Norway would like to start by thanking the briefers. We join Council members in welcoming Mr. Griffiths back, now in his new capacity as head of OCHA. And a special thanks to Fore from UNICEF for her remarks. Indeed, children are the main victims of war, and we thank UNICEF, as well as Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict Gamba in her briefing last month to the 2140 committee, for bringing attention to the war’s horrific toll on children.
The United Nations has long characterized Yemen as the world’s worst man-made humanitarian crisis. There is an urgent need for a nationwide ceasefire.
A ceasefire would allow for:
· Much needed humanitarian relief,
· The opening of roads to many parts of the country.
· And, children to safely go to school.
We are, therefore, concerned about the offensive continuing in the area around Marib and other parts of Yemen, worsening the already dire humanitarian situation. We continue to be worried about the increasing tensions in the South and lack of cooperation in accordance with the Riyadh agreement. Rivalry and fragmentation, whether in the South or on the West Coast, only derail efforts of securing peace and stability.
It is clear that humanitarian needs are immense. Restrictions on imports through Hudaydah port continues, contributing to severe fuel shortages and price increases. And restrictions on freedom of movement across the country and bureaucratic impediments are a real challenge for people in need of humanitarian aid and basic services. Despite the difficulties, I am glad to hear from OCHA that UN is delivering aid to all the provinces.
Norway is also concerned by reports from WHO of incidents of attacks on health care workers and patients. Protecting the health, welfare and lives of health care workers on the frontline is critical to enabling a better humanitarian response. Additionally, camps for the growing population of internally displaced persons lack basic infrastructure and services. According to Save the Children, nine out of ten children in displaced camps do not have sufficient access to basics like food, clean water, and education.
Overall, we call on all actors to ensure safe, and unhindered, humanitarian access immediately.
We welcome the appointment of Hans Grundberg as the new Special Envoy and hope that he can push forward towards much-needed progress. Grundberg has Norway’s full support, and we look forward to working with him. We would also like to once again stress the need for progress on the Safer oil tanker issue and urge the Houthis to engage constructively with the UN and others to avoid an environmental and humanitarian catastrophe.
Norway will also continue to advocate for an inclusive political process, which prioritizes the full, equal, and meaningful participation and leadership of women. Indeed, participation should not be limited to those who resort to violence. The process must be Yemeni-owned and Yemeni-led, with regional actors and diverse Yemeni actors also playing a key role.
Only a political solution can bring about lasting peace and prosperity in Yemen.