Procedure : 2017/2727(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B8-0413/2017

Texts tabled :


Debates :

Votes :

PV 15/06/2017 - 7.8
Explanations of votes

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))

Barbara Lochbihler, Alyn Smith, Bodil Valero on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group

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

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the High-Level Pledging Event for the Humanitarian Crisis in Yemen held in Geneva on 25 April 2017 and to the additional pledge made by the EU to the sum of EUR 116 million,

–  having regard to the call made by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on human rights and international sanctions, Idriss Jazairy, on 12 April 2017 for the lifting of the naval blockade on Yemen,

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

–  having regard to its resolution of 28 April 2016 on attacks on hospitals and schools as violations of international humanitarian law(3) and to its resolution of 27 February 2014 on the use of armed drones(4),

–  ‎having regard to the Council conclusions of 3 April 2017 on Yemen, the joint statement of 10 January 2016 by the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (VP/HR), Federica Mogherini, and the Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Christos Stylianides, on the attack on a health centre in Yemen operated by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF – Doctors Without Borders),

–  having regard to the statement of 15 December 2015 by the European External Action Service (EEAS) spokesperson on the resumption of UN-facilitated talks on Yemen, and to the joint statement of 2 October 2015 by the VP/HR and Commissioner Stylianides on Yemen,

–  having regard to the UN Security Council resolutions on Yemen, in particular resolutions 2216 (2015), 2201 (2015) and 2140 (2014),

–  having regard to the statements of 10 January 2016 and 8 January 2016 by the spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General on Yemen,

–  having regard to the recommendations on ‘Rethinking Yemen’s Economy’ of the first Development Champions Forum (29 April to 1 May 2017),

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

A.  whereas since the Saudi-led alliance, including the US and the UK, started bombarding Yemen in March 2015, the country has been descending ever deeper into an armed conflict which is dramatically affecting the civilian population, which has already and for many years been suffering from insecurity and political tensions, high levels of poverty, dramatic environmental devastation and economic paralysis;

B.  whereas imports account for almost 90 % of the country’s staple foods, yet the military raids have severely curtailed commercial imports and prevented humanitarian aid deliveries from reaching Yemen, and have led to the destruction of basic infrastructure, compounded by the collapse of the economy and financial system, which has resulted in severe limits on access to food, medicines and fuel;

C.  whereas the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and international sanctions has stressed that the aerial and naval blockade imposed on Yemen by the coalition forces since March 2015 was one of the main causes of the humanitarian catastrophe; whereas it has restricted and disrupted imports and exports of food, fuel and medical supplies as well as humanitarian aid; whereas the blockade involves a variety of mostly arbitrary regulatory restrictions enforced by the coalition forces, including unreasonable delays and/or denial of entry for vessels in Yemeni ports amounting to an unlawful unilateral coercive measure (UCM) under international law;

D.  whereas the dramatic situation has further deteriorated with an outbreak of cholera, bringing the health sector close to collapse; whereas in February 2017 the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) declared Yemen the ‘largest food security emergency in the world’; whereas humanitarian organisations estimate that 18.8 million people (almost 70 % of the total population) are in need of humanitarian assistance, while more than 17 million people are affected by food insecurity, including 7 million who are at risk of famine (2 million of them children);

E.  whereas despite the High-Level Pledging Event for the Humanitarian Crisis in Yemen held in Geneva in April 2017 – during which various countries and organisations made pledges amounting to USD 1.1 billion – as of 9 May 2017 donors had delivered funds amounting to only 28 % of the UN’s USD 2.1 billion humanitarian appeal for Yemen for 2017;

F.  whereas the number of civilian casualties since 2015 is now in the tens of thousands, and the Saudi-led alliance stands accused of committing war crimes, having unlawfully and indiscriminately attacked schools, markets, hospitals, weddings, a funeral and homes and other civilian targets in the last few years; whereas the Huthi armed group and its allies have indiscriminately shelled civilian areas in Ta’iz city and fired artillery indiscriminately across the border into Saudi Arabia, killing and injuring civilians, and have recruited boys as young as 15 to fight as child soldiers on the front line;

G.  whereas in spite of the international pressure for a political solution to the crisis, the parties to the conflict have failed to reach a settlement and the move towards the secession of southern Yemen recently announced by the former governor of Aden risks further complicating the negotiations;

H.  whereas on his recent visit to Saudi Arabia President Trump added fuel to the fire by expressing unreserved support for that country’s politics in the region, and promised additional arms exports to Saudi Arabia to the value of USD 110 billion; whereas since the beginning of his tenure there has been a dramatic increase in extraterritorial and extrajudicial US operations of a lethal nature in Yemen, notably using drones, with reports of numerous civilian casualties, and there is evidence that EU Member States are providing direct or indirect support for these lethal operations, through intelligence and other means;

1.  Expresses its grave concern at the alarming deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Yemen; deeply regrets the loss of life caused by the conflict and the suffering of those who are caught up in the fighting, are being displaced or are losing their livelihood, and expresses its condolences to the families of the victims; reaffirms its commitment to continuing to support Yemen and the Yemeni people;

2.  Calls for an immediate halt to the naval and air blockade by the Saudi-led alliance against Yemen, so that humanitarian aid, water and fuel can be delivered to the civilian population;

3.  Calls urgently on all parties to agree to a cessation of hostilities, to be monitored by the UN, as a first step towards the resumption of peace talks under UN leadership, considering that only an urgently needed ceasefire can remedy the dramatic suffering of the civilian population;

4.  Regrets deeply President Trump’s announcement of greatly increased weapons exports to Saudi Arabia, and underlines that the arms exporters fuelling the conflict in Yemen, which, according to the 18th EU Annual Report on Arms Exports, include 16 EU Member States, among them France and the UK with exports to the value of billions of euros, risk being guilty of complicity in war crimes;

5.  Calls on all Member States to end all direct or indirect support for US extraterritorial and extrajudicial killings which violate established principles of international human rights law;

6.  Reiterates its call for the launch of an initiative aimed at imposing an EU arms embargo against Saudi Arabia, given the serious breaches of international humanitarian and human rights law being perpetrated by Saudi Arabia in Yemen and the fact that the continued licensing of weapons sales to Saudi Arabia is therefore in breach of Council Common Position 2008/944/CFSP of 8 December 2008; requests the VP/HR to report what measures have been taken to implement the previous call, as expressed in Parliament’s resolution of 25 February 2016;

7.  Strongly condemns the attacks against civilians, including bombardments, use of cluster munitions and reported use of antipersonnel mines, as well as the attacks causing the destruction of civilian infrastructure including schools, medical facilities, residential areas, markets, water systems, ports and airports; renews its urgent call on all parties to the conflict to ensure the protection of civilians and to respect international humanitarian and human rights law;

8.  Supports the call by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al-Hussein, for the establishment of an independent international body to carry out a comprehensive investigation into the crimes committed in the conflict in Yemen, including into the allegations of deliberate starvation, abuse, torture, targeted killing of civilians and other violations of international human rights and humanitarian law; stresses that ensuring accountability for violations is indispensable for achieving a lasting settlement to the conflict;

9.  Calls on all parties to the conflict to work to remove all logistical and financial obstacles affecting the importation and distribution of food and medical supplies for civilians in need; urges the parties, in particular, to ensure the full and effective functioning of major commercial entry points, such as the ports of Hodeida and Aden, and stresses their importance as a lifeline for humanitarian support and essential supplies; calls for the reopening of Sana’a airport to commercial flights so that urgently needed medicines and commodities can be flown in and Yemenis in need of medical treatment can be flown out; calls on all parties to remove ad hoc restrictions on movements of goods and humanitarian personnel within the country;

10.  Calls on all parties to allow unhindered access for journalists to all parts of Yemen, and demands the immediate and unconditional release of the following ten Yemeni journalists arbitrarily detained, for two years now, by Huthi forces without charge or trial: Abdelkhaleq Amran, Hisham Tarmoom, Tawfiq al-Mansouri, Hareth Hamid, Hasan Annab, Akram al-Walidi, Haytham al-Shihab, Hisham al-Yousefi and Essam Balgheeth;

11.  Recalls that there can be no military solution to the conflict in Yemen and that the crisis can only be solved through a negotiation process involving all parties and with the full and meaningful participation of women and resulting in an inclusive political solution; reiterates its support for the efforts of the EEAS to facilitate a resumption of negotiations, and urges all parties to the conflict to respond to those efforts in a constructive manner and without setting prior conditions;

12.  Urges all parties to work towards the establishment of a unified and fully functioning Central Bank of Yemen, and stresses that international aid funds should be channelled in support of Yemen’s foreign exchange reserves, in order to facilitate imports of food and medicines;

13.  Underlines the urgent need for the EU and other international actors to address the cholera outbreak and support the health system, including facilitating supplies and salary payments for frontline medical workers whose presence is critical to the humanitarian response;

14.  Calls on the countries and organisations that made pledges at the High-Level Pledging Event for the Humanitarian Crisis in Yemen in Geneva in April 2017 to honour these pledges without delay, and to increase their commitment so as to cover the totality of the needs identified by the UN;

15.  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.


Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0201.


Texts adopted, P7_TA(2014)0172.

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