Motion for a resolution on the situation in Yemen – B8-2017-0649

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on the situation in Yemen, including that of 15 June 2017(1);

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 3 April 2017 on the situation in Yemen;

–  having regard to UN Security Council (UNSC) Resolutions 2216, 2266, and 2342 on the situation in Yemen, and the statement of the President of the UNSC of 9 August 2017 on the humanitarian situation in Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan and northeast Nigeria;

–  having regard to statements by the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (VP/HR) on the situation in Yemen;

–  having regard to the statement of then UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Stephen O’Brien to the UNSC of 12 July 2017;

–  having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948;

–  having regard to the Geneva Convention of 1949 and its Additional Protocols;

–  having regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 1966;

–  having regard to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child of 20 November 1989 and its Optional Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict of 25 May 2000;

–  having regard to the UN Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons of 10 October 1980;

–  having regard to the UN Convention on the Prohibition of the use, stockpiling, production, and transfer of anti-personnel mines, and on their destruction of 18 September 1997;

–  having regard to the UN Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination based on Religion or Belief of 25 November 1981;

–  having regard to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court;

–  having regard to the outcome of the High-Level Pledging Event for the Humanitarian Crisis in Yemen, held in Geneva, Switzerland, on 25 April 2017;

–  having regard to the decision of the UN Human Rights Council of September 2017 to investigate all alleged abuses of human rights in Yemen during the conflict;

–  having regard to Council Implementing Regulation (EU) 2017/628 of 3 April 2017 implementing Article 15(3) of Regulation (EU) No 1352/2014 concerning restrictive measures in view of the situation in Yemen(2);

–  having regard to Rule 123(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas Yemen has been devastated by more than two years of war, which began when Iranian-backed Houthi rebels captured the capital Sana’a and overthrew the government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi; whereas in 2015, a multinational coalition, led by Saudi Arabia, was formed to fight the rebels and the army troops allied with them; whereas as a consequence, the conflict has become a bitter proxy war between two of the region’s largest powers;

B.  whereas the fighting has left around 20 million Yemeni people in need of humanitarian assistance – around 70 % of the population; whereas the war has also resulted in more than two million internally displaced people, the destruction of infrastructure, the collapse of Yemen’s economy, and disruption to basic commodities and the supply of utilities, sanitation and clean drinking water;

C.  whereas the war has resulted in the deaths of more than 10 000 people, most of whom are civilians, with thousands more injured; whereas a recent cholera outbreak has affected more than 700 000 people and caused the deaths of more than 2 000 as a result of airstrikes destroying water sanitation systems;

D.  whereas according to the UN, seven million people, including 2.3 million malnourished and 500 000 severely malnourished children under the age of five, are on the cusp of famine and vulnerable to disease;

E.  whereas the health system in Yemen has collapsed, owing either to damage caused during the war or to lack of funds;

F.  whereas the war has its roots in the failure of successive governments to fulfil the democratic, economic, and social aspirations of the Yemeni people, thereby fuelling discontent, division and violence;

G.  whereas in September 2017, the UN Human Rights Council agreed to investigate all alleged human rights abuses in Yemen by all sides;

H.  whereas the war in Yemen has opened up space for extremist groups, including al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, to extend their reach, thereby threatening the wider region;

I.  whereas forces on both sides in the war have been accused of firing heavy weapons into built-up areas, including strikes on hospitals, civilian buildings and other non-military structures;

J.  whereas dozens of Saudi-led airstrikes have been blamed for indiscriminately or disproportionately killing and wounding civilians in violation of the laws of war, including through the use of internationally banned cluster munitions;

K.  whereas 1 600 schools have been partially or totally destroyed during the war, one in 10 have been forced to close, an estimated two million children are out of school, and three quarters of teachers have not received their salaries in a year;

L.  whereas the Saudi-led coalition, the Yemeni government forces and the rebel Houthi movement have been included on a draft UN list of parties that kill or maim children in war;

M.  whereas UN-sponsored talks aimed at establishing peace in Yemen ended without a breakthrough in April 2016 and international efforts continue to bring the warring parties back around the negotiating table;

N.  whereas international donors offered USD 1.1 billion at the UN-led High Level Pledging Conference for the Humanitarian Crisis in Yemen, held in Geneva in April 2017;

1.  Deplores the continuing war in Yemen and its impact on innocent men, women, and children, as well as the country’s economy and infrastructure;

2.  Strongly urges all parties to the conflict to end the fighting immediately and resume meaningful talks as soon as possible, with the aim of creating a peaceful, pluralistic and prosperous Yemen in the interests of all its citizens;

3.  Expresses deep concern at the devastating and deteriorating humanitarian situation in Yemen; demands once more that all sides party to the war fulfil their responsibilities in allowing the unfettered delivery of humanitarian aid, including food and water, to the civilian population of Yemen;

4.  Reminds all parties to the conflict that hospital and medical personal are explicitly protected under international humanitarian law, and that the deliberate targeting of civilians and civilian infrastructure constitutes war crimes;

5.  Supports the work of the UN Special Envoy for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, to seek to broker peace talks between the warring sides and bring an end to the conflict and humanitarian crisis;

6.  Regrets the decision of Houthi fighters and their allies to reject Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed as a peace negotiator and believes that the reluctance of key parties to show willingness to embark on peace talks can only prolong the conflict and the suffering of Yemeni people;

7.  Believes Saudi Arabia and Iran hold the key to resolving the crisis, and urges both sides to work to improve bilateral relations and to seek to work together to end the fighting in Yemen;

8.  Calls on all parties to respect the human rights and freedoms of all citizens in Yemen and all those working on peace and humanitarian missions in the country, including aid workers, doctors, and journalists;

9.  Supports the demand by EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides to end blockades by coalition forces which have prevented the delivery of humanitarian relief via air, sea and land;

10.  Reminds the Member States of their responsibilities and commitments in accordance with international treaties and conventions, including UNSC resolution 2342, in the context of the war in Yemen;

11.  Welcomes the decisions by the EU, the UN, the US and others to impose sanctions and other restrictive measures on individuals and entities connected with the war in Yemen;

12.  Deplores reports that Houthi forces, government and pro-government forces, and other armed groups have used child soldiers, an estimated one third of all fighters in Yemen, and reminds all sides of their responsibilities under international laws and conventions;

13.  Welcomes the commitments made at the High-Level Pledging Event for the Humanitarian Crisis in Yemen and stresses the need for coordinated humanitarian action under UN leadership to ease the suffering of the people of Yemen; reiterates its call on all countries to fulfil the commitments made at the pledging event in order to contribute to addressing humanitarian needs;

14.  Strongly supports the work of UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock and his predecessor Stephen O’Brien in seeking to ease the suffering of the Yemeni population;

15.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the European External Action Service, the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the President of Yemen, the Yemeni House of Representatives and the Secretary-General of the Gulf Cooperation Council.