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Procedure : 2021/2539(RSP)
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PV 09/02/2021 - 10
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PV 11/02/2021 - 8
PV 11/02/2021 - 17

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Thursday, 11 February 2021 - Brussels
Humanitarian and political situation in Yemen

European Parliament resolution of 11 February 2021 on the humanitarian and political situation in Yemen (2021/2539(RSP))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on Yemen, in particular those of 4 October 2018(1), 30 November 2017(2), 25 February 2016(3) and 9 July 2015(4) on the situation in Yemen, and its resolution of 28 April 2016 on attacks on hospitals and schools as violations of international humanitarian law(5),

–  having regard to the statement of 8 February 2021 by the spokesperson of the European External Action Service (EEAS) on the latest attacks by Ansar Allah,

–  having regard to the statement by the spokesperson of the EEAS of 12 January 2021 on the US designation of Ansar Allah as a terrorist organisation,

–  having regard to the statements by the spokesperson of the EEAS of 30 December 2020 on the attack in Aden, of 19 December 2020 on the formation of the new government, of 17 October 2020 on the release of detainees, of 28 September 2020 on the prisoners’ exchange, and of 31 July 2020 on the release of members of the Baha’i community,

–  having regard to the Joint Communiqué of 17 September 2020 by Germany, Kuwait, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the United States, China, France, Russia and the European Union on the conflict in Yemen,

–  having regard to the statement of 9 April 2020 by the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (VP/HR) on the ceasefire announcement in Yemen,

–  having regard to the joint statements by the EU Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarčič and the former Swedish Minister for International Development Cooperation Peter Eriksson of 14 February 2020 and of 24 September 2020 entitled ‘UNGA: EU and Sweden join forces to avoid famine in Yemen’,

–  having regard to the relevant Council and European Council conclusions on Yemen, in particular to the Council conclusions of 25 June 2018,

–  having regard to the final report of the UN Panel of Experts on Yemen of 22 January 2021,

–  having regard to the relevant statements by UN experts on Yemen, in particular those of 3 December 2020 entitled ‘UN Group of Eminent International and Regional Experts Briefs the UN Security Council Urging an end to impunity, an expansion of sanctions, and the referral by the UN Security Council of the situation in Yemen to the International Criminal Court’, of 12 November 2020 entitled ‘UN experts: technical team must be allowed to avert oil spill disaster threatening Yemen’, of 15 October 2020 entitled ‘UAE: UN experts say forced return of ex-Guantanamo detainees to Yemen is illegal, risks lives’, and of 23 April 2020 entitled ‘UN experts appeal for immediate and unconditional release of the Baha’is in Yemen’,

–  having regard to the report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights of 2 September 2020 on the implementation of technical assistance provided to the National Commission of Inquiry to investigate allegations of violations and abuses committed by all parties to the conflict in Yemen (A/HRC/45/57),

–  having regard to the report of the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict of 23 December 2020 on ‘children and armed conflict’,

—  having regard to the third report of the UN Group of Eminent International and Regional Experts on Yemen of 28 September 2020 on the situation of human rights in Yemen, including violations and abuses since September 2014,

–  having regard to the interactive dialogue of the UN Human Rights Council with the UN Group of Eminent International and Regional Experts on Yemen (UN GEE) of 29 September 2020,

–  having regard to the relevant UN Security Council resolutions, in particular resolution 2534 of 14 July 2020 renewing the mandate of the UN Mission to Support the Hodeidah Agreement (UNMHA) until 15 July 2021 and resolution 2511 of 25 February 2020 renewing the Yemen sanctions regime for one year,

–  having regard to the statement by the UN Secretary-General on the second anniversary of the Stockholm Agreement of 14 December 2020,

–  having regard to the EU Guidelines on promoting compliance with international humanitarian law(6),

–  having regard to the Stockholm Agreement of 13 December 2018,

–  having regard to the Riyadh Agreement of 5 November 2019,

–  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 132(2) and (4) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas 10 years ago, in February 2011, mass protests began in what became known as the Yemeni revolution, which later led to the departure of President Ali Abdullah Saleh after 33 years of dictatorship; whereas this uprising reflected the deep aspirations of the people of Yemen for democracy, freedom, social justice and human dignity;

B.  whereas since the start of the armed conflict in March 2015, at least 133 000 people have been killed and 3,6 million have been internally displaced; whereas the Stockholm Agreement signed in December 2018 intended to create safe humanitarian corridors, prisoner exchanges and a ceasefire in the Red Sea area; whereas the parties have since violated the ceasefire agreement and over 5 000 civilians have been killed; whereas most civilians have been killed by the Saudi-led coalition’s air strikes;

C.  whereas analysts largely agree that, by failing to pursue an inclusive political path, Yemen has been locked in rising tribal and political tensions and a bitter proxy war between Iranian-backed Houthi rebels and Saudi Arabia, bringing the wider region directly into a complex conflict; whereas Saudi Arabia perceives Houthi rebels in Yemen as a proxy Iranian force, while Iran has condemned the Saudi-led offensive and called for an immediate halt to Saudi-led airstrikes;

D.  whereas during the course of 2020, fighting intensified, in particular in and around Jawf, Ma’rib, Nihm, Ta’izz, Hodeidah, Bayda’ and Abyan, with the direct support and backing of third states, including by the Saudi-led coalition of the Yemeni Government and by the UAE of the Southern Transitional Council (STC), while the Iran-backed Houthi movement still controls the majority of northern and central Yemen, accounting for 70 % of the Yemeni population; whereas severe violations of human rights and international humanitarian law continue to be committed on a wide scale with no accountability for the perpetrators;

E.  whereas the EU is concerned about reports of renewed attacks carried out by the Houthi movement in the Ma’rib and Al-Jawf Governorates, as well as repeated attempts to make cross-border attacks on the territory of Saudi Arabia; whereas the renewed military action and offensives at this particular time seriously undermine ongoing efforts by UN Special Envoy, Martin Griffiths, as well as the overall efforts to bring the war in Yemen to an end;

F.  whereas the mandate of the UN GEE was renewed in September 2020 by the Human Rights Council; whereas the UN GEE’s most recent report from September 2020 shows that all parties to the conflict continue to commit a range of violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law, including attacks that may amount to war crimes;

G.  whereas the verified human rights violations include the arbitrary deprivation of life, enforced disappearances, arbitrary detention, gender-based violence, including sexual violence, torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, the recruitment and use in hostilities of children, the denial of the right to a fair trial, and violations of fundamental freedoms and economic, social and cultural rights; whereas the widespread use of landmines by the Houthi movement poses a constant threat to civilians and contributes to displacement; whereas the Houthi movement, government-affiliated forces, and the UAE and UAE-backed Yemeni forces have been directly responsible for arbitrary detentions and enforced disappearances;

H.  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; whereas the UN GEE has called on the UN Security Council to refer the situation in Yemen to the International Criminal Court and to expand the list of persons subject to Security Council sanctions;

I.  whereas on 26 December 2020, a new 24-member Yemeni Government was sworn in by President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi on the basis of the Saudi-brokered Riyadh Agreement; whereas Yemen’s new power-sharing government features equal representation from both the country’s northern and southern regions, including five members of the STC; whereas regretfully it does not include any women among its members for the first time in over 20 years; whereas a new dispute has broken out between the internationally recognised government (IRG) and the STC over a judicial appointment, confirming the instability of the joint government; whereas renewed military conflict has erupted between IRG forces (supported by a Saudi-led coalition) and the Houthi movement; whereas since the start of the conflict women have been entirely absent from the negotiation processes, but nevertheless remain central to finding a long-lasting solution to the conflict;

J.  whereas the war has led to the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, with nearly 80 % of the population – more than 24 million people – in need of humanitarian support, including over 12 million children; whereas the situation on the ground continues to worsen as 50 000 Yemenis are already living in famine-like conditions; whereas according to the most recent Integrated Food Security Phase Classification analysis for Yemen, over half of the population, namely 16,2 million of 30 million, will be facing crisis levels of food insecurity and the number of people experiencing famine-like conditions could nearly triple; whereas only 56 % of the USD 3,38 billion needed for the humanitarian response in 2020 has been received to date;

K.  whereas COVID-19 and its socioeconomic impact further hampers access to healthcare and increases the risk of malnutrition; whereas there has been an outbreak of cholera, which is the largest in recent history, with over 1,1 million reported cases;

L.  whereas the ongoing conflict has severely hindered Yemen’s progress towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG 1 (no poverty) and SDG 2 (zero hunger); whereas the conflict has set back Yemen’s development by over two decades; whereas the gap in fulfilment of the SDGs will continue to widen as long as the conflict persists;

M.  whereas a fuel crisis is brewing in the north of Yemen for the third time since 2019, substantially reducing access to food, water, medical services and essential transportation for civilians; whereas this man-made crisis is the direct result of competition between the Houthi movement and the UN-recognised Government of Yemen to control fuel;

N.  whereas 2,1 million children are acutely malnourished and almost 358 000 children under the age of five are severely malnourished; whereas as a result of funding shortages, reductions in food assistance have been in place since April 2020, and a further 1,37 million will be affected unless additional funding is secured; whereas 530 000 children under the age of two may not receive nutrition services if programmes are suspended;

O.  whereas the situation of women has been worsened by the conflict and the recent COVID-19 pandemic; whereas gender-based and sexual violence have 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 threats thereof; whereas around 30 % of displaced households are headed by women; whereas medicines for many chronic diseases are no longer available, and whereas Yemen has one of the highest maternal death rates; whereas malnourished, pregnant and lactating women are more likely to contract cholera and are at higher risk of bleeding, adding considerably to the risk of complications and death during childbirth;

P.  whereas the UN GEE found that the UAE-backed Security Belt Forces perpetrate rape and other forms of sexual violence against detainees in several detention facilities, including the Bureiqa coalition facility and the Bir Ahmed prison, and against migrants and marginalised black African communities, as well as threats and harassment against LGBTI persons; whereas credible allegations of the use of rape and torture as a weapon of war, in particular against politically engaged women and women activists, have been levelled against the Houthi movement;

Q.  whereas Parliament has repeatedly called 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, in view of the serious breaches of international humanitarian and human rights law committed in Yemen; whereas some Member States have imposed bans on arms exports to members of the Saudi-led coalition, including Germany’s ban on arms exports to Saudi Arabia and Italy’s ban on arms exports to Saudi Arabia and the UAE, and whereas others are considering doing so; whereas some Member States continue to export arms to Saudi Arabia and the UAE which may be used in Yemen, in violation of the legally binding Council Common Position 2008/944/CFSP on arms exports(7);

R.  whereas the United States halted arms sales to Saudi Arabia and suspended a transfer of F-35 jets to the UAE pending a review; whereas on 4 February 2021, US President Biden announced the imminent end to all US support for offensive operations in the war in Yemen, including relevant arms sales, and appointed a new envoy to Yemen;

S.  whereas in its final report of 22 January 2021, the UN Panel of Experts on Yemen noted that an increasing body of evidence suggests that individuals or entities in Iran supply significant volumes of weapons and components to the Houthi movement; whereas the Houthi movement continues to attack civilian targets in Saudi Arabia with missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles;

T.  whereas the previous US administration adopted the designation of the Houthi movement Ansar Allah as a terrorist organisation on 19 January 2021; whereas despite the general licenses granted by the US Government, the impact of the designation on the ability to import food, fuel and medicines into the country remains extremely concerning; whereas on 5 February 2021, the new US administration announced ‘the removal of Ansar Allah from the Foreign Terrorist Organisation and Specially Designated Global Terrorist lists;

U.  whereas the deterioration in Yemen’s political and security situation has caused the expansion and consolidation of the presence of terrorist groups in the country including Ansar al-Sharia, also known as al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, and the so-called Yemen Province of Daesh, which continue to control small parts of the territory, as well as the military wing of Hezbollah, which is on the EU’s list of terrorist organisations;

V.  whereas a stable, secure and democratic Yemen with a properly functioning government is critical to international efforts to combat extremism and violence in the region and beyond, as well as to ensuring peace and stability within Yemen itself;

W.  whereas the size of Yemen’s economy shrank by 45 % between 2015 and 2019; whereas its economy, which was fragile even before the conflict, has been gravely affected, with hundreds of thousands of families no longer having a steady source of income; whereas Yemen imports 90 % of its food through commercial imports that aid agencies cannot replace, as humanitarian agencies provide food vouchers or cash to persons in need so they can shop at markets; whereas 70 % of Yemen’s aid and commercial imports enter through the Houthi-controlled port of Hodeidah and the nearby port of Saleef, providing food, fuel and medicine that the population needs for its survival;

X.  whereas economic profiteering has been widely documented, with the country’s economic and financial resources being diverted by both the Government of Yemen and the Houthi movement, with a devastating impact on the Yemeni people; whereas the final report of the UN Panel of Experts states that Houthi movement diverted at least USD 1,8 billion in 2019 earmarked for the government to pay salaries and provide basic services to citizens; whereas the report also highlights that the government is engaging in money laundering and corruption practices that adversely affect access to adequate food supplies for Yemenis, in violation of the right to food, including the illegal diversion to traders of USD 423 million of Saudi funds originally destined for the acquisition of rice and other commodities for the Yemeni people;

Y.  whereas the UN Secretary-General’s spokesperson stressed the urgency of addressing the humanitarian and environmental threat of one million barrels of oil leaking on the FSO Safer oil tanker off Ras Issa in Yemen; whereas the rapid deterioration of the tanker poses the severe threat of a major oil spill, which would have a disastrous environmental impact, destroy biodiversity and decimate the livelihoods of local coastal communities in the Red Sea; whereas, despite the imminent risk of an ecological disaster, the long-awaited inspection of the 44-year old oil tanker has been postponed until March 2021;

1.  Condemns in the strongest terms the ongoing violence in Yemen since 2015, which has degenerated into the worst humanitarian crisis in the world; recalls that there can be no military solution to the conflict in Yemen and that the crisis can only be resolved sustainably through an inclusive Yemeni-led and Yemeni-owned negotiation process involving all quarters of Yemeni society and all parties to the conflict; emphasises that, in order to halt the war and alleviate the present humanitarian crisis, all parties should engage in good faith negotiations leading to viable political and security arrangements, in line with by UN Security Council resolution 2216 (2015), the joint implementation mechanisms of the United Nations Mission to Support the Hodeidah Agreement and the global ceasefire, as called for by UN Security Council resolution 2532 (2020);

2.  Is appalled by the devastating humanitarian crisis unfolding in the country; 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; expresses particular alarm at the most recent Integrated Food Security Phase Classification assessment, which shows that 50 000 people in Yemen are living in famine-like conditions, a number expected to triple by June 2021 even if current assistance levels remain constant;

3.  Welcomes the EU’s contribution to Yemen of over EUR 1 billion since 2015 in political, development and humanitarian assistance; welcomes its pledge to triple humanitarian aid for Yemen in 2021; is concerned, however, that this remains insufficient to address the scale of the challenges facing Yemen; deplores the fact that the funding gap for Yemen grew to 50 % in 2019; recalls that the scale and severity of the crisis should be the starting point for budgetary discussions; calls for the EU to mobilise additional resources to address the situation in Yemen as part of the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument programming exercise; urges, more broadly, the Commission and the Member States to further lead international efforts to urgently scale up humanitarian aid, including by fulfilling the pledges made during the June 2020 donor conference for the Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan;

4.  Highlights the fact that the spread of COVID-19 poses additional severe challenges to the country’s collapsing health infrastructure, with health centres lacking the basic equipment to treat COVID-19 and healthcare workers having no protective gear and for the most part receiving no salary, resulting in their not reporting for duty; calls on all international donors to enhance the provision of immediate relief to sustain the local healthcare system and help it to contain the spread of the current deadly outbreaks in Yemen, including COVID-19, malaria, cholera and dengue; calls for the EU and its Member States to facilitate access to vaccines in Yemen, including in camps for internally displaced people, through the COVAX facility, as part of its efforts to ensure equitable and global access to vaccines against COVID-19, particularly among the most vulnerable;

5.  Supports the efforts of the Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, to advance the political process and achieve an immediate nationwide ceasefire; calls for the Special Envoy to be given full and unhindered access to all parts of the territory of Yemen; calls on the VP/HR and all Member States to provide Mr Griffiths with political backing with a view to reaching a negotiated and inclusive settlement; calls, to this end, on the Foreign Affairs Council to review and update its most recent conclusions on Yemen of 18 February 2019 to reflect the current situation in the country; urges the EU and all its Member States to continue engaging with all parties to the conflict and to assert the implementation of the Stockholm Agreement and the UN draft political declaration as necessary steps towards de-escalation and political agreement;

6.  Is convinced that any long-term solution should address the underlying causes of instability in the country and fulfil the legitimate demands and aspirations of the Yemeni people; reaffirms its support for all peaceful political efforts to protect the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Yemen; condemns foreign interference in Yemen, including the presence of foreign troops and mercenaries on the ground; calls for an immediate withdrawal of all foreign forces in order to facilitate political dialogue among Yemenis;

7.  Calls on all parties to the conflict to comply with their obligations under international humanitarian law and to end any measures that exacerbate the current humanitarian crisis; calls for the EU and its Member States to condemn in the strongest terms the gross violations of international humanitarian law perpetrated by all parties to the conflict since late 2014, including the Saudi-led coalition’s airstrikes that have caused thousands of civilian casualties, exacerbated the country’s instability and targeted non-military objects, such as schools, water cisterns and weddings, and to condemn the Houthi attacks on Saudi Arabian targets in the Yemeni territory;

8.  Calls on Saudi Arabia to immediately stop its blockade of ships carrying fuel destined for Houthi-controlled territories; reiterates that all parties must urgently refrain from using the starving of civilians as a method of warfare, as this constitutes a breach of international humanitarian law in accordance with Article 8(2)(b)(xxv) of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court; stresses the importance of finding an agreement between both parties in the North and South on the use of fuel in order to alleviate the economic, agricultural, water, medical, energy and transport crisis, which has been amplified by the use of fuel as a weapon of economic warfare;

9.  Condemns the recent attacks carried out by the Iranian-backed Houthi movement in the Ma’rib and Al-Jawf Governorates, as well as the repeated attempts to carry out cross-border attacks on the territory of Saudi Arabia, which undermine the international community’s overall efforts to bring this proxy war in Yemen to an end;

10.  Supports all confidence building measures with parties to the conflict, with particular attention to those with the capacity to immediately mitigate humanitarian needs, such as the full reopening of Sana’a Airport, the resumption of salary payments, the implementation of mechanisms enabling sustained sea port operation with a view to facilitating fuel and food imports, and efforts to provide resources to and support the Central Bank of Yemen; calls for the European Union and all Member States to provide an economic rescue package for Yemen, including foreign exchange injections to help stabilise the economy and the Yemeni rial and to prevent further food price rises, as well as the provision of foreign reserves to subsidise commercial imports of food and fuel and to pay public salaries;

11.  Deplores the lack of women in the new Yemeni Government the first without women members in 20 years and calls on the Government of Yemen to take all the necessary steps to ensure women’s equal representation, presence and participation in the country’s political sphere;

12.  Underlines that EU-based arms exporters that fuel the conflict in Yemen are non-compliant with several criteria of the legally binding Council Common Position 2008/944/CFSP on arms exports; reiterates its call, in this respect, for an EU-wide ban on the export, sale, update and maintenance of any form of security equipment to members of the coalition, including Saudi Arabia and the UAE, given the serious breaches of international humanitarian and human rights law committed in Yemen;

13.  Notes the decisions of a number of Member States to impose arms export bans to Saudi Arabia and the UAE; stresses that weapons exports remain a national competence of the Member States; calls on all Member States to halt the export of arms to all members of the Saudi-led coalition; calls on the VP/HR to report on the current state of Member States’ military and security cooperation with the members of the Saudi-led coalition; condemns the supply of significant volumes of weapons and components to the Houthi movement by Iranian individuals and entities;

14.  Welcomes the United States’ temporary halting of arms sales that are used for the conflict in Yemen to Saudi Arabia and of a USD 23 billion package of F-35 jets to the UAE, as well as the US administration’s recent announcement on the imminent end to all support for offensive operations in the war in Yemen, including the delivery of precision guided missiles and intelligence sharing; welcomes, in this regard, the US’ renewed commitment to a diplomatic resolution to the conflict, as signified by the recent appointment of a US Special Envoy for Yemen;

15.  Calls on all parties to the conflict in Yemen to put in place a targeting policy for missile and drone strikes, which should comply with international human rights law and international humanitarian law; urges the Council, the VP/HR and the Member States to reaffirm the EU’s position under international law and ensure that the Member States put safeguards in place to ensure that intelligence, communications infrastructure and military bases are not used to facilitate extrajudicial killings; repeats its call for the adoption of a legally binding Council decision on the use of armed drones and compliance with international human rights law and international humanitarian law;

16.  Is deeply concerned about the continued presence in Yemen of criminal and terrorist groups, including Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and ISIS/Daesh; calls on all parties to the conflict to take resolute action against such groups; condemns all acts by all terrorist organisations;

17.  Welcomes the decision of the new US Government to urgently revoke the decision of the former US Government to designate the Houthi movement, also known as Ansar Allah, as a Foreign Terrorist Organisation and Specially Designated Global Terrorists;

18.  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 international human rights law or international humanitarian law, or acts that constitute human rights abuses in Yemen, and by 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, which provides information to assist with the full implementation of the UN Security Council resolution;

19.  Issues a strong call for an end to all forms of sexual and gender-based violence against women and girls, including those in detention; calls for the EU, in this respect, to ensure specific funding for local women-led and women’s rights organisations to better reach women, girls and gender-based violence survivors, as well as for programmes dedicated to achieving women’s resilience and economic empowerment;

20.  Reiterates that it is imperative to protect children and to ensure the full enjoyment of their human rights; calls, in this regard, on all parties to the conflict to end the recruitment and use of children as soldiers in the armed conflict and to further ensure the demobilisation and effective disarmament of boys and girls recruited or used in hostilities, and urges them to release those captured and to cooperate with the UN with a view to implementing effective programmes for their rehabilitation, physical and psychological recovery and reintegration into society;

21.  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;

22.  Is deeply concerned about reports of the denial of freedom of religion or belief, including discrimination, unlawful detention and the use of violence, calls for the rights to freedom of expression and belief to be respected and protected, and condemns discrimination on the basis of religious affiliation, notably of Christians, Jews and other religious minorities and non-believers in cases concerning the distribution of humanitarian aid; calls for the immediate and unconditional release of and the end to persecution of the followers of the Baha’i faith, who are currently detained for peacefully practising their religion and face charges punishable by death;

23.  Deplores the damage done to Yemeni cultural heritage by the Saudi-led coalition’s airstrikes, including the Old City of Sana’a and the historic city of Zabid, and the shelling of Taiz National Museum and the looting of manuscripts and relics from Zabid’s historic library by the Houthi movement; stresses that all perpetrators of such acts must be held to account in accordance with the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict; 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 adopting a resolution on the matter;

24.  Reiterates the urgent need to undertake a UN assessment and repair mission on the FSO Safer, which lies abandoned off the port of Hodeidah and poses an immediate risk of a major environmental catastrophe for biodiversity and for the livelihoods of local coastal communities in the Red Sea; calls for the EU to provide all necessary political, technical or financial support to enable a UN technical team to be permitted to board the FSO Safer as a matter of urgency in order to prevent an oil spill that could be four times worse than the historic Exxon Valdez spill of 1989 in Alaska;

25.  Calls for the EU and its Member States to use all the tools at their disposal to hold all perpetrators of severe human rights violations to account; notes the possibility of applying the principle of universal jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute the perpetrators of severe human rights violations in Yemen; calls for the EU Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime to be deployed in order to impose targeted sanctions, such as travel bans and assets freezes, on officials of all parties to the conflict involved in grave human rights violations in Yemen, including Iran, Saudi Arabia and the UAE; Calls on the VP/HR and Member States to support the gathering of evidence with a view to using them in future prosecutions, and to consider the establishment of an independent commission to oversee this process; considers that victims of atrocity crimes and their families should be supported in accessing justice;

26.  Calls on the Human Rights Council to ensure that the situation of human rights in Yemen remains on its agenda by continuing to renew the mandate of the UN GEE and ensuring it be given sufficient resources to carry out its mandate effectively, including collecting, keeping and analysing information related to violations and crimes;

27.  Reiterates its commitment to the fight against impunity for crimes of war, crimes against humanity and gross human rights violations in the world, including in Yemen; believes that the individuals responsible for such crimes should be duly prosecuted and tried in a court of law; calls for the EU and the Member States to take resolute action towards a referral by the UN Security Council of the situation in Yemen to the International Criminal Court, and an expansion of the list of persons subject to Security Council sanctions;

28.  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 EU Special Representative for Human Rights, 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, the Government of the United Arab Emirates, and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

(1) OJ C 11, 13.1.2020, p. 44.
(2) OJ C 356, 4.10.2018, p. 104.
(3) OJ C 35, 31.1.2018, p. 142.
(4) OJ C 265, 11.8.2017, p. 93.
(5) OJ C 66, 21.2.2018, p. 17.
(6) OJ C 303, 15.12.2009, p. 12.
(7) OJ L 335, 13.12.2008, p. 99.

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