I am extremely concerned about the current situation in Yemen, in particular as the humanitarian crisis continues to deteriorate. The war has entered into its third year, the political process has stalled, and fighting is continuing, with increasingly devastating consequences for the civilian population. Meanwhile, the country is on the brink of famine and is facing the world’s fastest-growing cholera epidemic. EU Foreign Ministers last discussed the situation in Yemen at the Foreign Affairs Council in April. The Council called on the parties to start negotiating a peace agreement, and committed to increasing its engagement with Yemen once a political solution to the conflict is agreed. The EU is the largest humanitarian donor to Yemen and has provided over €170 million in humanitarian aid since the conflict began, to which Ireland contributes via the EU Development Budget. Ireland has also worked in the UN system to address the human rights situation in Yemen. At the Human Rights Council in September 2017, Ireland was part of a small core group of countries that drove forward the adoption of a Resolution on Yemen. This Resolution established a group of international experts to examine allegations of human rights violations of human rights during the conflict, and to report back to the UN Human Rights Council next year. This investigation is an important step towards accountability in Yemen, and will help establish the facts in relation to violations of human rights and humanitarian law on the ground.
Although Ireland has diplomatic relations with Yemen, there is no resident Embassy in Dublin to allow for regular contact. However, Ireland has shown support for the Yemeni people through our significant contributions of humanitarian aid, amounting to over €10 million since the conflict began in 2015. This includes humanitarian funding of €4 million announced by Minister of State McHugh at the High-Level Pledging Event for the Humanitarian Crisis in Yemen, held in Geneva in April 2017. Ireland is the sixth largest contributor to the UN Humanitarian Fund for Yemen since the outbreak of the conflict.
There can be no military solution to the conflict in Yemen. The only way to improve the situation for the Yemeni people is through peaceful resolution of the conflict. Ireland supports the efforts of UN Special Envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed and his team, who are working towards a peace agreement that is acceptable to all parties to the conflict.