The Latest: Rights group praises UN Yemen action
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The Latest on Security Council vote authorizing deployment of U.N. monitors (all times local):
The International Rescue Committee says the U.N. Security Council has at last taken “a much needed step” to respond to Yemen’s humanitarian disaster and growing international desire to end the three-year war.
The IRC’s Yemen country director welcomed Friday’s resolution authorizing the U.N. to deploy monitors to observe implementation of a Dec. 13 agreement between Yemen’s government and Houthi Shiite rebels at the key port of Hodeida and the withdrawal of rival forces from the surrounding area.
Frank Mc Manus said that, “With more than 20 million Yemenis facing severe hunger, and 10 million on the brink of famine, it is imperative the agreements reached in Sweden are implemented effective immediately.”
McManus said improved access for humanitarian aid and workers, the opening of all ports and airports and the payment of vital public sector workers which the U.N. resolution calls for “will save lives and can avert a full-fledge famine.”
Human Rights Watch says the U.N. resolution authorizing the United Nations to monitor Yemen’s cease-fire “sends an important message to the suffering people of Yemen that they haven’t been forgotten.”
The U.N. director at the rights group says the new U.N. monitoring team “should publicly report all laws-of-war violations in Yemen, including hampering the delivery of aid.”
Louis Charbonneau complained the measure approved Friday “brushed aside calls for accountability.” He said: “The council should consider imposing targeted sanctions on the worst violators — including senior Saudi, Emirati and Houthi officials.”
Charbonneau said permanent Security Council mmbers who “have helped shield the Saudi-led coalition from pressure and still sell them weapons … should stop immediately.”
Sweden’s U.N. Ambassador Olof Skoog says the breakthrough agreement reached by Yemen’s government and Houthi Shiite rebels in Stockholm “is truly meaningful only once it produces tangible results for the Yemeni people.”
He spoke at the U.N. Security Council after it voted unanimously to authorize U.N. monitors to observe and report on implementation of the cease-fire in the key port of Hodeida and withdrawal of rival forces from the surrounding area.
Skoog said “the U.N. has a key role in working with the parties to ensure that the cease-fire is upheld and the ports and roads can remain open for provisions to enter the country.”
“Sweden stands ready to participate in the U.N. presence that will be established in Hodeida,” he said.
Skoog said the Security Council resolution doesn’t address all issues in Yemen’s “multifaceted crises” but implementation of the Stockholm agreement “will provide much needed steps in that direction.”
He stressed that it will also have “direct and positive humanitarian impact for the people of Yemen,” who face the world’s worst humanitarian crisis and are on the brink of starvation.
The Security Council has voted unanimously to authorize the deployment of U.N. monitors to observe the implementation of a cease-fire in Yemen’s key port of Hodeida and the withdrawal of rival forces from that area.
The limited cease-fire and pullout, if implemented, could offer a potential breakthrough in the four-year civil war that has brought civilians in the Arab world’s poorest country to the brink of starvation.
The U.N. envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, had urged rapid deployment of U.N. monitors as “an essential part of the confidence” needed to help implement the Dec. 13 cease-fire agreement between Yemen’s government and Houthi Shiite rebels reached in Stockholm, Sweden.
Britain’s U.N. Ambassador Karen Pierce praised the council’s unanimous support Friday “on this very important issue that affects so many millions of citizens in Yemen today.”