Procedure : 2017/2727(RSP)
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Document selected : B8-0408/2017

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PV 15/06/2017 - 7.8
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See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B8-0407/2017

to wind up the debate on the statement by the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy

pursuant to Rule 123(2) of the Rules of Procedure

on the humanitarian situation in Yemen (2017/2727(RSP))

Fabio Massimo Castaldo, James Carver, Ignazio Corrao, Isabella Adinolfi, Beatrix von Storch on behalf of the EFDD Group

European Parliament resolution on the humanitarian situation in Yemen (2017/2727(RSP))  

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the statement on Yemen made to the UN Security Council by Stephen O’Brien, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, in New York on 26 January 2017,

–  having regard to the High-Level Pledging Event for the Humanitarian Crisis in Yemen held in Geneva on 25 April 2017 and to the UN Secretary-General’s opening remarks at that event,

–  having regard to the briefing of the Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for Yemen to the open session of the UN Security Council of 30 May 2017,

–  having regard to the Council conclusions on Yemen of 3 April 2017,

–  having regard to the UN Security Council resolutions on Yemen,

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

A.  whereas Yemen, which was already the poorest Arab country, descended into generalised armed conflict in 2015 and is now classified by the UN as undergoing a level 3 emergency, i.e. the most severe form of large-scale humanitarian crisis;

B.  whereas more than 3 million people have been displaced, of whom 2 million remain in protracted displacement, 11.3 million need protection services, 17 million need food assistance, 14.5 million need water, sanitation and hygiene, 14.8 million need access to healthcare, 4.5 million need nutrition services and 4.5 million need access to shelter and non-food items; whereas since the start of the conflict, according to the UN, at least 10 000 people have been killed and 44 000 wounded; whereas despite the gravity of the crisis Yemen remains largely forgotten;

C.  whereas to date the UN have verified over 325 attacks on schools, health facilities, markets, roads, bridges and even water points; whereas over two thirds of the damage to public infrastructure is the result of airstrikes by the Saudi-led military coalition; whereas the Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen has indiscriminately targeted civilians and has contributed to creating a disastrous humanitarian situation that affects people across the country, has serious implications for the region, and constitutes a threat to international peace and security;

D.  whereas after two years Saudi Arabia is still operating an aerial and naval blockade against Yemen; whereas this blockade is directly responsible for the economic collapse of the country and the famine and is severely aggravating the humanitarian crisis;

E.  whereas some EU Member States are continuing to sell weapons to Saudi Arabia, in violation of Council Common Position 2008/944/CFSP of 8 December 2008 defining common rules governing control of exports of military technology and equipment(1); whereas President Trump recently signed the largest arms deal in American history, worth USD 350 billion, with Saudi Arabia;

F.  whereas a fresh cholera outbreak has been reported in Yemen, with at least 86 422 suspected cases and 676 confirmed deaths between the end of April and the beginning of June 2017, and additional cases expected in the coming months which could number between 130 000 and 200 000; whereas currently more than 24 million people are at risk and the situation is critical, as limited technical capacities hamper a full-scale response; whereas on 14 May 2017 the authorities in Sana’a, where the highest resurgence in cases has been recorded, declared a state of emergency in the face of the inability of the health system to cope with the magnitude of the crisis;

G.  whereas only 30 % of the required medical supplies are being imported into the country, garbage collection in the cities is irregular and more than 8 million people lack access to safe drinking water and proper sanitation; whereas these circumstances are ideal for the spreading of the cholera epidemic;

H.  whereas forced displacement of civilians remains the key feature of the ongoing conflict in Yemen, as nearly 2 million people still remain displaced from their homes, nearly a quarter of them living in collective centres;

I.  whereas children bear a disproportionate burden, making up more than half of the people currently displaced in Yemen; whereas UNICEF warns that one child dies every 10 minutes in Yemen from a preventable disease; whereas child malnutrition is at an all-time high in Yemen, with an estimated 462 000 children suffering from Severe Acute Malnutrition; whereas in general 9.6 million children, or more than 80 % of all children in Yemen, need humanitarian assistance;

J.  whereas NGOs and agencies working on the ground are severely underfinanced; whereas at the end of April UNICEF’s funding gap stood at 60 %, and a total of at least USD 141.7 million is required to provide urgent assistance including in the areas of nutrition, health, water, sanitation and hygiene and education and protection services, and to ensure that it reaches almost 10 million children and their families;

K.  whereas salaries for public sector employees continue to go unpaid, with many vital health, education and sanitation workers not having been paid for over eight months, thus hampering the ongoing humanitarian and early recovery efforts;

L.  whereas the UN held a High-Level Pledging Event for the Humanitarian Crisis in Yemen, co-hosted by the governments of Switzerland and Sweden, at which donors pledged USD 1.1 billion to help people in urgent need in Yemen; whereas the estimated needs under the Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan stand at USD 2.1 billion;

M.  whereas the hostilities near the Al Hudaydah port continue to be of great concern, as the Task Force on Population Movement, led by UNHCR and IOM, has warned that a further intensification of the conflict in the area would lead to the displacement of between 100 000 and half a million people; whereas closure of the port would also have extremely serious consequences for the delivery of humanitarian aid to Yemen;

N.  whereas incidents of gender-based violence have reportedly increased by over 63 % since before the conflict, and as of the beginning of 2017 there have been 10 806 reported cases;

O.  whereas the fragmentation of the country and the ongoing conflict are allowing Al‑Qaeda, ISIS/Daesh and other terrorist groups to increase their presence on the ground;

P.  whereas since the start of the conflict the Commission has provided humanitarian assistance for a total allocation of EUR 166 million; whereas the Commission pledged EUR 46 million under the ECHO Humanitarian Implementation Plan for 2016; whereas an additional EUR 70 million is expected to be mobilised in development aid in 2017;

1.  Reaffirms its extreme concern regarding the devastating consequences of the ongoing conflict for Yemen and its population; recognises that this crisis has become the biggest single-nation humanitarian crisis in the world and is still not receiving the attention it merits; calls on all international actors to promote the situation in Yemen to the top of the international agenda and to work together to find solutions;

2.  Strongly condemns the Saudi-led coalition’s airstrikes against Yemen, which have led to thousands of deaths and to the destruction of key civilian infrastructures, thus contributing to the worsening of the humanitarian crisis; considers that these airstrikes may amount to war crimes; stresses that ensuring accountability for violations is indispensable to achieving a lasting settlement of the conflict; calls on the Iranian authorities to use their influence with the Saleh/Houthi regime to cease the missile attacks on Saudi Arabia that are exacerbating the conflict;

3.  Reminds the parties to the conflict once again that granting timely and unimpeded humanitarian access is a key obligation under international humanitarian law; calls on the Saudi-led coalition to lift a blockade which is seriously hurting the civilian population of Yemen; laments the fact that major challenges remain for humanitarian aid and humanitarian actors willing to access people in need, owing to active fighting, insecurity, bureaucratic hurdles and lack of funding; in particular, urges the Saudi-led coalition to lift the obstacles facing humanitarian actors, including the denial of transport into the country and the denial of necessary clearances;

4.  Stresses that violence and conflict are the prime causes of displacement in Yemen, as the majority of internally displaced persons are from governorates where violence is rampant; is relieved that since March 2015 over 900 000 people have been able to return to their homes; stresses, however, that the returnees often find themselves in impossible conditions as they discover widespread destruction and lack of opportunities on their return;

5.  Recalls once again that the parties to the conflict have a responsibility to protect civilians and civilian infrastructures; calls for action to prevent and respond to all forms of violence, including sexual and gender-based violence; calls for the payment of outstanding wages so that Yemenis can attempt to provide the basics for their families, and urges the Saudi coalition to ensure that this is treated as a matter of priority;

6.  Calls on the parties to the conflict to commit to reaching a compromise on the situation in Al Hudaydah in order to prevent the shutting down of the port, since this would have serious consequences for supplies of food and medicines; welcomes and supports the proposal of the UN Special Envoy in this regard; also calls on the coalition to reopen civilian airports to commercial air traffic, to include humanitarian flights, and to ensure the transparent governance of Aden airport;

7.  Reiterates its position that there can be no military solution to the conflict in Yemen and that the only possible solution is through a negotiation process between the parties; welcomes the role and supports the efforts of the UN Secretary-General and the UN Special Envoy for Yemen; calls on all parties to the conflict as well as on regional players to engage constructively in a process under the leadership of the UN to de-escalate the conflict, bring relief to the civilian population, and negotiate a settlement to bring the violence to an end; urges the Saudi-led coalition to include all major representatives of the Yemeni people in the talks to ensure that any solution is not imposed from above but receives widespread support, and urges the Saleh/Houthi administration to re-engage with the UN Special Envoy;

8.  Calls for urgent, reinforced and coordinated humanitarian action under the leadership of the UN; welcomes the holding of the High-Level Pledging Event for the Humanitarian Crisis in Yemen, and calls on the parties to fulfil their pledges as quickly as possible; is worried that the Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan is still severely underfunded; calls for a renewal of commitment by the international community, and in particular the Gulf Cooperation Council and the EU and its Member States in this regard;

9.  Reiterates its request to the VP/HR to launch an initiative aimed at imposing an EU arms embargo on Saudi Arabia, given the serious allegations of breaches of international humanitarian law by Saudi Arabia in Yemen and the fact that the continued licensing of weapons sales to Saudi Arabia would therefore be in breach of Council Common Position 2008/944/CFSP;

10.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, 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 Secretary-General of the United Nations, the Secretary-General of the Gulf Cooperation Council, the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, and the Government of Yemen.


OJ L 335, 13.12.2008, p. 99.

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