Procedure : 2016/2515(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B8-0155/2016

Texts tabled :

B8-0155/2016

Debates :

Votes :

PV 04/02/2016 - 8.9
CRE 04/02/2016 - 8.9
Explanations of votes
PV 25/02/2016 - 7.15
CRE 25/02/2016 - 7.15
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :

P8_TA(2016)0066

MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION
PDF 283kWORD 75k
See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B8-0151/2016
27.1.2016
PE576.516v01-00
 
B8-0155/2016

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 (2016/2515(RSP))


Victor Boştinaru, Knut Fleckenstein, Enrique Guerrero Salom, Richard Howitt, Nikos Androulakis, Zigmantas Balčytis, Hugues Bayet, Brando Benifei, Goffredo Maria Bettini, José Blanco López, Vilija Blinkevičiūtė, Nicola Caputo, Andi Cristea, Miriam Dalli, Viorica Dăncilă, Isabella De Monte, Tanja Fajon, Eugen Freund, Doru-Claudian Frunzulică, Eider Gardiazabal Rubial, Enrico Gasbarra, Neena Gill, Ana Gomes, Theresa Griffin, Sergio Gutiérrez Prieto, Cătălin Sorin Ivan, Liisa Jaakonsaari, Afzal Khan, Kashetu Kyenge, Javi López, Juan Fernando López Aguilar, Andrejs Mamikins, Costas Mavrides, Marlene Mizzi, Alessia Maria Mosca, Victor Negrescu, Momchil Nekov, Péter Niedermüller, Pier Antonio Panzeri, Demetris Papadakis, Pina Picierno, Tonino Picula, Kati Piri, Miroslav Poche, Soraya Post, Gabriele Preuß, Siôn Simon, Jutta Steinruck, Tibor Szanyi, Marc Tarabella, Elena Valenciano, Julie Ward, Josef Weidenholzer, Carlos Zorrinho on behalf of the S&D Group

European Parliament resolution on the humanitarian situation in Yemen (2016/2515(RSP))  
B8-0155/2016

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on Yemen, and in particular that of 9 July 2015 on the situation in Yemen(1),

–  ‎having regard to 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 Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) health centre in Yemen,

–  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, Federica Mogherini, and the Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Christos Stylianides, on Yemen,

–  having regard to UN Security Council resolutions 2201(2015), 2204 (2015), 2216 (2015) on Yemen, and 2140 (2014) imposing sanctions,

–  having regard to the report by the UN Panel of Experts on Yemen established pursuant to Security Council resolution 2140 (2014),

–  having regard to the statements by the EEAS spokesperson of 20 March, 26 March, 1 April, 26 April and 9 June 2015 on the situation in Yemen,

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 20 April 2015 on Yemen,

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

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

A.  whereas the current crisis in Yemen is the result of a failure by successive governments to meet the legitimate aspirations of the Yemeni people for democracy, economic and social development, stability and security; whereas this failure has created the conditions for an outbreak of violent conflict by failing to establish an inclusive government and fair power-sharing, and systematically ignoring the country’s many tribal tensions, widespread insecurity and economic paralysis;

B.  whereas the Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen, including the use of internationally banned cluster bombs, has led to a disastrous humanitarian situation that affects the population across the country, has serious implications for the region and constitutes a threat to international peace and security; whereas members of Yemen’s civilian population, already affected by dire living conditions, are the first victims of the current military escalation;

C.  whereas since the start of the conflict at least 5 979 people have been killed and 28 208 injured; whereas there are hundreds of women and children among the victims; whereas the humanitarian impact on the civilian population of the ongoing fighting between various militias, bombardments and the disruption of essential services is reaching alarming proportions;

D.  whereas, according to the 2016 Humanitarian Needs Overview (HNO) released in November 2015, 21.2 million people (82 % of the population) are now in need of some form of humanitarian assistance; whereas, similarly, nearly 2.1 million people are currently estimated to be malnourished, including more than 1.3 million children suffering from severe acute malnutrition;

E.  whereas the EU provided for EUR 52 million in new humanitarian aid for the crisis in Yemen and its impact in the Horn of Africa in 2015; whereas the EU will provide up to EUR 2 million for the establishment of the UN Verification and Inspection Mechanism (UNVIM) for commercial shipping to Yemen, thus facilitating the unimpeded flow of commercial items and humanitarian aid to Yemen;

F.  whereas on several occasions airstrikes by the Saudi-led military coalition in Yemen have killed civilians, in violation of international humanitarian law, which requires all possible steps to be taken to prevent or minimise civilian casualties; whereas there are multiple reports that airstrikes have hit civilian targets, including hospitals, schools, markets, grain warehouses, ports and a camp for displaced persons, severely damaging essential infrastructure for the delivery of aid and contributing to the severe food and fuel shortages in the country; whereas the international medical humanitarian organisation Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) (MSF) has come under attack repeatedly during the last three months; whereas an MSF-supported hospital in northern Yemen was bombed on 10 January 2016, resulting in at least six people being killed, a dozen being injured, including MSF staff, and severe damage to medical facilities; whereas this is the latest in a series of attacks on health facilities;

G.  whereas, owing to reduced port capacity and the congestion resulting from damaged infrastructure and facilities, only 15 % of the pre-crisis volume of fuel imports is getting through to the country; whereas, according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC), eight governorates are currently classified at emergency level for food security, namely Sa’ada, Hajjah, Hodeida, Taiz, Al-Dhale, Lahj, Abyan and Hadramaut;

H.  whereas, according to Save the Children, hospitals in at least 18 of the country’s 22 governorates have been closed as a result of, or severely affected by, the fighting or the lack of fuel; whereas, in particular, 153 health centres that previously supplied nutrition to more than 450 000 at-risk children have closed down, together with 158 outpatient clinics responsible for providing basic healthcare to nearly half a million children under the age of five;

I.  whereas, according to UNICEF, the conflict in Yemen has also had a severe impact on children’s access to education, which has come to a standstill for nearly 2 million children, with 3 584 schools – or one in four – having been shut down; whereas 860 of these schools are damaged or sheltering the displaced;

J.  whereas in June 2015 the UN launched an appeal for USD 1.6 billion to allow it to assist 11.7 million people, but whereas it was 56 % funded as at the end of 2015;

K.  whereas a nationwide ceasefire was declared on 15 December 2015 but has subsequently been widely violated; whereas peace talks held by the warring parties in Switzerland in mid-December 2015 failed to produce any major breakthrough with a view to ending the conflict; whereas the resumption of the UN-led peace talks under the auspices of the UN Special Envoy to Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, which was scheduled for 14 January 2016, has been temporarily postponed amid continued violence;

L.  whereas Houthi rebels have laid siege to the town of Taiz, Yemen’s third-largest city, obstructing the delivery of humanitarian aid; whereas, according to Stephen O’Brien, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, some 200 000 civilians trapped there were in dire need of drinking water, food, medical treatment, and other life-saving assistance and protection;

M.  whereas Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has been able to benefit from the deterioration of the political and security situation in Yemen, expanding its presence and augmenting the number and scale of its terrorist attacks; whereas the so-called Islamic State (ISIS) / Daesh has established its presence in Yemen and carried out terrorist attacks against Shiite mosques, killing hundreds of people;

N.  whereas some EU Member States engage in arms trade with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states that may be in violation of the EU Common Position on control of arms exports, which stipulates, inter alia, the following criteria for the Member States’ licensing decisions for the export of conventional arms: respect for human rights in the country of final destination, and respect by that country of international humanitarian law; the internal situation in the country of final destination – Member States should not allow exports that would provoke or prolong armed conflicts or aggravate existing tensions or conflicts in the country of final destination; and the preservation of regional peace, security and stability;

O.  whereas, according to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), Yemen continues to generously host more than 267 000 refugees, while refugees and migrants from the Horn of Africa continue to arrive on its shores, amounting to some 92 446 in 2015, one of the highest annual totals of the past decade; whereas 95 deaths at sea were reported in Yemen in 2015 and there have already been 36 so far;

P.  whereas, according to the UNHCR, close to 170 000 people have left Yemen since late March 2015, 43 % being third-country nationals, 40 % Yemeni nationals and 17 % Somali nationals; whereas this outflow to neighbouring countries, including Djibouti, Ethiopia, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Somalia and Sudan, highlights the regional dimension of the current conflict in Yemen;

1.  Expresses grave concern at the alarming deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Yemen, which is characterised by widespread food insecurity and severe malnutrition, indiscriminate attacks against civilians and medical and aid workers, and the destruction of civilian and medical infrastructure as a result of the intensification of airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition and ground fighting and shelling, despite repeated calls for a renewed cessation of hostilities; reaffirms its commitment to continuing to support Yemen and the Yemeni people;

2.  Strongly condemns the airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition and the naval blockade it has imposed on Yemen, which have led to thousands of deaths, have further destabilised Yemen, are destroying the country’s physical infrastructure, have created conditions more conducive to the expansion of terrorist and extremist organisations such as ISIS/Daesh and AQAP, and have exacerbated an already critical humanitarian situation; strongly condemns, also, the destabilising and violent actions taken by the Houthis, including the siege of the city of Taiz, which has also had dramatic humanitarian consequences for its inhabitants;

3.  Stresses the need for coordinated humanitarian action under UN leadership, and urges all countries to contribute to addressing humanitarian needs; urges all parties to allow the entry and delivery of urgently needed food, medicine, fuel and other necessary assistance through UN and international humanitarian organisation channels in order to address the urgent needs of civilians affected by the crisis, in accordance with the principles of impartiality, neutrality and independence; recalls that it is therefore essential that commercial shipping access to Yemen be further eased;

4.  Calls on all parties involved in the conflict to allow unrestrained and unimpeded access for humanitarian workers and aid relief to the Yemeni population, which is in dire need of vital assistance, and consequently calls for a humanitarian pause to allow life-saving assistance to reach the Yemeni people as a matter of urgency;

5.  Reiterates its call on all sides to comply with international humanitarian law and international human rights law, to ensure the protection of civilians and to refrain from directly targeting civilian infrastructure, in particular medical facilities and water systems, and from using civilian buildings for military purposes;

6.  Reminds all parties that hospitals and medical personnel are explicitly protected under international humanitarian law and that the deliberate targeting of civilians and civilian infrastructure amounts to a war crime; stresses the importance of improving the security of aid workers so that they can respond to attacks more effectively; calls for an impartial and independent investigation into all alleged violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law, including the latest attacks targeting humanitarian infrastructure and personnel;

7.  Calls for the EU to effectively promote compliance with international humanitarian law, as provided for in the relevant EU guidelines; stresses, in particular, the need for the EU, in its political dialogue with Saudi Arabia, to raise the necessity of complying with international humanitarian law; calls on the Council, in the event that such dialogue yields no results, to consider applying restrictive measures and sanctions to the states or individuals involved in violations of international humanitarian law, such as Saudi Arabia, in addition to the existing restrictive measures against Houthis;

8.  Calls on the Council to review the compliance of the Member States with the EU Common Position on control of arms exports with respect to arms exports to Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states, and in particular their compliance with the provisions stipulating that the Member States should base their licensing decisions on, inter alia; respect for human rights in the country of final destination, and respect by that country of international humanitarian law; the internal situation in the country of final destination – Member States should not allow exports that would provoke or prolong armed conflicts or aggravate existing tensions or conflicts in the country of final destination; and the preservation of regional peace, security and stability;

9.  Stresses that there can only be a political, inclusive and negotiated solution to the conflict; urges all parties to engage in good faith in a new round of UN-led peace negotiations as soon as possible; supports the efforts of the UN Special Envoy, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, to hold UN-facilitated peace talks;

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.

(1)

Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0270.

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