Madam President,

I would like to thank our two speakers for their briefings and for their tireless efforts - including the recent visits by the Special Envoy - to promote peace and protect civilians in Yemen. I would also like to welcome the Representative of Yemen here, at the Council.

We have heard it, at the beginning of this year, Yemen once again finds itself at a crossroads. While hopes for a peaceful settlement remain, recent regional dynamics have led to additional risks. We all know that regional de-escalation would have a positive effect on Yemen and, similarly, a lasting peace in Yemen would have a stabilizing effect on the region, including security in the Red Sea. This is why it is essential to preserve the gains of the current discussions. The parties must commit themselves fully to an inclusive process under the aegis of the United Nations. In this respect, without a sustained commitment from all players, including the significant participation of women, the peace proposals will lack perspective and won’t be able to ensure lasting security in the country. As Yasmeen al-Eryani of the Sana'a Center told this Council last May, "women, young people and all segments of Yemeni society are fully capable of rebuilding the country and shaping its future".

Furthermore, Switzerland calls on all parties to exercise caution and restraint, as well as strict respect for international law, and to redouble their diplomatic efforts to this end. Any further deterioration in the situation will have devastating human and economic consequences. We have seen it for ourselves: the last decade of war has had a major impact on many sectors of Yemeni society, particularly education. Yemeni civil society has told us quite clearly that millions of children now carry guns instead of schoolbags. This situation is unacceptable. This is why we are calling on all parties to implement their action plans to put an end to and prevent serious violations against children. 

Madam President,

With regard to the humanitarian situation, Switzerland recalls that the parties are obliged under international humanitarian law (IHL) to authorize and facilitate the rapid, safe and unimpeded delivery of humanitarian aid. In this respect, as we regularly emphasize, humanitarian personnel are protected by IHL and must be able to work regardless of any question of nationality. Switzerland salutes the commitment of these men and women who work in one of the most difficult environments in the world. Their commitment makes it possible to provide vital aid to millions of people. As OCHA's Director of Operations and Advocacy pointed out, this aid is essential, particularly given the particularly alarming level of food insecurity in Yemen. 

The Yemeni population is caught up in successive and cumulative crises, climate change being one of the most serious. Combined with the conflict, the increase in natural disasters is forcing people to move, exacerbating the ongoing humanitarian crisis. This is why it is necessary not only to step up humanitarian aid, but also to strengthen early warning systems. Finally, the structural shortage of water resources needs to be tackled: in particular, this requires political measures that are sensitive to water-related challenges in order to prevent future water-related conflicts.

Madam President, 

This Council and the countries of the region must redouble their efforts to contribute to an environment conducive to peace talks and to respond to growing humanitarian needs. In this context, Switzerland would like to reaffirm its full support for Special Envoy Hans Grundberg. The Yemeni people can wait no longer.

Thank you.