Motion for a resolution - B7-0028/2010Motion for a resolution

MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on the situation in Yemen


to wind up the debate on the statement by the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
pursuant to Rule 110(2) of the Rules of Procedure

Alyn Smith, Jan Philipp Albrecht, Barbara Lochbihler, Malika Benarab-Attou on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group

See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B7-0021/2010

Procedure : 2009/2813(RSP)
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European Parliament resolution on the situation in Yemen

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the Council Conclusions of 27 October 2009 on Yemen,

–   having regard to the declaration by the Presidency on behalf of the European Union of 27 October 2009 on the deteriorating security situation in Yemen,

–   having regard to the European Community Strategy Paper for Yemen for the period 2007-2013,

–   having regard to Rule 110(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian terrorist who tried to blow up an aeroplane over Detroit on 25 December 2009, was trained at a Yemeni al-Qa'ida camp,

B.  whereas a further deterioration in the security situation in Yemen may offer terrorist and insurgent groups in the region, particularly al-Qa'ida, a safe haven in which to plan, organise and support subsequent terrorist operations,

C. whereas since 2007 there have been more than 30 terrorist attacks on pipelines, oil facilities, government buildings, embassies (including those of Italy and the USA), ships and tourists in Yemen,

D. whereas the security situation is being worsened further by the civil war against Zaidi Shi’i revivalists in Sa'dah in the north of Yemen and the outbreak of violence by the secessionist movement in the south of the country,

E.  whereas the local fighting in the Sa'dah region took on a regional dimension when Saudi military forces engaged the rebels on the Saudi-Yemen border and launched at least two punitive raids on the rebel positions, allegedly causing casualties among the civilian population,

F.  whereas the 2008 food crisis has had a huge impact on the poorer sections of the Yemeni population, whilst the global financial crisis, particularly the fall in oil revenue, has contributed to unsustainable pressure on public finances, further aggravated by the limited implementation of overdue economic and fiscal reforms,

G.  whereas Yemen’s oil reserves, the source of over 75% of its income, are close to depletion, and whereas the country has few viable options for a sustainable post-oil economy,

H.      whereas other significant problems facing Yemen include environmental degradation and particularly severe water shortages, which are caused by rising domestic consumption, poor water management, corruption, a lack of resource management and wasteful irrigation techniques; whereas according to the government's estimates 99% of all water extraction is unlicensed,

I.   whereas the situation created by Yemen’s lack of food and water is further complicated by the population’s dependence on qat, a quick-cash crop which requires heavy irrigation to thrive, and which is cultivated so extensively that Yemen has become a net food importer,

J.   whereas Yemen is the poorest country in the Arab world, with nearly half the population earning less than €2 per day and an unemployment rate of 35%, and at the same time has one of the world's highest population growth rates, which creates additional economic, educational and social problems,

K. whereas the increase in piracy in the Gulf of Aden and continuous migratory pressure from the Horn of Africa are further factors impacting on the stability of the country,

L.  whereas since 2004 the EU has donated aid worth more than €144 million to Yemen, with the largest share going towards economic development, and has implemented bilateral assistance programmes to support the Yemeni police and coastguard,

M. whereas the Yemeni education system remains poor, as reflected in a national illiteracy rate of close to 50%, a female illiteracy rate of nearly 70%, and an inadequate number of qualified teachers,

N. whereas governance reforms have been recognised as a priority by the Yemeni Government in the National Reform Agenda,

O. whereas the parliamentary elections which were to be held in April 2009 have been postponed in order to enable the authorities to implement the essential reforms of the electoral system; whereas no concrete steps towards this goal have been taken so far,

P.  whereas serious concerns remain about developments in Yemen with regard to democracy, human rights and the independence of the judiciary, especially unfair trials before the country's notorious Specialised Criminal Court and the use of torture in order to obtain false confessions; whereas there have been 13 recorded executions, hundreds of people remain on death row, and press freedom is restricted,

Q. whereas the situation of women is especially difficult, characterised by forced marriages involving girls often no older than eight years of age and unequal treatment by law of men and women,

R.  whereas six European citizens - five Germans and one Briton - are still being held hostage following their kidnapping in June 2009, whilst three other people from that group were found dead immediately after their abduction; whereas some local tribal leaders have pointed at al-Qa'ida as being responsible for the kidnappings,

1.  Expresses its deep concern at the deteriorating security, political and economic situation in Yemen; calls for considerable efforts by the international community to prevent the escalation of the current crisis;

2.  Notes the growing presence of members of al-Qa'ida in Yemen and underlines that a failure to take concrete action could lead to a further erosion of central government authority and destabilisation of the region to the degree seen in Somalia or Afghanistan, which will in turn provide opportunities for extremists directed or inspired by al-Qa'ida to regroup, organise, train, and launch jihadi terrorist operations throughout the world from Yemeni territory;

3.  Reiterates its call for an immediate ceasefire in Sa’dah and in southern Yemen and expresses its view that only a comprehensive political solution can bring lasting peace;

4.  Reminds all parties to the conflicts of their obligation to respect human rights and international humanitarian law; calls on the parties to allow civilians wishing to escape from the conflicts to reach places of safety, to facilitate access for the UN and NGOs to areas where internally-displaced people have gathered and to allow emergency medical and humanitarian relief to reach those internally displaced as a matter of urgency;

5.  Reaffirms its support for a unified, stable and democratic Yemen;

6.  Calls on the Yemeni authorities to implement overdue institutional, economic and fiscal reforms, namely strengthening the roles and capabilities of democratically-elected institutions at central and local level, strengthening state institutions, improving the business environment, fostering Yemen’s integration into the global and regional economy, expanding social service provision, bolstering employment and education opportunities, addressing corruption, inflation and unemployment and curbing government subsidies;

7.  Calls on the Yemeni authorities to introduce the reforms needed to improve the human rights situation in the country, particularly by ensuring media freedom, the right to a fair trial, equal treatment for men and women and the abolition of forced marriages; welcomes, in this regard, a recent law which fixes the minimum age for marriage at 17;

8.  Emphasises the importance of holding elections in 2011 and encourages all political parties to implement their agreements setting out the measures required to improve the electoral system and deepen democracy, in particular taking into account the recommendations made by the EU Election Observation Mission following the democratic 2006 presidential and local elections; calls on the Commission and the Council to monitor the process of constitutional and electoral law reform which has led to the postponement of the parliamentary elections;

9.  Welcomes the steps already taken by the authorities to combat corruption, namely the establishment of a Central Organisation for Control and Auditing and a Supreme National Authority for Combating Corruption;

10. Calls for the establishment of a fully-fledged Commission Delegation to Yemen, with responsibility for aid management and with additional human resources based locally; which should also contribute to enhanced aid effectiveness;

11. Calls on the Council and the Commission to provide, in cooperation with other international actors, increased development assistance to Yemen with the aim of stabilising the political situation and improving the economic situation and the living conditions of people in the country; calls, in particular, for consideration to be given to exceptional assistance measures under the Stability Instrument and a specific programme to enhance education under the Development Cooperation Instrument;

12. Calls on the Yemeni Government to ensure, in close cooperation with donors, enhanced aid effectiveness through the use of appropriate coordination, distribution and implementation mechanisms;

13. Calls on the Commission and the Council to ensure that the aid supplied from the European Union budget is used to finance projects which directly benefit as many people as possible and whose effectiveness can be evaluated on the spot;

14. Calls on the Gulf States to hold out the prospect of membership of the Gulf Cooperation Council for Yemen in exchange for the necessary reforms, including progress on curbing government subsidies, addressing corruption and enacting measures to deal with security concerns; in this regard, calls on the Commission and the Council to encourage the Gulf Cooperation Council to become a mediator capable of bringing the various Yemeni parties to the negotiating table and initiating a comprehensive political dialogue;

15. Calls on the Yemeni authorities to step up their efforts to ensure the release of the six European hostages being held on their territory;

16. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the Government and Parliament of Yemen and the Gulf Cooperation Council.