redeployment Coordination Committee on Unilateral Redeployment from the Ports of Hudaydah, Salif and Ras-Issa

10 May 2019 – Al-Hudaydah, Yemen

As the Yemeni parties continue to finalize modalities for a full redeployment in line with the Hudaydah Agreement, the Chair of the Redeployment Coordination Committee (RCC), Lt. Gen. Michael Lollesgaard, welcomes the offer and intention of theAnsar Allah (Houthis) to undertake an initial unilateral redeployment from the ports of Al-Hudaydah, Salif and Ras-Issa. The United Nations Mission to Support the Hudaydah Agreement (UNMHA) will monitor and report on this unilateral redeployment, which will commence on 11 May 2019 and be completed by 14 May 2019.

The RCC Chair notes that this is a first practical step on the ground since the conclusion of the Hudaydah Agreement, but stresses that it must be followed by the committed, transparent and sustained actions of the parties to fully deliver on their obligations. Furthermore, this unilateral redeployment should allow for establishing a UN leading role in supporting the Red Sea Ports Corporation in managing the ports, and for enhancing the UNVIM’s monitoring in accordance with the Agreement.

In this regard, the full implementation of the Hudaydah Agreement remains instrumental to ensuring effective humanitarian access into Yemen where millions continue to be in need of life-saving assistance. The Yemeni parties must continue to urgently work towards this goal, and all commitments made in Stockholm in December 2018. The United Nations will continue to support theparties’ in this regard so that they deliver on their obligations towards the Yemeni people and return peace and stability to their land.

THE SECRETARY-GENERAL — VIDEO MESSAGE ON WORLD PRESS FREEDOM DAY

3 May 2019

A free press is essential for peace, justice, sustainable development and human rights.

No democracy is complete without access to transparent and reliable information. It is the cornerstone for building fair and impartial institutions, holding leaders accountable and speaking truth to power.

This is especially true during election seasons — the focus of this year’s World Press Freedom Day.

Facts, not falsehoods, should guide people as they choose their representatives.

Yet while technology has transformed the ways in which we receive and share information, sometimes it is used to mislead public opinion or to fuel violence and hatred.

Civic space has been shrinking worldwide at an alarming rate.

And with anti-media rhetoric on the rise, so too are violence and harassment against journalists, including women.

I am deeply troubled by the growing number of attacks and the culture of impunity.

According to UNESCO, almost 100 journalists were killed in 2018.

Hundreds are imprisoned.

When media workers are targeted, societies as a whole pay a price.

On World Press Freedom Day, I call on all to defend the rights of journalists, whose efforts help us to build a better world for all.

Thank you.

Migrants Die While Detained in Inhumane Conditions in Yemen

2 May 2019 – Aden
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is alarmed by reports of migrants dying of preventable illnesses, being shot and suffering other inhumane treatment in makeshift detention centres in Yemen, now in its fifth year of conflict.

IOM is monitoring the conditions of some 5,000 migrants from the Horn of Africa held across three sites –-two sports stadiums and a military camp–in Yemen’s Aden, Lahj and Abyan governorates.

IOM learned yesterday (01/05) that at least eight migrants died from complications related to acute watery diarrhea (AWD) at the Ibn Khaldoon Hospital in Lahj governorate. Those migrants—predominantly Ethiopian—had been held at a military camp in Lahj where more than 1,400 people are detained. Authorities at the camp report they have detected at least 200 AWD cases. IOM is establishing a diarrhea treatment centre at Ibn Khaldoon Hospital, which is currently struggling to treat 53 AWD cases, including eight severe cases.

This morning, 14 migrants with signs of AWD were brought to Aden’s 22nd of May stadium where IOM is providing critical life saving assistance. IOM’s health team, who has carried out over 1,000 health consultations at the site since 26 April, acted fast to ensure the patients were evacuated to a nearby hospital.

In Geneva, Mohammed Abdiker, IOM’s Director of Operations and Emergencies said, “I am deeply saddened by the deaths of these eight migrants, who were among the thousands of migrants being held in deplorable conditions across Yemen. We have decried this policy to the authorities, urging them to take a humane approach to irregular migration.”

IOM’s team in Aden became aware of the mass arrest and detention of thousands of migrants on 21 April and their detention in cramped buildings, not fit for human inhabitation. Abdiker noted these migrants, “at best, have only limited access to basic services or protection.”

On Tuesday (30/04), guards fired on migrants detained at the Aden sports stadium, two of whom suffered gunshot wounds, leaving a teenage boy likely paralyzed for life. That, Abdiker said, “demonstrates the inability of authorities to care for the expanding detained population as well as the immediate need to have a dedicated civilian authority humanely managing these sites. Our teams could see that without ensuring immediate access to sufficient food, clean water, safe sanitation and medical attention, a catastrophe was waiting to unfold.”

Abdiker added: “IOM stands ready to support Yemen and other regional partners to identify sustainable responses to irregular migration, which do not involve the shortsighted abuse of vulnerable migrants and fully respects international law.”

“I am greatly concerned that this dire situation will further deteriorate,” he concluded. “Our team on the ground has been making strides with local advocacy among the different levels of government. However, it is time to see these words turned into action that puts an end to this abuse before more innocent lives are lost.”

For more information please contact Olivia Headon in Aden. Tel: +967 730 552 233. Email: Oheadon@iom.int

Meet the woman protecting women in Yemen

1 May 2019—SANA’A, Yemen 

Bushra was only 14 years old when her family arranged a child marriage to an older man, and a year later she became pregnant. She was a mother of six when her husband lost his job.

Suddenly the family could not make ends meet in war-torn Yemen, where the economy had collapsed.

At first she had to pull her kids out of school and teach them at home. Bushra worried about how to buy school supplies like books.

Months went by without her husband finding any work. The lack of income put severe stress on Bushra’s household. They could not afford anymore to pay the rent, water or electricity, as well as essential items such as food and clothing.

“I could not bear my life. We had nothing,” she said. “So I started to look for a solution for my family.”

Bushra purchased electronic metal detectors to equip five women with
the best available gear for the job. © UNFPA Yemen

During her search, Bushra came across books on the private security business, and on the origins of successful women entrepreneurs. She did more research online, and asked people with experience for advice.

 

Bushra then learned about Springboard, a UNFPA-supported programme funded by the governments of the Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland that aims to empower women by helping them create livelihoods for themselves in 30 countries, including Yemen.

 

She visited the office and pitched her idea for a women-run private security firm. Bushra was delighted when the organization agreed to provide her a grant to start her business and training to help run it. Springboard trainers help women identify their personal and professional goals, and support them to develop the skills they need to achieve those goals.

 

She spent the money on buying uniforms and other supplies like electronic metal detectors to equip five women with the best available gear for the job, and prepare them to become guards.

 

But she still had doubts.

 

“At first I hesitated. There was an internal frustrated voice telling that I me I would fail, that I should give up, that I would lose this money. That I would not succeed,” Bushra said. “However, I pressed on. I challenged myself. I told myself that I had to become something. I had to prove to the whole world that that yes, I can.”

 

Women protecting women

With the grant she received, Bushra managed to launch the first ever women-run security business in Yemen. Her team now helps protect women at weddings, big exhibitions and bazaars in a country where this job was until then only performed by men.

 

Launching the firm was no easy feat for Bushra, who had to fight to convince her own family about her plan.

Bushra’s female security guards help protect women at weddings, big
exhibitions and bazaars. © UNFPA Yemen

Her family argued that women should stay at home; women should not wear a military uniform, nor carry the same weapons used by men. Bushra’s family objected to her running her business while being a mother and housewife.

 

“The challenge was really big in terms of how I would be able to distribute my time between my family and my work,” she said.

 

Despite facing criticism from members of her community, Bushra insisted on opening her security office – and proved them all wrong.

 

Thanks to the private security business, Bushra enjoys a steady income and provides her family with clothing, food and drink. Helping women protect women in the end helped protect her own kids, too.

 

“Their lives have become better than before,” says Bushra. “Now my children live like the rest despite the general bad situation in Yemen.”

 

Bushra now looks forward to returning home everyday.

 

“When I finish my work and go to my house, everyone welcomes me with great joy. After I have succeeded, everyone is courting me and trying to be closer to me.”

 

 

Security Council Press Statement on Yemen 

17 April 2019 

The members of the Security Council expressed their grave concern that four months after the agreements reached by the Government of Yemen and the Houthis in Stockholm, those agreements have not yet been implemented. They reiterated their endorsement of the Stockholm Agreement, circulated as document S/2018/1134, and reiterated their call for it to be implemented without delay.

 

The members of the Security Council underlined their full support for the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen and the Chair of the Redeployment Coordination Committee (RCC) and welcomed their tireless efforts to support implementation of the Stockholm Agreement.

 

The members of the Security Council welcomed the agreement by the Government of Yemen and the Houthis to the Concept of Operations for Phase 1 of redeployments under the Hodeidah Agreement. They called on both parties to engage constructively with the Special Envoy and the Chair of the RCC to swiftly agree on local security force arrangements and the Concept of Operations for Phase 2 of redeployments. The members of the Security Council called on both parties to implement the redeployment plans as soon as possible and not seek to exploit the redeployment process. They reaffirmed their commitment to monitor the parties’ compliance with the redeployment plans.

 

The members of the Security Council noted that bureaucratic impediments, including at a local level, continued to hamper the UN’s ability to operate effectively in Hodeidah. They called on the parties to take all necessary steps to facilitate the unhindered and expeditious movement into and across Yemen of UN personnel, equipment, provisions and essential supplies, including by providing appropriate arrangements for the UNMHA ship, and to continue to ensure the security and safety of UN personnel, in accordance with resolution 2452 (2019).

 

The members of the Security Council noted with concern continued violence that risks undermining the ceasefire in Hodeidah and called on the parties to redouble efforts to finalise arrangements for the Prisoner Exchange Agreement and for the establishment of the Taiz Joint Coordination Committee. They also expressed concern about the recent escalation in violence elsewhere in Yemen, notably in Hajjah and on the Yemeni-Saudi border.

 

The members of the Security Council reiterated their concern about the continued deterioration of the humanitarian situation across Yemen and encouraged the international community to fully support the 2019 UN Humanitarian Response Plan. They welcomed the generous pledges made at the High-Level Pledging Event for the Humanitarian Crisis in Yemen in February, and called on all donors to disperse their pledged funds urgently. They further welcomed theannouncement by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates of a $200 million contribution to UN agencies in Yemen for humanitarian relief during the Holy Month of Ramadan.

 

The members of the Security Council reiterated their call on the parties to facilitate the rapid, safe and unhindered access for humanitarian personnel and supplies into and across all areas of Yemen, as well as the rapid and sustained access to humanitarian facilities, including food storage facilities and hospitals. They again stressed the urgent need for sustained UN access to the Red Sea Mills. They also called on the parties to facilitate the unhindered flow of commercial and humanitarian supplies into and throughout Yemen.

 

The members of the Security Council further reiterated their call on the parties to fulfil their obligations under international human rights law and international humanitarian law, including ensuring the protection of civilians. They expressed deep concern at the devastating impact this conflict has had on civilians, especially Yemeni children. They reminded all parties of their obligations towards children affected by armed conflictand called on them to engage constructively with the Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict in this regard and to implement their commitments and obligations.

 

The members of the Security Council recalled their request to the Secretary-General to report monthly on progress regarding the implementation of resolution 2452 (2018), including on any obstructions to the effective operation of UNMHA caused by any party; and on resolution 2451 (2018), including on any non-compliance by any party.

 

The members of the Security Council underlined the need for a comprehensive political settlement as the only way to end the conflict. They called on the parties to engage constructively with the Special Envoy in fulfilling their obligations agreed in Stockholm. They recognised the crucial peacebuilding role played by women in Yemen and reiterated their belief that a lasting solution can only be reached with the full participation of women and meaningful engagement of youth in the political process.

 

The members of the Security Council noted that the agreements reached in Stockholm are an important step in the process to end the conflict in Yemen. They called on the parties to renew their commitment to this process to reach a Yemeni-led comprehensive political settlement as set out in resolution 2216 (2015) and other relevant Security Council resolutions and presidential statements, as well as by the Gulf Cooperation Council initiative and its Implementation Mechanism and the outcomes of the National Dialogue Conference. They reaffirmed their strong commitment to the unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Yemen.

Clearing the way to a better life

4 April 2019

Since last September, 51,000 metric tonnes of wheat have remained, tucked away at the Red Sea Mills in the port city of Hodeida.  It is a painful irony.  Ten million Yemenis are on the brink of famine and starvation and this wheat could have fed 3.7 million people for an entire month.

Until last month, however, the Red Sea Mills were simply not accessible. Not only obstructed by conflict, the working area was littered with unexploded mortar and artillery rounds.  Even if they could have reached the site, workers would have risked their lives to do so.


Presence of mines and explosives

Since the start of conflict in 2015, explosives have presented a major challenge in Yemen.  According to the Civilian Impact Monitoring Report, landmines caused 233 civilian casualties, last year alone.

Aside from immediate physical danger, explosives obstruct emergency assistance – such as the delivery of food.  They also damage infrastructure necessary to service delivery, leaving the majority without access to clean water, basic health care or education. In fact, according to indicators on the Human Development Index, the past 20 years of development have effectively been reversed.

Today, there are thousands of landmines and remnants spread across the country, yet unexploded. Unless they are cleared and destroyed, Yemeni lives will be at risk for years to come.


UNDP mine action

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) works with the Yemeni Executive Mine Action Center (YEMAC) to clear explosives, while improving the skills and competence of national institutions to conduct demining exercises, without external assistance.

On 26 February 2019 – after six months and lengthy negotiations – the area near the Red Sea Mills became more accessible once again. Equally important is that, since mid-January, YEMAC teams had been working to clear more than 1,000 explosive remnants from the site so that workers could resume their work with confidence.

“We cannot prevent explosive contamination,” says YEMAC Site Supervisor, Abdulsalam Saeed. “But we can destroy it and remove the threat.”
Progress and next steps

To date, approximately 1,250 YEMAC staff have been trained, nationwide. The next steps will include raising additional funds, decentralizing coordination and procuring equipment to help YEMAC fully meet the International Mine Action Standards.

In the meantime, “YEMAC has demonstrated a high level of resourcefulness,” says Stephen Bryant, Chief Technical Advisor at UNDP’s Mine Action Project in Yemen.  “And they have achieved good results – even with limited resources and under the constant threat of artillery attack.”

Located close to conflict frontlines, the Red Sea Mills are subject to re-contamination.  However, YEMAC remains in the area, poised to conduct clearance operations and clear the way for business-as-usual.


Ultimately, the UNDP Mine Action Project will support the clearance of over 30 million square meters and destroy more than a million mines and other unexploded ordnance. The mine risk education activities of YEMAC and other partners will aim to reach over 12.5 million people and directly assist all those in need with various aid. An estimated 15 million people throughout Yemen will benefit.

THE SECRETARY-GENERAL — REMARKS TO THE SUMMIT OF THE LEAGUE OF ARAB STATES

Tunis, 31 March 2019

Monsieur le Président, merci infiniment pour l’invitation. Je remercie le peuple tunisien de son hospitalité.

Your Majesties,

Your Royal Highnesses,

Excellencies,

As salaam alaikum.

I am here to further deepen the relationship between the United Nations, the League of Arab States and the peoples of the Arab world.

North Africa and the Middle East are home to remarkable dynamism and potential. It is a region long-striving to build peace and prosperity. I believe it is vital for this regionto assume that destiny.

The United Nations has no other agenda than to support those aspirations in a spirit of solidarity and unity.

And I am also here as someone with deep appreciation for the profound contributions of the Arab world to global civilization.

Our world is forever indebted to the enormous creativity and influence of Arab culture over the centuries.

From the ancient House of Wisdom (Bayt al-Hikma) in Baghdad, to the intellectual riches of Córdoba, and reaching as far as the medieval centres of learning in Timbuktu, the Arab world helped to ensure the flow of ideas and scholarship, preserved vital texts and opened the door to a world of epic discoveries and possibilities.

Indeed, we see it from the arts to architecture – from medicine to mathematics – from philosophy to astronomy.

My admiration is not just rooted in history. It is also grounded in my experience as UN High Commissioner for Refugees, where I witnessed so many Arab countries extending remarkable hospitality to wave upon wave of refugees in a context where, unfortunately, many other borders were closing.

As Secretary-General, we have been working closely together to advance the key role of the Arab world and the role it can play and must play today in the face of turbulent winds.

The citizens of the Arab World have watched carefully the devastating images of the wars in Yemen and Syria, the rise and fall of Daesh and the persistent denial of the right to self-determination for the Palestinian people.

I strongly appeal for the unity of the Arab world as a fundamental condition for peace and prosperity in the region, and to avoid leaving the region vulnerable to interferenceby foreign parties with destabilizing effects.

As it is the case elsewhere, we know that regional visions rooted in cooperation, respect and mutual interest have the best chance of success.

We need to mobilize our efforts to untangle the Gordian knot of insecurity, allow no space for sectarianism, and deliver the peace, stability and effective, responsive governance that the people of the region deserve.

Across the region, we also see growing demands to create jobs and economic opportunities, to uphold human rights, advance gender equality and women’s empowerment and promote the rule-of law, diversity, fundamental freedoms and democratic values.

Allow me to touch upon several current developments and situations in the region which could benefit from a comprehensive regional approach.

The first imperative must be the two-State solution, for Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace within secure and recognized borders, and with Jerusalem as capital of both States, as I have always emphasized.

There is no Plan B. Without two states, there is no solution.

The ongoing violence in Gaza is a tragic reminder of the fragility of the situation.

Thank you for your critical support for the vital role of UNRWA – I appeal for your continued strong assistance.

Together, we are making progress towards bringing the suffering in Yemen to an end.

Following last December’s breakthrough in Stockholm, we continue to work closely with the parties to achieve progress towards the redeployment of forces in Hudaydah and theopening of humanitarian corridors on the way to a political solution for Yemen.

And thanks to generous pledges from you and others, we have raised $2.6 billion of the $4 billion needed to ensure that humanitarian operations in Yemen for them to be sustained and scaled up throughout 2019.

And I strongly appeal to all donors here and in other parts of the world due to the dramatic impact of hunger, cholera and the suffering of the population, in a moment in which humanitarian agencies are running out of cash, to expedite the pledges that were made in order to be able to respond to the dramatic needs of the Yemeni population.

In Libya, I am encouraged by recent progress towards building political consensus for convening the National Conference.

I am hopeful that further progress can be achieved with a Libyan-led and Libyan-owned political process with the support of the international community within the framework of the UN Action Plan and the roadmap established with other partners and other regional organizations here with us.

It is high time that Libya achieves unified institutions and concludes the transitional stages in line with the objective to reach, at the right moment, general elections.

In Syria, millions of Syrians remain displaced and in need, tens of thousands are arbitrarily detained, and the risk of an even deeper humanitarian catastrophe still looms,in particular in northern Syria. We must keep working to forge a political path to a sustainable peace in which all Syrians are heard, grievances are addressed, and needs are met.

Any resolution of the Syrian conflict must guarantee the unity, the territorial integrity of Syria, including the occupied Golan.

My new Special Envoy has outlined priorities toward establishing an inclusive and credible political solution, based on Security Council Resolution 2254 in its entirety, including the convening of a constitutional committee credible, inclusive, and balanced.

The full support of the international community, and especially of the League of Arab States and its membership, will be essential.

Your Majesties,

Your Royal Highnesses,

Excellencies,

The Arab Region and its people have made enormous sacrifices to fight terrorism – and have paid the highest price for this.

The United Nations is stepping up support for the efforts of the Arab States in this struggle – including through an agreement to develop an Arab Regional Counter TerrorismStrategy in line with the UN.

These, and other efforts by the League of Arab States, help open the door for Arab solutions to Arab problems.

We welcome that. I am pleased that we will soon open a new Liaison Office to the League of Arab States in Cairo to help us best support you.

This includes working together to build on the significant progress in Iraq with support, full support, to help consolidate gains, particularly in relations to the institutions of the country, to improve basic services, create jobs and diversify the economy, and foster quality education for all Iraqis that deserve it and that have made considerable progress in the recent past.

In Lebanon, the formation of the Government in January provides a critical opportunity to address challenges to stability, in line with the road map of the 2018 international support conferences and for the benefit of the whole country.

In Algeria, I welcome the efforts towards a peaceful and democratic transition process to address the concerns of the Algerian people in a timely way.

In Somalia, it is important to recognize progress in economic stabilization, and to stand united behind Somalia’s efforts and collective work to promote an inclusive political dialogue and invest in Somalia’s economic recovery.

Finally, I want to add my gratitude to many of you who continue providing generous political and financial support to the United Nations, an invaluable tool for our conflictprevention and resolution activities.

Let us work ever closer together to unleash the full potential of this vital region, respond to the aspirations of the youth and build a better future for all.

Shukran.

THE SECRETARY- GENERAL — MESSAGE ON WORLD WATER DAY

22 March 2019

Water is vital for survival and, alongside sanitation, helps protect public and environmental health. Our bodies, our cities and our industries, our agriculture and our ecosystems all depend on it.

Water is a human right. Nobody should be denied access. This World Water Day is about upholding this right for all, leaving no one behind.

Today, 2.1 billion people live without safe water due to factors such as economic status, gender, ethnicity, religion and age. Growing demands, coupled with poor management, have increased water stress in many parts of the world. Climate change is adding dramatically to the pressure. By 2030, an estimated 700 million people worldwide could be displaced by intense water scarcity.

We must encourage cooperation to tackle the global water crisis and strengthen our resilience to the effects of climate change to ensure access to water for all, especially for the most vulnerable. These are vital steps towards a more peaceful and prosperous future. As we strive to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, we must value water resources and ensure their inclusive management if we are to protect and use this vital resource sustainably for the benefit of all people.

THE SECRETARY-GENERAL — MESSAGE ON INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR THE ELIMINATION OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION

21 March 2019

The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is an occasion for all of us to renew our promise to end racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, anti-Semitism and anti-Muslim hatred.  The recent massacre at two mosques in New Zealand is the latest tragedy rooted in such poison.  

No country or community is immune from racial and religious hatred and the terrorism of bigots.  I am deeply alarmed by the current rise of xenophobia, racism and intolerance.  Hate speech is entering the mainstream, spreading like wildfire through social media and radio.  It is spreading in liberal democracies and authoritarian States alike.  

These dark forces menace democratic values, social stability and peace.  When people are attacked, physically, verbally or on social media because of their race, religion or ethnicity, all of society is diminished.  It is crucial for us all to join hands, stand up and defend the principles of equality and human dignity.  

We must all work harder to repair the fissures and polarization that are so prevalent in our societies today.  We must nurture mutual understanding and invest in making diversity a success.  And we must counter and reject political figures who exploit differences for electoral gain.

We must also ask why so many people feel excluded and tempted by messages of intolerance against others.  We need to engage everyone in dismantling the harmful and specious notion of racial superiority.  Even today, decades after the pseudo-science of the Nazis contributed to the Holocaust, the world is seeing the persistence – and even a surge – of neo-Nazi thinking and white supremacy.  We must bury such lies once and for all.

Today let us all resolve to fight racism and discrimination wherever it occurs.  Let us reflect on how we can promote non-discrimination in every country and at every level.  We are all connected by our humanity.  We are all equal.  We should all be looking out for each other’s welfare.

Statement by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet 40th session of the Human Rights Council

20 March 2019

Excellencies,

I turn now to the human rights situation in Yemen. The ongoing mediation efforts by the Special Envoy have established a fragile ceasefire in the city of Hodeidah, and the ports of Hodeidah, Salif and Ras Issa. Despite challenges, this ceasefire currently remains in force, and together with a number of small steps regarding prisoner exchanges, renewed access to the Red Sea Mills storage facilities in Hodeidah and the deployment of the UN mission to support the Hodeidah Agreement, this presents a glimmer of hope for further improvements.

But there remains a long way to go. While the situation in Hodeidah is important, the equally dire human rights situation in the rest of the country also merits attention. Despite the efforts of our humanitarian colleagues, Yemeni civilians, including children, are now more vulnerable and hungrier than at any time since March 2015.
More than 24 million people need aid; 14.3 million people are in acute need of aid. Over 2 million children are suffering from acute malnutrition in Yemen, including 360,000 from severe acute malnutrition.

People in vulnerable situations – including many women and children, particularly those who have been displaced – are at high risk of being subjected to trafficking, forced marriage and sexual violence and exploitation.

Basic resources have become a luxury that few can afford. Salaries of teachers, doctors, nurses and other public employees have gone unpaid for years. Some of these public employees have been able to survive and provide lifelines to patients through limited incentive payments provided by United Nations agencies on the ground. The non-payment of teachers’ salaries in 10,000 schools since 2016 – almost two-thirds of schools, in 11 governorates — has further restricted access to education for 3.7 million children.

The number of health facilities, and the quality of services have fallen, while incidences of preventable diseases are on the rise. It is estimated that nearly 300 health facilities have been damaged or destroyed, and less than half of the remaining health facilities are fully functioning. Those facilities face acute shortages of medicine, equipment, and staff.

Some 19.7 million Yemenis lack access to basic health services. Non-communicable diseases are killing more people than bullets and bombs. The continuing closure of Sana’a airport, and lack of access to medical facilities outside the country, for patients in need of care, exacerbates this situation.

Meanwhile, periodic airstrikes, shelling and landmines continue to kill and maim civilians across the country. Since the Stockholm agreement on 13 December 2018, it is estimated that eight children have been killed or injured in Yemen every day. Nearly 1.2 million children continue to live in 31 active conflict zones witnessing heavy, war-related violence, including Taizz, Hajjah and Sa’da.

I am particularly concerned about the recent escalation of hostilities in Hajjah governorate, and the reported killing and injury of civilians, and destruction of homes, earlier this month. Preliminary reports indicate that 22 people have died, including 12 children and 10 women, and 30 people, including 14 children, were injured. We have received unconfirmed reports of thousands of families internally displaced in Hajjah governorate.

I remain deeply concerned at reports that the Government, coalition-backed forces and Houthi forces all continue to conscript or enlist children into armed forces or groups, and have used them as active participants in hostilities. In most cases, the children are between 11 and 17 years old, but there have been consistent reports of the recruitment or use of children as young as eight years old.

Parties to the conflict have also subjected countless civilians to arbitrary detention or enforced disappearances. So far, there has been little meaningful accountability for the human rights violations and abuses and violations of international humanitarian law committed by all parties to the conflict — and no possibility of remedy and reparations for the victims. These are essential elements of any durable and just peace, and must not be viewed as an afterthought. I urge all parties to the conflict to take heed of the recommendation made last year by the Group of Eminent Experts on Yemen.

I also urge all parties to the conflict to remove restrictions on the entry into Yemen of humanitarian supplies and other goods indispensable to the civilian population. I take this opportunity to reiterate that the Geneva Conventions – which were drawn up 70 years ago — stipulate that all States, including those not involved in the armed conflict, have the obligation to take measures to ensure that parties to a conflict respect the Conventions. Conditioning, limiting or refusing arms transfers is one such measure.

In September, the Group of Eminent Experts on Yemen will present their second written report to me, and I encourage full cooperation by all relevant stakeholders, with unrestricted access to the country so they can fulfil their mandate.

Pursuant to resolutions 39/16 and 39/21, my Office continues to provide capacity building and technical assistance to the Yemeni National Commission of Inquiry to complete its investigatory work, and to ensure that it investigates allegations of violations and abuses committed by all parties in Yemen, in line with international standards.

Thank you Mr President