The UK Government is in a uniquely powerful position to help stop the war in Yemen.
The UK is the ‘pen holder’ on Yemen at the UN Security Council. That means the UK Ambassador to the UN, Karen Pierce, has the authority to lead the Council’s response to the crisis, and can lead the way in forging a political solution to the conflict.
For too long, the UK has not gone far enough using these powers. UK aid has saved countless lives in Yemen. But the UK Government has also provided political support and sold billions of pounds worth of weapons to several of the main parties to the fighting, helping to fuel the conflict.
At the end of 2018 the different sides struck a deal in Stockholm agreeing to a ceasefire in the key port city of Hodeidah. This has given the first glimmer of hope in years that an end to the war could be possible.
The UK played a pivotal role, and followed this up with action at the Security Council, using their powers to put forward a new resolution that can help turn the Stockholm Agreement into reality on the ground.
For the sake of Yemen’s children, this welcome action by the Security Council must continue. The UK must continue to use the power of their pen to turn political promises into practical change.
Send a pen to the Government, and ask them to use it for peace!
Together, we can show that words, not weapons, will bring peace to Yemen.
The new resolution is a hopeful start to securing peace. Now implementation of the agreement, and addressing the humanitarian crisis, are the two core imperatives going forward.
The UK must use its powers at the UN to:
1. Ensure implementation of the Stockholm Agreement. This includes sustained pressure on parties to implement all aspects of the peace agreement, and support to the UN to conduct their role in monitoring and facilitation of the agreement;
2. Call on parties to engage constructively in the ongoing peace process, and to work with the UN Special Envoy in good faith, without preconditions;
3. Ensure parties to the conflict take tangible steps to address the country’s humanitarian crisis, including supporting the work of the UN Relief Chief Mark Lowcock, and delivering his five recommendations to prevent famine;
4. Ensure humanitarian access so that aid and commercial goods, including food, medicine, and fuel, gets into and across the country, to everyone that needs them; and
5. Demand that all parties abide by their obligations under international law, including the protection of children and civilians more broadly. Where there are alleged violations of international law, call for independent investigations and ensure anyone found guilty are held accountable for their crimes.