The following Security Council press statement was issued today by Council President Jerry Matthews Matjila (South Africa):
The members of the Security Council condemned military escalation in Yemen, including in Marib, Hudaydah and Taïz, and called for engagement with the United Nations Mission to Support the Hudaydah Agreement’s (UNMHA) joint implementation mechanisms and implementation of the Global Ceasefire call detailed in resolution 2532 (2020). They strongly condemned the Houthi attack on oil facilities in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on 23 November. They reiterated their commitment to an inclusive Yemeni-led and Yemeni-owned political process as set out in the relevant United Nations resolutions, including resolution 2216 (2015), as well as by the Gulf Cooperation Council initiative and its implementation mechanism and the outcome of the National Dialogue Conference. They reaffirmed the international community’s firm commitment to uphold Yemen’s sovereignty, unity, independence, and territorial integrity. They called for the implementation of the Riyadh Agreement, and for Yemen’s parties to meet urgently under [Special Envoy for Yemen] Martin Griffiths’ auspices to bridge differences on the Joint Declaration. They highlighted the second anniversary of the Stockholm Agreement.
The members of the Security Council expressed alarm at the new Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) assessment, which shows that 16,500 people in Yemen are living in famine-like conditions and this is expected to triple by June 2021 even if current assistance levels remain constant. The IPC assessment shows that 13.5 million people are at risk of starvation and already facing acute food insecurity, and this figure could rise to at least 16 million by June 2021.
The members of the Security Council highlighted the Averting Famine in Yemen event in New York on 10 December, which focused international attention on the grave IPC data. They expressed alarm at the humanitarian community’s warning that it may have to stop programmes because of funding shortfalls.
The members of the Security Council called on all donors in the international community, including in the region, to step up urgently and save lives by disbursing outstanding pledges before the end of the year and making early and generous contributions in 2021 to prevent imminent United Nations programme closures. They noted the central role of ongoing conflict and economic collapse in driving famine risk and urged Yemen’s partners to consider all possible measures to strengthen the economy including further foreign exchange injections into the Central Bank. They recalled resolution 2511 (2020) that emphasized the importance of facilitating humanitarian assistance, and stressed the need for continued donor support for the operating environment of the humanitarian response in order to prevent enormous loss of life.
The members of the Security Council highlighted ongoing interference with humanitarian assistance operations, and the risk this posed to the lives of vulnerable people in need of assistance. While they took note of initial steps taken by the Houthis to address these problems, they stressed greater progress was imperative for enabling humanitarian organizations to continue delivering life‑saving assistance to millions of vulnerable people throughout Yemen. They called on all Yemeni parties to urgently facilitate full, safe and unhindered humanitarian access.
The members of the Security Council reiterated the need for all the parties to the conflict to comply with their obligations under international humanitarian law including those related to humanitarian access and the protection of civilian objects and civilians, and the protection of humanitarian and health personnel and their facilities. They reiterated the need to protect children, and welcomed the conclusions on Yemen from the Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict. They reiterated the need to protect women and persons with disabilities against all forms of violence. They underlined the need for parties to prevent human rights violations and abuses. They reiterated the urgency of a United Nations assessment and repair mission being conducted on the Safer tanker.