Netherlands working in Security Council to help people of Yemen

Under the Netherlands’ presidency, the UN Security Council has spoken out about the humanitarian crisis in Yemen. ‘By doing so,’ says foreign minister Stef Blok, ‘the Security Council has laid the basis for ensuring that all humanitarian and commercial goods have full and ongoing access to Yemen’s ports.’

Yemen is facing one of the biggest humanitarian crises of the year. The Netherlands has had a seat in the Security Council since 1 January, and the government has been working hard to raise the issue of Yemen. In a statement, the Security Council has prioritised the need to improve the humanitarian situation in Yemen. That is an important step towards a peaceful solution. The Council calls on all sides to respect international humanitarian law. It also highlights the importance of justice in Yemen.

Last autumn the coalition led by Saudi Arabia imposed strict import restrictions that hit the Yemeni people hard. The international coalition has recently taken positive steps, such as temporarily lifting the blockade and pledging USD 1 billion in humanitarian aid for Yemen. The Netherlands welcomes these moves, but the blockade needs to be fully and permanently lifted to ensure that all the necessary food can reach Yemen.

The Security Council notes that the humanitarian situation will continue to worsen as long as no peace deal is struck. It again calls on all sides to drop their preconditions for talks. ‘This humanitarian statement also strengthens the position of the new UN envoy for Yemen,’ says Mr Blok. ‘The envoy will now explore how to get all the parties round the table so that a ceasefire can be agreed. We have expressed our support for him in the Security Council.’

Thanks to the Netherlands efforts in the Human Rights Council in September 2017, a group of experts was set up that has started investigating violations of international humanitarian law by all sides.