Procedure : 2017/2727(RSP)
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Document selected : B8-0409/2017

Texts tabled :


Debates :

Votes :

PV 15/06/2017 - 7.8
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Texts adopted :


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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))

Marietje Schaake, Petras Auštrevičius, Beatriz Becerra Basterrechea, Gérard Deprez, María Teresa Giménez Barbat, Marian Harkin, Ivan Jakovčić, Ilhan Kyuchyuk, Patricia Lalonde, Louis Michel, Javier Nart, Urmas Paet, Maite Pagazaurtundúa Ruiz, Jozo Radoš, Frédérique Ries, Jasenko Selimovic, Hannu Takkula, Pavel Telička, Ramon Tremosa i Balcells, Ivo Vajgl, Cecilia Wikström, Valentinas Mazuronis on behalf of the ALDE Group

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

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions, in particular those of 25 February 2016 on the humanitarian situation in Yemen(1) and of 9 July 2015 on the situation in Yemen(2),

–  having regard to the statements by the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, on the attack in Yemen on 8 October 2016 and on the ceasefire that took hold in Yemen on 19 October 2016;

–  having regard to the statements by the spokesperson of the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, on the latest developments in Yemen of 6 October and 21 November 2016,

–  having regard to the Foreign Affairs Council conclusions on Yemen, in particular those of 20 April and 16 November 2015 and of 3 April 2017,

–  having regard to Council Implementing Decision (CFSP) 2017/634 of 3 April 2017 implementing Decision 2014/932/CFSP concerning restrictive measures in view of the situation in Yemen(3),

–  having regard to the UN Security Council resolutions on Yemen, in particular Resolutions 2266 (2016) and 2342 (2017), and to the statements on Yemen by the President of the UN Security Council on its behalf of 18 February, 23 March, 8 September and 4 October 2016,

–  having regard to the statements on Yemen by the spokesperson of the then UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, of 14, 15 and 17 August, 22 September and 8 October 2016, to the opening and closing remarks to the Yemen Pledging Conference of 25 April 2017, and to his remarks to the Security Council open debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict of 25 May 2017,

–  having regard to the United Nations High-Level Pledging Event for the crisis in Yemen of 25 April 2017 during which USD 1.1 billion was pledged to bridge a USD 2.1 billion funding gap for 2017,

–  having regard to the recent outbreak and rapid spread of cholera, with the number of cases expected to reach 130 000 in the coming weeks and with it having already claimed the lives of hundreds of people,

–  having regard to the statements by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, of 10 October 2016 on the outrageous attack on a funeral in Yemen, of 10 February 2017 on civilians in Yemen caught between warring parties, and of 24 March 2017 on over 100 civilians killed in a month, including fishermen and refugees, as the Yemen conflict reaches its two-year mark,

–  having regard to the statements by the UN Special Envoy for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, of 21 October and 19 November 2016 and of 30 January 2017,

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

A.  whereas, in spite of international pressure to achieve a stable and inclusive political solution to the crisis, the conflicting parties and their regional and international backers, including Saudi Arabia and Iran, have failed to reach a ceasefire or any type of settlement and whereas the fighting and indiscriminate bombings continue unabated; whereas neither side has achieved a military victory and is unlikely to do so in the future;

B.  whereas former governor of Aden Aidarous al-Zubaidi has set up a ‘South Transition Council’ with the aim of running the southern part of Yemen, and whereas protesters are increasingly calling for its secession;

C.  whereas since March 2015 some 10 000 people have been killed and more than 40 000 injured by the violence according to the UN; whereas the fighting, both on the ground and in the air, have made it impossible for UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR) field monitors to access the area to verify the number of civilian casualties, meaning that these figures only reflect the deaths and injuries that the OHCHR has managed to corroborate and confirm; whereas Saudi-led airstrikes are responsible for two-thirds of the civilian casualties;

D.  whereas the increased violence in western and central Yemen, including through air strikes and attacks by coalition war ships, mainly affects civilians and has forced tens of thousands to flee their homes according to the UN; whereas as of May 2017, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), there are as many as 3.11 million displaced persons in Yemen who are exposed to immense risks;

E.  whereas a World Food Programme report on Yemen indicates that 21 million people, or 82 % of the population, are in need of humanitarian assistance and 17 million people need food assistance; whereas 19.4 million people are in need of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), 3 million nutrition services, and 2.8 million access to shelter and non-food items (NFI); whereas the situation is especially dire among children, with over 2.2 million being acutely malnourished;

F.  whereas 14.1 million people are in need of access to healthcare, while more than half of all health facilities are closed or partially functioning as a result of deliberate bombing, according to UN reports; whereas 1.5 million Yemenis working in public services, including the health sector, have not received salaries for more than eight months and whereas numerous health workers have been injured or killed providing medical services to those in need;

G.  whereas essential goods such as food and medical supplies cannot enter the country; whereas this is the result of Saudi-led forces blocking Yemen’s ports, including the port of Hodeida, which receives up to 80 % of all imports to the northern part of Yemen; whereas Saudi-led forces wrongfully used UN Security Council Resolution 2216 (2015) to block and destroy the port; whereas this blockade reduced the availability of essential goods and increased prices; whereas, according to the UN OCHA, restrictions on the import of key commodities such as food, medicines and fuel have worsened humanitarian needs; whereas Yemen is highly dependent on imports, with imports accounting for more than 90 % of staple foods, medicines and pharmaceutical products, and nearly all its fuel; whereas fuel is essential to power water pumps, to run generators in hospitals and water stations, and for other critical civilian infrastructure;

H.  whereas vulnerable groups, women and children are particularly affected by the ongoing hostilities and the humanitarian crisis, and whereas the safety and well-being of women and girls is of particular concern; whereas children in particular are vulnerable to the rise in violence in Yemen, with 1 540 children killed and 2 450 injured as documented by the UN; whereas, in addition to malnutrition, children in Yemen face cholera, malaria and dengue fever; whereas as of March 2017 over 1 500 cases of recruitment and of use of children to fight or perform military duties have been documented; whereas, according to the US Country Report on Human Rights Practices 2016, a majority of these cases were attributed to Houthi-Saleh rebel forces (72 %), followed by 15 % to the pro-government Popular Committees armed groups and 9 % to Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP);

I.  whereas, due to violence, more than 350 000 children were unable to resume their education in the past school year, bringing the total number of out-of-school children in Yemen to over 2 million, according to UNICEF; whereas out-of-school children are at risk of being recruited to fight;

J.  whereas an additional EUR 40 million was announced for Yemen in September 2016 at the UN General Assembly by Commissioner Christos Stylianides, bringing the total amount of EU humanitarian funding to the country since the beginning of the current conflict in April 2015 to EUR 120 million;

K.  whereas some EU Member States, most notably the United Kingdom, France and Germany, have continued to authorise transfers of arms to Saudi Arabia since the escalation of the conflict; whereas these weapons have been reported to be used to indiscriminately bomb civilians and civilian targets in Yemen; whereas in such instances weapon sales are a violation of Council Common Position 2008/944/CFSP on arms export control, which explicitly rules out the authorising of arms licences by Member States if there is a clear risk of the exported military technology or equipment being used to breach international humanitarian law and undermine regional peace, security and stability;

L.  whereas the building of the De-escalation and Coordination Committee, which was supposed to host the committee that will oversee the cessation of hostilities and report on violations, was attacked on 30 January 2017, which clearly signals a lack of cooperation in bringing the ongoing conflict in Yemen to an end; whereas upholding a ceasefire is the appropriate response to avoid further civilian casualties and destruction of civilian infrastructure; whereas it also offers the possibility to fully enable access for emergency assistance in order to address the unprecedented needs of the Yemeni population;

M.  whereas the situation in Yemen carries grave risks for the stability of the region, in particular that of the Horn of Africa, the Red Sea and the wider Middle East; whereas the AQAP has been able to benefit from the deterioration of the political and security situation and the targeting of civilians in Yemen, expanding its presence and increasing the number and scale of its terrorist attacks; whereas Daesh has established its presence in Yemen and carried out terrorist attacks against Shiite mosques, killing hundreds of people;

N.  whereas the EU stands ready to support the UN in ensuring that the UN-led peace talks under the auspices of the UN envoy to Yemen have a successful and sustainable outcome for the people of Yemen;

O.  whereas there has been a dramatic increase in the number of extraterritorial lethal operations carried out in Yemen by the USA since January 2017, with at least 90 confirmed strikes, according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism; whereas following the designation of certain areas of Yemen as ‘areas of active hostility’ by the US Government, safeguards designed to protect civilian life have been seriously weakened; whereas there is compelling evidence that a number of civilians, including women, children and the elderly, have been killed, seriously injured or traumatised by such lethal operations; whereas such operations may violate established principles of human rights law; whereas such actions breed resentment among the Yemeni population and play into the hands of AQAP;

P.  whereas the majority of strikes conducted by US forces in Yemen are drone strikes; whereas the decision to add certain people to drone operation target lists is often made without court warrants or orders; whereas the targeting and subsequent killing of certain individuals are carried out without due process and can thus under certain circumstances be seen as extrajudicial killings;

Q.  whereas on 1 October 2016 a Saudi airstrike on a funeral in Sana’a, which was attended by many political and military leaders affiliated with Ansarul ul Islam, killed 140 people and injured more than 500 others; whereas this attack was not an isolated incident and airstrikes by the Saudi-led military coalition have hit many civilian targets, including hospitals, schools, humanitarian convoys and markets, causing many civilian casualties and a disruption to the provision of basic healthcare, food, water, electricity and fuel;

R.  whereas it is an obligation of every party under international humanitarian law not to target the civilian population and to be highly vigilant so as not to hit civilians during military operations; whereas any direct and intentional attack against civilians and civilian objects is considered a violation of international humanitarian law; whereas violations, including possible war crimes, have been documented and have increased in their frequency since the beginning of the armed conflict two years ago; whereas some of the airstrikes have made use of internationally banned cluster bombs;

S.  whereas the recognised national government has no influence in the country, residing in Saudi Arabia, incapable of acting as a government and guaranteeing even its own safety; whereas Yemen is now divided by Ansarul ul Islam in the north, and in the south a secessionist movement led by Aidarus al-Zoubaidi, and terrorist forces;

1.  Condemns in the strongest terms the ongoing violence in Yemen and all attacks against and targeting of civilians, as well as the attack on the De-escalation and Coordination Committee in Dhahran al-Janoub; condemns the numerous unnecessary deaths and injuries caused; reminds all parties and their regional and international backers that the deliberate targeting of civilians and civilian infrastructure, including hospitals and medical personnel, amounts to a grave violation of international humanitarian law; urges the international community to make provisions for the international criminal prosecution of those responsible for violations of international law committed in Yemen;

2.  Reaffirms its commitment to continuing to support Yemen and the Yemeni people; urges all parties to seek an immediate ceasefire and to return to the negotiating table; reiterates its support for the territorial integrity of Yemen; calls on all involved states, in particular Saudi Arabia and Iran, to apply maximum pressure on all parties in the conflict to work on a political solution to the conflict and to allow unhindered and continuous humanitarian access for those in need; calls on Iran and Saudi Arabia to immediately cease providing political and financial support, and also military support in the case of Saudi Arabia, to Ansarul ul Islam forces in Yemen, either directly or through proxies;

3.  Strongly condemns all acts of violence in pursuit of political goals by all sides in the conflict, including their regional and international backers; condemns in particular the intensification of airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition, which target civilians and civilian infrastructure and include bombardments, the use of cluster munitions and the reported use of antipersonnel mines;

4.  Deplores the increase in the number of extraterritorial lethal operations carried out in Yemen by the USA and the civilian casualties these have caused, and calls on the USA and all other parties conducting military operations in Yemen to increase their safeguards to ensure the protection of civilian life; calls on the US and its partners to place its drone programme under judicial oversight and to ensure that no executions by means of drone strikes are carried out without due process; calls, as a matter of urgency, for the setting up of an international, impartial and transparent investigation into all operations that have targeted civilians and caused civilian casualties and for effective access to be ensured to remedies for the victims of lethal military operations; deplores in this regard the failure of the UN Human Rights Council in September 2016 to reach a consensus on the setting up of an independent inquiry seeking to send a UN fact-finding mission to Yemen;

5.  Reiterates its support for coordinated humanitarian action under UN leadership, and urges all countries to contribute to addressing humanitarian needs; deplores the fact that UN humanitarian support to Yemen still has a funding gap; welcomes the new funds made available by Commissioner Christos Stylianides to provide humanitarian aid in Yemen, but urges all parties, including the EU and its Member States, to fulfil their pledges;

6.  Is also concerned about the dire living conditions of Yemini citizens, the severe reduction in health services in all public and private hospitals, the spread of endemic diseases and the lack of health facilities, supplies, assets and personnel; is extremely worried about the 7.3 million Yemeni people at serious risk of famine and the rate of child malnutrition, which is one of the highest in the world; urges all parties to allow the entry and delivery of urgently needed food, medicine, fuel and other necessary humanitarian assistance through UN and international humanitarian channels;

7.  Condemns the ongoing Saudi blockade on Yemen’s ports, which seriously impedes access for the Yemini people to essential humanitarian supplies; calls on the Saudi-led coalition to immediately cease the naval blockade and to allow entry to ships delivering humanitarian assistance, and to refrain from attacking the port of Hodeida, as this is a lifeline to the people in the north of Yemen;

8.  Supports the EU’s call on all parties to the conflict to take all necessary steps to prevent and respond to all forms of violence, including sexual and gender-based violence, in situations of armed conflict; strongly condemns the violations of the rights of the child and is concerned at children’s limited access to even basic healthcare and education; condemns the recruitment and use of child soldiers in hostilities, be it by government forces or by armed opposition groups; calls on all parties and their regional and international backers involved in the conflict to refrain from the recruitment and use of child soldiers under the age of 18; reminds the government of Abdo Rabbu Mansour Hadi that Yemen is a party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its Optional Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict, which prohibit recruitment and use in hostilities of children; calls for the EU and the international community to support the rehabilitation and reintegration of demobilised children into the community;

9.  Calls on the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (VP/HR) to urgently propose an integrated EU strategy for Yemen and to make a renewed push for a Yemeni peace initiative under the auspices of the UN; calls in this regard for the appointment of an EU special representative for Yemen;

10.  Recalls its previous resolution of 25 February 2016 in which the VP/HR was urged to initiate an arms embargo against Saudi Arabia; calls on the VP/HR once again to launch an initiative aimed at imposing an EU arms embargo against Saudi Arabia, given the serious allegations of breaches of international humanitarian law by Saudi Arabia in Yemen; reminds the EU Member States involved that the continued licensing of weapon sales to Saudi Arabia is a breach of Council Common Position 2008/944/CFSP of 8 December 2008;

11.  Offers its full support to the efforts of UN Special Envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed to find a political solution; supports all efforts to cease hostilities and expresses its confidence for new initiatives which will lead to an easing of tensions and a negotiated settlement that respects the independence, unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Yemen; calls for the dialogue to be extended to regional level and for civil society actors to be included so as to ensure a bottom-up peace process; reminds the parties that the future reconstruction of Yemen will be the responsibility of all actors;

12.  Calls for the translation of this resolution into Arabic;

13.  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.


Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0066.


Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0270.


OJ L 90, 4.4.2017, p. 22.

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