Procedure : 2018/2853(RSP)
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Document selected : B8-0447/2018

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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))

Bodil Valero, Barbara Lochbihler, Molly Scott Cato, Florent Marcellesi, Yannick Jadot, Ana Miranda, Michel Reimon, Igor Šoltes on behalf of the Verts/ALE 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 30 November 2017 on the situation in Yemen(1), of 25 February 2016 on the humanitarian situation in Yemen(2) and of 9 July 2015 on the situation in Yemen(3), and to its resolution of 28 April 2016 on attacks on hospitals and schools as violations of international humanitarian law(4),

–  having regard to the statement by the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (VP/HR), Federica Mogherini, and Commissioner Christos Stylianides of 13 June 2018 on the latest developments around Hodeidah, Yemen, and the statement by the European External Action Service Spokesperson of 10 August 2018 on the situation in Yemen,

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

–  having regard to the report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights of 17 August 2018 containing the findings of the Group of Independent Eminent International and Regional Experts on the situation of human rights in Yemen, including violations and abuses since September 2014,

–  having regard to the relevant UN Security Council resolutions, in particular resolution 2402 (2018) extending the sanctions regime,

–  having regard to the EU Guidelines on promoting compliance with international humanitarian law,

–  having regard to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and the additional protocols thereto,

–  having regard to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court,

–  having regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,

–  having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,

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

A.  whereas in June 2018 the Saudi-led coalition started an offensive to take the city of Hodeidah; whereas the ceasefire negotiations led by the UN Special Envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, resulted in a temporary cessation of the offensive; whereas the collapse of the latest attempt to hold peace talks in Geneva led to a resumption of hostilities on 7 September 2018; whereas since the offensive started, civilian deaths have increased by 164 %;

B.  whereas the Yemeni Government, backed by the Saudi-led coalition, seized the main road connecting Hodeidah to Sana’a in September 2018, blocking the supply route between these two cities;

C.  whereas 70 % of Yemen’s aid and commercial imports enter through Hodeidah and the nearby port of Saleef, providing food, fuel and medicine that the population needs for survival; whereas a further attack on Hodeidah would have devastating consequences for civilians; whereas parties to the conflict are obliged to allow and facilitate the rapid and unimpeded passage of humanitarian relief, including medicine, food and other items necessary for survival;

D.  whereas the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has designated Yemen the world’s largest humanitarian crisis, with more than 22 million people in need of humanitarian or protection assistance; whereas 17 million people are suffering from food insecurity, of whom more than 8 million are at risk of starvation;

E.  whereas according to the findings of the UN Group of Independent Eminent International and Regional Experts (GEE) on Yemen, there were at least 16 706 civilian casualties between March 2015 and June 2018; whereas the actual figure is likely to be significantly higher; whereas the coalition air strikes have caused most of the documented civilian casualties, hitting residential areas, markets and medical facilities in clear violation of the Geneva Conventions;

F.  whereas the UN GEE on Yemen concluded that individuals in the Yemeni Government and the coalition, including from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), have committed acts that may amount to war crimes, including cruel treatment and torture and the use of precision-guided munitions to strike civilian targets;

G.  whereas arms transfers and military support to the parties in conflict are enabling the blockade and ongoing air campaign, and are contributing to the humanitarian crisis and the continued failure to find a political resolution to the conflict;

H.  whereas Kamel Jendoubi, Chairperson of the UN GEE on Yemen, is the victim of a smear campaign aimed at intimidating the UN GEE and casting doubt on its findings;

I.  whereas justice, the rule of law and the fight against impunity constitute essential elements for long-lasting peace and conflict resolution efforts;

J.  whereas in a country dependent on imports, the Saudi-led coalition has established a naval and aerial blockade on territory controlled by the Houthi rebels, which has impeded the delivery of life-saving goods to the civilian population and the possibility for civilians to travel into and out of the country;

K.  whereas the UN has established a verification and inspection mechanism in Red Sea ports not controlled by the Yemeni Government; whereas despite this, the Saudi-led coalition is carrying out additional inspections that can last for weeks and has denied entry to vessels on an arbitrary basis, seriously jeopardising the delivery of humanitarian aid to the civilian population; whereas the unreasonable delay or denial of entry to vessels to Yemeni ports amounts to an unlawful unilateral coercive measure under international law;

L.  whereas Yemen and the UAE have signed the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court but have yet to ratify it; whereas Saudi Arabia has neither signed nor ratified the Rome Statute; whereas several provisions of the Rome Statute, including those related to war crimes, reflect customary international law;

M.  whereas King Salman bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia issued a royal decree on 10 July 2018 that broadly states that soldiers serving in ‘Operation Restoring Hope’ are exempt from all military and disciplinary penalties; whereas this decree is in violation of the Geneva Conventions and the obligation to enact criminal legislation for all individuals who have committed grave breaches of international humanitarian law;

N.  whereas there has been a dramatic increase in extraterritorial and extrajudicial lethal US operations in Yemen, notably with drones, which have reportedly resulted in numerous civilian casualties; whereas there is evidence that certain EU Member States provide direct or indirect support to such lethal operations through intelligence and other means;

O.  whereas the Saudi-led coalition has continued to impede the work of international media and human rights organisations by preventing their personnel from taking United Nations flights; whereas taking into account the insecurity faced, this measure impedes independent and credible coverage of the situation in Yemen, and contributes to global neglect of the conflict; whereas on 17 September 2018 a coalition strike hit the Yemeni Al-Maraweah Radio Broadcasting Centre;

P.  whereas Houthi rebels have indiscriminately shelled civilian population areas, especially in Taiz, killing and injuring hundreds of civilians, using banned antipersonnel landmines, recruiting children and holding people unlawfully, actions which may amount to war crimes; whereas the Specialised Criminal Court in Sana’a has condemned individuals to death following trials which did not comply with international standards;

Q.  whereas several reports indicate the use of torture and sexual violence, including rape of adult male detainees, by UAE personnel in several detention facilities, including the Bureiqa coalition facility and the Bir Ahmed prison;

R.  whereas gender-based sexual violence has increased exponentially since the start of the conflict; whereas the already limited capacity to address sexual and gender-based violence in the criminal justice system has collapsed, and no investigations have been conducted in relation to practices such as abducting and raping women, or threatening to, as a way of extorting money from their families and communities;

S.  whereas human rights defenders have faced relentless harassment, threats and smear campaigns from all parties to the conflict; whereas women human rights defenders, journalists and activists have faced specific repression on the basis of their gender;

1.  Calls on all parties, notably Saudi Arabia and its allies, to immediately cease their attacks against civilians in violation of applicable international human rights and international humanitarian law; calls on all parties to fulfil their obligations to facilitate the rapid and unimpeded passage of humanitarian relief and other goods indispensable to the population and unhindered access to medical facilities both in Yemen and abroad;

2.  Condemns the actions taken by the Saudi-led coalition, specifically the indiscriminate and disproportionate airstrikes and the naval blockade it has imposed on Yemen; stresses that such actions have caused thousands of civilian casualties and exacerbated the country’s instability, which has been exploited by terrorist and extremist organisations such as ISIS/Daesh and al-Qaeda; denounces the violent attacks undertaken by the Houthi rebels, including the siege of the city of Taiz;

3.  Stresses the importance of the port of Hodeidah as a distribution hub for the commercial and humanitarian items needed and calls on all parties to ensure the full and effective functioning of this port as the lifeline for humanitarian support and the commercial access point for essential supplies; stresses that a further attack on the port of Hodeidah by the Saudi-led coalition would have catastrophic consequences on civilians and would further hinder the attempt to hold peace negotiations;

4.  Recalls that there can be no military solution to the conflict in Yemen and that the crisis can only be resolved through a negotiation process involving all parties concerned; supports the efforts of UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths to achieve the resumption of negotiations and urges all parties to engage with these efforts in a constructive manner and without preconditions; urges all parties to give the UN Special Envoy full and unhindered access to all parts of the territory;

5.  Calls on all parties to immediately cease all attacks against freedom of expression, including by means of detention, enforced disappearance and intimidation, and to release all journalists and human rights defenders detained solely for having exercised their human rights; calls on the Saudi Arabian authorities to cease obstructing the work of international media and humanitarian personnel in relation to the conflict;

6.  Deplores the significant arms deals made by EU Member States, among others Spain, France, Germany and the United Kingdom, with Saudi Arabia and the UAE, which run counter to Council Common Position 2008/944/CFSP on arms exports and the Arms Trade Treaty; calls, once again, for an EU-wide ban on the export, sale, update and maintenance of any form of security equipment to members of the Saudi-led coalition, including Saudi Arabia and the UAE, given the serious breaches of international humanitarian and human rights law committed in Yemen; calls on the VP/HR to report on the current state of military and security cooperation by EU Member States with the members of the Saudi-led coalition;

7.  Is particularly dismayed by the Spanish Government’s recent decision to proceed with the sale of 400 precision bombs to Saudi Arabia, after having announced that the sale was not going ahead; profoundly regrets the lack of solidarity and courage shown by EU Member States when the decision to halt the sale was first announced;

8.  Underlines that arms exporters that fuel the conflict in Yemen risk complicity in war crimes and are non-compliant with several criteria of the legally binding Council Common Position 2008/944/CFSP on arms exports; deplores the dramatic increase in US lethal counter-terror operations in Yemen; urges the Council, the VP/HR and the Member States to reaffirm the EU’s position under international law and ensure that Member States do not perpetrate, facilitate or otherwise take part in unlawful lethal operations; urges the VP/HR, the Member States and third countries to commit to conducting investigations, in line with their obligations under international law, into credible allegations of potentially unlawful deaths and to adopting the Common Position on the use of armed drones;

9.  Praises the work undertaken by the UN GEE on Yemen and expresses its full solidarity with its Chairman, Kamel Jendoubi; welcomes the renewal of its mandate by the Human Rights Council in order to ensure that a thorough examination is made of all violations and abuses of international human rights law and that those responsible for grave human rights violations can be held to account; is dismayed by the active opposition of the Governments of Yemen, the UAE and Saudi Arabia to the renewal;

10.  Calls on the countries and organisations that made pledges at the 2018 Yemen High-Level Pledging Event to honour these pledges without delay and to increase their commitments in order to cover the total needs announced by the UN;

11.  Calls on the Council to fully implement UN Security Council resolution 2216 (2015) by identifying the individuals obstructing the delivery of humanitarian assistance and those planning, directing or committing acts that violate applicable international human rights law or international humanitarian law, or acts that constitute human rights abuses in Yemen, and imposing targeted measures against them; recalls that no individuals in the coalition have been designated for sanctions by the Sanctions Committee, despite information on repeated coalition violations gathered by the UN GEE on Yemen, which provides information to assist with the full implementation of the UN Security Council resolution;

12.  Denounces the destruction of Yemeni cultural heritage by the Saudi-led coalition’s airstrikes, including the Old City of Sana’a and the historic city of Zabid; regrets and recalls the responsibility of the coalition for this destruction and stresses that it will be held accountable also for such acts; calls for the suspension of the voting rights of Saudi Arabia and the UAE in UNESCO governing bodies pending an independent and impartial investigation into the responsibilities of both countries in the destruction of cultural heritage; calls on the UN Secretary-General to refer the issue of the protection of all cultural sites under threat from the conflict in Yemen to the Security Council, with a view to the adoption of a resolution on the matter;

13.  Calls on the EU to take the initiative at the next Human Rights Council meeting to raise the issue of membership of states with deeply questionable human rights records; calls for Saudi Arabia’s and the UAE’s membership of the Human Rights Council to be suspended; urges voting states to consider the human rights records of candidate countries to the Human Rights Council as paramount when deciding on their vote;

14.  Urges the Member States to take all necessary measures to hold alleged perpetrators to account, notably through the application of the principle of universal jurisdiction and by investigating and prosecuting the alleged perpetrators of atrocity crimes in Yemen;

15.  Praises the work of local and international civil society organisations in documenting evidence of atrocity crimes, including the destruction of cultural heritage; calls on the EU and its Member States to provide further and complete assistance to these actors;

16.  Calls on the Specialised Criminal Court in Sana’a to refrain from using the death penalty and to immediately and unconditionally release the followers of the Baha’i faith who are currently detained for peacefully practising their religion and face charges punishable by death;

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 European External Action Service, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the UN Secretary-General, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Secretary-General of the Gulf Cooperation Council, the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, the Government of Yemen, the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Government of the United Arab Emirates.



Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0473.


OJ C 35, 31.1.2018, p. 142.


OJ C 265, 11.8.2017, p. 93.


OJ C 66, 21.2.2018, p. 17.

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