MEPs condemn attacks on civilians, including children, in Yemen

Yemen 2018_

Giles Clarke/OCHA

This article is brought to you in association with the European Parliament.

EU countries should refrain from selling arms to all parties of Yemeni civil war to ease the world’s largest humanitarian crisis in Yemen, said MEPs on Thursday.

The resolution on Yemen, passed by show of hands , notes that Yemen has been devastated by civil war, which has caused the economy to collapse, left 22 million people in need of humanitarian support, eight million people at risk of starvation and many people dead, including 2 500 children.

Forces on both sides, including the internationally-recognised government, supported by a Saudi-led coalition, and Shia rebels Houthis supported by Iran, have been accused of shelling highly populated areas, including hospitals, schools and other civilian targets, MEPs say. They strongly condemn the ongoing violence, attacks on civilians and demand that independent investigations into alleged human rights abuses and humanitarian law violations should be carried out.

MEPs call on all parties to the conflict to cease hostilities immediately, urging other involved states, including Iran, to stop providing political, military and financial support to military actors on the ground.

Arms embargo on Saudi Arabia

They also reiterate their previous calls to impose an arms embargo on Saudi Arabia and in addition urge all EU member states to refrain from selling arms and any military equipment to any member of the Saudi-led coalition, Yemeni government and other parties to the conflict.

The resolution backs the UN, EU and member states’ efforts to help end the conflict and provide support to those affected by it. “Only a political, inclusive and negotiated solution to the conflict can restore peace and preserve the unity […] of Yemen”, MEPs stress.

Background information

Since early in 2015, forces loyal to the internationally-recognised government have been fighting Shia rebels known as Houthis. In March 2015, a coalition led by Saudi Arabia responded to a call for help from Yemeni President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi by launching air strikes on Houthi targets. The coalition comprises five Gulf Arab states, Jordan, Egypt, Morocco, Sudan and is backed by the USA and the UK.

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