Procedure : 2018/2853(RSP)
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Document selected : B8-0445/2018

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See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B8-0444/2018

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 (2018/2853(RSP))

Elena Valenciano, Victor Boştinaru, Pier Antonio Panzeri, Knut Fleckenstein, Enrique Guerrero Salom on behalf of the S&D Group

European Parliament resolution on the situation in Yemen (2018/2853(RSP))  

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on Yemen, in particular those of 25 February 2016(1) and 15 June 2017(2) on the humanitarian situation in Yemen, and of 9 July 2015(3) and 30 November 2017(4) on the situation in Yemen,

–  having regard to the report published on 28 August 2018 by the UN Human Rights Council’s Group of Eminent International and Regional Experts on Yemen on the situation of human rights in Yemen, including violations and abuses since September 2014,

–  having regard to the annual report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights of 24 September 2018 on the situation in Yemen,

–  ‎having regard to the Council conclusions of 25 June 2018 on Yemen,

–  having regard to the joint statement of 13 June 2018 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 latest developments around Hodeidah, Yemen,

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

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

A.  whereas, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the humanitarian situation in Yemen continues to deteriorate every day, as more and more people are being displaced and fleeing ongoing violence and shifting front lines;

B.  whereas, according to the UN, almost 470 000 people have fled Hodeidah Governorate since early June, 75 % of the population depends on humanitarian aid and 17.8 million are food insecure;

C.  whereas since November 2017, the Saudi Arabian-led coalition has established a blockade on all imports to the Houthi-controlled territory, with the exception of urgent humanitarian and relief materials; whereas, even if this exception is respected, humanitarian aid alone is not sufficient, as the civilian population needs commercially imported essential goods; whereas according to the OCHA, Yemen has met just 21 % of its fuel requirements and 68 % of its food import needs since the blockade began; whereas, in certain cases, Houthi forces have blocked the delivery of essential medical supplies, food and humanitarian aid to government-controlled cities;

D.  whereas the Saudi-led international coalition airstrike that killed 26 children and wounded at least 19 more in or near a school bus in northern Yemen on 9 August 2018 has been deemed ‘an apparent war crime’ by Human Rights Watch;

E.  whereas the laws of war prohibit deliberate and indiscriminate attacks on civilians; whereas the findings of the UN Group of Eminent International and Regional Experts on Yemen strongly suggest that parties to the armed conflict have perpetrated – and continue to perpetrate – violations and crimes under international law and that the individuals who committed them may therefore be prosecuted;

F.  whereas since March 2015, more than 2 500 children have been killed, more than 3 500 children have been maimed or injured and a growing number of children have been recruited by armed forces on the ground;

G.  whereas the Saudi-led coalition bears the responsibility for dozens of indiscriminate and disproportionate airstrikes, which have killed and wounded civilians and destroyed homes, schools, hospitals and mosques, in violation of the laws of war; whereas the situation in Yemen poses grave risks to the stability of the wider region;

H.  whereas the Saudi-led coalition has created a network of at least 18 secret detention centres in southern Yemen, in which detainees have been subjected to abuse, including beatings, the use of electric shocks and sexual violence; whereas some prisoners died shortly after their arrest, seemingly having been tortured; whereas these detentions, insofar as they have taken place within the context of an armed conflict, should be investigated as war crimes;

I.  whereas Houthi de-facto authorities have conducted a systematic campaign of harassment against human rights defenders, journalists and religious minorities; whereas 24 Yemenis from the Baha’i minority, including one child, have faced charges that could result in the death penalty, for nothing other than their beliefs and peaceful actions;

J.  whereas Houthi forces have indiscriminately shelled civilian-population areas, especially in Taiz, killing and injuring hundreds of civilians; whereas they have also used banned anti-personnel landmines and recruited children;

K.  whereas Kamel Jendoubi, the Chairman of the UN Group of Eminent International and Regional Experts on Yemen, which on 28 August 2018 issued a report to the Human Rights Council on the human rights situation in the country, is the victim of a smear campaign aimed at intimidating the Group of Eminent Experts and casting doubts on its findings;

L.  whereas there is an international arms embargo in place against the Iranian-backed Houthi forces and, according to the 18th EU Annual Report on Arms Exports, EU Member States have continued to authorise transfers of arms to Saudi Arabia since the escalation of the conflict, in violation of Council Common Position 2008/944/CFSP of 8 December 2008 on arms export control;

M.  whereas Parliament’s resolutions of 25 February 2016 and 30 November 2017 on the situation in Yemen called on the VP/HR to launch an initiative to impose an EU arms embargo on Saudi Arabia, in line with Common Position 2008/944/CFSP;

N.  whereas despite repeated calls for a peaceful solution to the crisis, Saudi Arabia has intensified its intimidation campaigns directed at those countries that have chosen to restrict the sale of weapons they suspected could be used in Yemen in contravention of international humanitarian law;

1.  Calls on all belligerents to ensure that all armed forces under their control, including security militias, adhere to international humanitarian law; stop targeting the civilian population and civilian buildings, including hospitals, schools, markets and mosques; and refrain from employing weapons that are inherently indiscriminate, such as cluster munitions and landmines;

2.  Strongly condemns the airstrikes and blockade imposed by the Saudi-led international coalition on the territory controlled by Houthi forces, as they target and directly inflict damage on Yemen’s civilian population and are in contravention of international humanitarian law; notes that such actions have caused thousands of civilian casualties and exacerbated the country’s instability, which has been exploited by terrorist organisations such as ISIS/Daesh and al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP);

3.  Strongly condemns the destabilising and violent actions undertaken by the Houthi forces, including the siege of the city of Taiz, which brought disastrous humanitarian consequences for its population;

4.  Calls on all parties involved to allow total and immediate humanitarian access to the conflict-affected areas in order to bring assistance to those in need; calls on the Council and the UN Security Council, in implementing its Resolution 2216 (2015), to identify individuals obstructing the delivery of humanitarian assistance in Yemen and to impose targeted sanctions on them;

5.  Recalls that all foreign governments involved in the conflict in Yemen, notably Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, have the obligation to respect, protect and fulfil the rights of all persons under their control, and that both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are signatories to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child;

6.  Strongly condemns the documented existence of detention centres operated by militias supported by the Government of the United Arab Emirates, where captives are reportedly tortured and held without trial for up to two years; urges the Government of the United Arab Emirates to bring such facilities under the oversight of the Yemeni Prosecutor General, and to account for the fate of those kept in custody;

7.  Calls on the Specialised Criminal Court in Houthi-controlled territory in Sana’a to acquit and release Asmaa al-Omeissy, Saeed al-Ruwaished and Ahmed Bawazeer, who were forcibly disappeared, tortured and sentenced to death after a grossly unfair trial for allegedly aiding an enemy country;

8.  Calls on the Specialised Criminal Court in Sana’a, furthermore, to immediately release the 25 followers of the Baha’i faith who are currently detained for peacefully practising their religion and who face charges punishable by death;

9.  Welcomes the annual report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on the situation in Yemen, in which the UN Human Rights Council decided to extend the mandate of the Group of Eminent International and Regional Experts for a further period of one year, renewable as authorised by the Human Rights Council;

10.  Calls for the European Union and all Member States to provide cohesive, prompt and effective support to the Group of Eminent International and Regional Experts across all relevant UN bodies, not least in the Human Rights Council;

11.  Urges all parties to the armed conflict to take all the measures necessary to ensure effective, impartial and independent investigations into all alleged violations and abuses of human rights and alleged violations of international humanitarian law, in accordance with international standards, with a view to ending impunity;

12.  Calls for Saudi Arabia’s membership of the UN Human Rights Council to be suspended, particularly in view of the country’s forthcoming involvement in the Universal Periodic Review Process and in line with the requests already advanced by the European Parliament;

13.  Urges the VP/HR, the European External Action Service (EEAS) and the Member States to continue to conduct a dialogue with Saudi Arabia on human rights and fundamental freedoms; expresses its readiness to hold a constructive and open dialogue with Saudi authorities on the fulfilment of their international human rights commitments; calls for an exchange of expertise on judicial and legal matters in order to strengthen the protection of individual rights in Saudi Arabia;

14.  Calls on the Council to take effective steps to promote compliance with international humanitarian law, as provided for by the relevant EU guidelines; reiterates, in particular, the need for the strict application by all EU Member States of the rules laid down in Common Position 2008/944/CFSP; recalls, in this regard, Parliament’s resolutions on the situation in Yemen of 25 February 2016 and 30 November 2017; urges, in this connection, the VP/HR to propose, for establishment by the European Council, an embargo on any arms and equipment that can be used to carry out internal repression and maintain the ongoing blockade, for all countries involved in the conflict in Yemen, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates;

15.  Calls on the Commission, the VP/HR and the Council to act in international fora, taking all the necessary steps to end the hostilities;

16.  Reserves the right to reconsider the matter until a negotiated solution is reached; recommends that its Subcommittee on Human Rights monitor human rights developments in Yemen and produce a report on the violations of human and civil rights perpetrated in the country;

17.  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-Generals of the United Nations, the Gulf Cooperation Council and the League of Arab States, and the Government of Yemen.


OJ C 35, 31.1.2018, p. 142.


OJ C 331, 18.9.2018, p. 146.


OJ C 265, 11.8.2017, p. 93.


Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0473.

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