Procedure : 2015/2760(RSP)
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Document selected : B8-0688/2015

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PV 09/07/2015 - 12.6
CRE 09/07/2015 - 12.6
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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 situation in Yemen (2015/2760(RSP))

Fabio Massimo Castaldo, Ignazio Corrao on behalf of the EFDD Group

European Parliament resolution on the situation in Yemen (2015/2760(RSP))  

The European Parliament,

–       having regard to the statement by the EEAS spokesperson on the possible resumption of UN-led talks on Yemen in Geneva on 14 June 2015,

–       having regard to the joint statement of 11 May 2015 on the proposed truce in Yemen by the Vice-President / High Representative, Federica Mogherini, and the Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Christos Stylianides,

–       having regard to the joint statement of 1 April 2015 by VP/HR Mogherini and Commissioner Stylianides on the impact of fighting in Yemen,

–       having regard to its previous resolutions on Yemen,

–       having regards to the Council conclusions of 21 April 2015 on Yemen,

–       having regard to UN Security Council resolutions 2014 (2011), 2051 (2012), 2140 (2014), 2201 (2015) and 2216 (2015),

–       having regard to the Peace and National Partnership Agreement of 21 September 2014,

–       having regard to the statement of 24 May 2015 by the Co-Chairs of the 24th Gulf Cooperation Council / European Union Joint Council and Ministerial Meeting,

–       having regard to the transition agreement for Yemen of 2011,

–       having regard to the UN Security Council press statement of 25 June 2015 on the situation in Yemen,

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

A.     whereas a civil war is taking place in Yemen involving multiple factions: the Houthi forces which ousted former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, forces loyal to the former government, and southern separatists centred around Aden, South Yemen and the Ad Dali’ Governorate; whereas Islamic terrorist groups – Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and militias pledged to Islamic State / Da’esh – are also taking advantage of the crisis; whereas Yemen’s security forces have split loyalties;

B.     whereas the country’s president, Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, was forced to flee on 25 March 2015 after rebels and their allies entered his refuge in the south, captured its airport and put a bounty on his head; whereas Hadi and the government are now in exile in Saudi Arabia;

C.     whereas in March 2015 the Arab League Summit endorsed a Saudi-led military operation against the Houthi insurgents; whereas the Saudi-led and US-backed coalition began launching air strikes against the rebels on 26 March, and a near-blockade of Yemen’s ports has made it very difficult to deliver humanitarian aid;

D.     whereas on Wednesday, 1 July the UN declared a level-3 humanitarian emergency (the highest) in the conflict-torn country, and UN officials have said Yemen is one step away from famine; whereas the WHO has warned that the Yemeni healthcare system is on the verge of collapse;

E.     whereas the conflict in Yemen has left an estimated 21 million people, or around 80 % of the population, in need of some sort of humanitarian aid; whereas the latest UN figures say half Yemen’s population is now food-insecure in the wake of a naval blockade imposed by the Saudi-led coalition;

F.     whereas the number of people dying from disease and malnutrition is likely soon to exceed those being killed by the conflict, and so far in Aden a total of 8 000 cases of dengue fever have been reported, with 590 deaths; whereas other diseases such as malaria and waterborne diseases are also on the rise, while health facilities struggle to remain functioning;

G.     whereas 70 % of the population of Yemen is under 30 and mostly uneducated; whereas young people feel they have no choice but to enlist in order to survive;

H.     whereas Yemen is a stronghold for AQAP and increasingly for Islamic State / Da’esh; whereas on 29 June a car bomb exploded in the capital, Sana’a, targeting a crowd that had gathered to mourn the deaths caused by another car bomb the previous week (also wounding at least 28 people); whereas both attacks have been claimed by Islamic State in Yemen;

I.      whereas UN Security Council resolution 2216 (2015) has imposed an arms embargo and further targeted sanctions on the Houthi leader and other individuals whose actions are against Yemen’s peace and stability;

J.      whereas UN-sponsored negotiations on the Yemen crisis were held in June 2015 in Geneva, but peace talks between warring factions failed to produce a ceasefire agreement; whereas UN spokesman Stéphane Dujarric said that no date had been set for a second round of talks;

K.     whereas the US-backed and Saudi-led coalition of Arab states has been bombing the Houthis and their allies since March; whereas the UN says that since the bombing campaign began more than 3 000 people have been killed and over 14 000 injured;

L.     whereas it is clear under international humanitarian law that belligerents must take all possible steps to prevent or minimise civilian casualties; whereas there is no indication that the Saudi-led military coalition has done anything to prevent or redress such violations;

M.    whereas on 28 June an air strike hit the UNDP compound in Aden, resulting in damage and the death of a security guard; whereas the parties to the conflict have regularly targeted residential areas and civilian infrastructure either directly or collaterally since the start of the conflict;

N.     whereas so far the Saudi-led aerial campaign has failed to push back the Houthis as intended, and the conflict is now being fought on at least six fronts across the country;

O.     whereas the total number of civilian deaths in the Gulf state now exceeds 1 400; whereas it is estimated that the total number of internally displaced people has reached more than 300 000;

P.     whereas Yemen is also directly affected by the humanitarian crisis in the Horn of Africa, as more than 250 000 refugees, mostly from Somalia, are stranded in the country and are living in precarious conditions; whereas in addition Yemen is hosting about one million Ethiopian migrants, according to government estimates;

Q.     whereas Yemen, especially in the south, is an oil-rich country and whereas the Bab el‑Mandeb strait is a chokepoint connecting the world’s most important shipping routes, including for the transport of an estimated 4 % of the global oil supply;

R.     whereas the country’s extensive archaeological and historical heritage has been increasingly under threat following a surge in aerial bombing raids in the Old City of Sana’a;

1.      Is deeply worried by the fast-deteriorating security and humanitarian situation in Yemen, which is having a destabilising effect on the whole region; extends its condolences to the families of the victims and its sympathy to the Yemeni population;

2.      Condemns the destabilising actions of the Houthis and military units loyal to ex‑President Saleh and all acts of violence perpetrated by all sides; asks all parties to end the use of violence immediately and calls for a humanitarian pause in order to allow assistance to be brought to those in extreme need;

3.      Strongly condemns the attacks by AQAP and Islamic State / Da’esh, which are taking place in an already dramatic situation; is extremely worried that such terrorist organisations may take advantage of the current situation, and welcomes the fact that the EU has reiterated its firm commitment and determination to tackle the threat of extremist and terrorist groups;

4.      Is worried by the fact that the conflict in Yemen must be considered in the context of the regional power struggle; calls on Iran and Saudi Arabia to support confidence‑building measures that could de-escalate the situation, and to act constructively and support a return of the parties to the conflict to the negotiating table, while considering the view that a viable long-term peaceful settlement might not necessarily be based on the continued unity of Yemen, as defined by its current united border;

5.      Believes that only a mutually acceptable political solution can overcome the stalemate; believes that such a solution should be based on the GCC Initiative and the Peace and National Partnership agreement, which, despite being unable to stabilise the country, remains the only viable option;

6.      Is convinced that only a broad political consensus and peaceful negotiations among the main political groups, with delegates who genuinely represent and have the support of the political organisations on whose behalf they seek to negotiate, in an atmosphere free from fear, can provide a sustainable solution, put an end to the violence, restore peace, and preserve the unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Yemen;

7.      Strongly supports the call made by the UN envoy for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, to all parties to the conflict to agree to a humanitarian pause during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan in order to allow desperately needed aid to be delivered on an equal basis to both sides of Yemen, through the ports of both Aden and Hodeidah;

8.      Welcomes the Commission’s allocation for 2015 of EUR 25 million in humanitarian aid funding to assist populations across the country affected by acute malnutrition, conflict and forced displacement, but believes that more should be done; calls for additional funds to be made available, in coordination with other international donors, to prevent a humanitarian crisis and provide essential aid to those in need;

9.      Welcomes the valuable contribution of civil society organisations that are doing most of the work on the ground in Yemen, from distributing water and food to isolated villages to setting up remote clinics, all with limited funding;

10.    Does not support the Saudi-led coalition air strikes on the country, as they have resulted in numerous civilian deaths and injuries, and believes they are contrary to international humanitarian law, since attacks that fail to discriminate between civilians and combatants or cause disproportionate civilian harm are prohibited; calls on Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners to observe international humanitarian law, to promptly investigate all alleged violations, and to provide compensation to civilian victims;

11.    Is seriously worried by the Saudi-led coalition’s de facto air and sea blockade, which is in violation of the laws of war, as it directly threatens the population’s survival; is particularly concerned at the fuel shortage, which means that food, water and medical supplies cannot be transported and water pumps and generators cannot operate, thus creating the risk of basic services for the population coming to a complete standstill;

12.    Is extremely worried that unless a ceasefire and a political solution are reached, the continuing conflict and the land, sea and air blockade are likely to have a dramatic impact on the humanitarian situation, with long-term consequences in terms of livelihoods, food security and child nutrition;

13.    Calls on the coalition to implement measures that would allow the rapid entry of tankers to deliver fuel to the civilian population, particularly for hospitals and water pumps; at the same time calls on the Houthis and other armed groups to permit the transfer of such fuel to the civilian population and to UN agencies and humanitarian organisations;

14.    Stresses the need for coordinated humanitarian action under UN leadership; calls on the international community to commit to a sizeable increase in humanitarian aid;

15.    Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Vice-President of the European 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 GCC, the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, and the Government of Yemen.

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