SANAA, If the world has looked the other way during Yemen's 'forgotten war', the role of the UN Security Council in authorizing the actions of the Saudis and their allies has also escaped public attention.

The Saudi-led coalition has invoked this resolution as authorizing the blockade of Yemen's ports and a major airport, as well as inspections well beyond any legitimate concerns about weapons, all this has delayed the delivery of humanitarian goods, contributing to severe shortages of food and other critical needs.

The coalition has also failed to comply with the resolution's (very modest) requirements for monitoring and reporting; and the Security Council has done little to clarify the resolution's scope or intent, or address the Saudis' failure to comply with it.

UN reports have called the Saudi naval intervention 'de facto blockades'. Before the civil war, Yemen had relied on imports for 90% of its food, medical supplies and fuel; so these blockades have had a catastrophic impact, causing delays in the delivery of food, fuel and critical humanitarian supplies. By June 2015, imports had dropped by 85%. Only one-tenth of the fuel needed each month was able to get through the coalition blockade of the ports.

The Council's failure to respond to these well-documented actions in what is now the world's most urgent catastrophe is disturbing, particularly since UN investigators said in late August that these may amount to war crimes, committed by all sides, since three of the Council's permanent members are allies of the Saudis, or supply them with arms, or both, UN silence may not be surprising.

The US called for a ceasefire to the four-year war in Yemen, which has been fuelled by the military actions of the Saudi-led coalition , the coalition launched new airstrikes on the stricken country, and as the death toll continues to rise, it seems doubtful that the western powers will put a halt to their lucrative arms supplies to Saudi Arabia.

Less apparent is the Security Council's role in the famine and cholera epidemic gripping Yemen, this has largely come about through the UN body's apparent authorization of the Saudis and their allies to act on its behalf.

Security Council resolution 2216 'calls upon Member States, in particular States neighboring Yemen,' to inspect cargo to Yemen 'in their territory' if the state has information that provides 'reasonable grounds' to believe the cargo contains weapons prohibited by the resolution.

The state can then seize and dispose of these weapons 'and related materiel of all types'. It need only provide a report explaining the grounds for their inspections and seizures.

In September 2018, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported that Yemen was now 'facing one of the world's deepest humanitarian crises with 22.2 million people in need of lifesaving assistance, including food, safe water, nutritional support and basic medical care.' It said 18 million people � two-thirds of Yemen's population � were uncertain where their next meal would come from.

The Security Council has throughout its history often failed to intervene in situations involving aggression, war crimes or human rights violations, where the interests of the permanent members or their client states were implicated, but there is another practice that is far less obvious: the hijacking of the Council, by circuitous means, for the particular agenda of its permanent members and their allies.

Having initially authorized the Saudi-led forces with resolution 2216, the Council failed to hold them to its own very minimal mechanism for oversight and accountability. It is not just that the Security Council has failed to take action in a crisis. In fact, it did much to set it in motion.

The members of the Security Council stressed the importance of urgent access to humanitarian facilities, including the Red Sea Mills, and welcomed the arrangements agreed by the parties in the RCC meeting on 16-17 February in that regard.

They noted with concern the operational constraints being faced by humanitarian actors in Yemen, reiterated their grave concern about the continued deterioration of the humanitarian situation across Yemen, with 80 per cent of the population (24 million people) now in need of humanitarian assistance, and called on the parties to facilitate the rapid, safe and unhindered flow of commercial and humanitarian supplies and personnel into and across the country.

They called on the international community to consider additional funding for the 2019 UN Humanitarian Response Plan.

The Members of the Security Council expressed concern at continued reports of violations of the ceasefire.

The members of the Security Council reiterated the importance of all parties to the conflict ensuring the protection of civilians, including those most vulnerable such as children, and further reiterated their call on all parties to fulfill their obligations under international humanitarian law, including to respect the principles of proportionality and distinction, and international human rights law.

The members of the Security Council underlined the need to make progress towards a comprehensive political settlement to the conflict, as called for by relevant Security Council resolutions and presidential statements, as well as by the Gulf Cooperation Council initiative and its Implementation Mechanism and the outcomes of the National Dialogue Conference.

In this regard, they called on the parties to engage constructively with the Special Envoy in fulfilling their obligations agreed in Stockholm. The members of the Security Council also underlined the importance of the full participation of women and the meaningful engagement of youth in the political process.

The members of the Security Council reiterated their calls for the full implementation of Security Council resolutions, including resolution 2216 (2015), resolution 2451 (2018) and resolution 2452 (2019), and compliance with their statements, and reiterated their intention to consider further measures, as necessary, to support implementation of all relevant resolutions. They reaffirmed their strong commitment to the unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Yemen.

Source: Yemen News Agency

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