Statement by Ambassador Sven Jürgenson at UNSC meeting on Middle East

I thank Special Envoy Grundberg and Acting Assistant Secretary-General Rajasingham for their briefings. I also thank Ms Maysaa Shuja Addin for her insightful statement.

Estonia remains deeply concerned about the ongoing hostilities in Yemen, which have once again intensified during the recent weeks, causing more and more suffering for the people of Yemen. As reported by UN, another 10 000 people in Marib have been displaced in the past month – a highest monthly number during this year.

The civilian casualties have reportedly once more reached high levels in September. We call on all parties to immediately put an end to hostilities, including the Houthis’ assault on Marib. We strongly condemn the repeated cross-border attacks by Houthis against Saudi Arabia, including the recent attacks to Abha and Jizan Airports, where several civilians were injured. All parties must refrain from indiscriminate attacks against civilian objects, as they are a violation of international humanitarian law.

The people of Yemen have suffered enough. It is time for the Government of Yemen and the Houthis to engage constructively with the Special Envoy and to agree to a sustainable ceasefire, accompanied by an inclusive political process, with the participation of women and youth. We appreciate highly all international and regional efforts in support of this.

The situation in the Southern Governorates remains also distressingly fragile, as reminded by the recent clashes near Aden with several civilian casualties. We urge the Government of Yemen and the Southern Transitional Council to resume the implementation of the Riyadh agreement, which is in the interest of the Yemeni people and an essential element in the path towards wider peace.

Mr President, Estonia was deeply disappointed by the vote at the UN Human Rights Council on 7 October, which failed to extend the mandate of the Group of Eminent Experts. During the past four years, the Group has done an extremely important work on monitoring the human rights situation in Yemen. It is in the interest of the people of Yemen that accountability for human rights violations and abuses is ensured.

Estonia remains deeply concerned about the continued reports of human rights violations and abuses by all parties to the conflict, including sexual violence and recruitment and use of children. The latest report of the Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict in Yemen demonstrates the harsh reality that the armed conflict continues to cause atrocities and immense suffering to children in Yemen. More than 8 500 grave violations against children were recorded during the years 2019 and 2020.

Furthermore, the conflict continues to exacerbate the humanitarian situation. We call upon the parties to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid and to agree on the import of fuel and commercial imports through Hodeidah port.

Finally, we repeat our call on the Houthis to allow urgent action to be taken on the SAFER oil tanker, in order to avoid an environmental and economic disaster.