Ladies and Gentlemen,
We gather here in Geneva today, one day after the opening of the fortieth session of the Human Rights Council in this same building. It should remind us that the Yemen crisis is not only a humanitarian crisis of the greatest magnitude, it is also a most urgent human rights issue.
Years of conflict has brought upon the people of Yemen the most devastating consequences; displacement, economic and institutional collapse, hunger, disease and death. This conflict is man-made and completely unnecessary, which makes it even worse.
We must do all we can to bring the conflict in Yemen to an end. Thankfully, there have been some positive signs in recent weeks and months, and I applaud the efforts of the United Nations, and the disputing parties, for their endeavour.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The need for funding, to alleviate the suffering of the people in Yemen, is obvious and Iceland wants to do its part and respond to the dire humanitarian needs.
Last October I announced a contribution of 820.000 US Dollars, which has already been allocated to UNICEF and World Food Programme. Today, I am pleased to announce that we provided, in January, a further contribution of 300.000 US Dollars to UNFPA, and will be pledging a further 250.000 Dollars to the same Agency - to be allocated in the coming weeks. This bring us, in total, to over 1.3 million US Dollars overall in the space of only a few months.
It is a well-known fact that in times of crisis, women and girls become increasingly vulnerable to gender-based violence and exploitation as families and communities become dispersed and chaotic conditions contribute to a sense of lawlessness. It is, therefore, critical to provide funding for humanitarian actors such as the UNFPA that play a leading role in protecting women and girls from gender-based violence and in maintaining their dignity and respect.
In addition, we allocated part of our 2018 and 2019 budgets in support of civil society organizations where the Icelandic Red Cross received 215.000 USD for projects in Yemen in 2018 and Save the Children another 170.000 USD for Yemen in 2019.
Finally, my Government will be considering further funding for the Yemen crisis later this year and, more importantly, Iceland will continue to be an advocate for human rights and respect for human dignity - and support all efforts that may contribute to a political settlement and end the conflict in Yemen.