Open letter regarding the Motion for a resolution on the Humanitarian Situation in Yemen

Dear North West Resident,

Many people from the North West and across the UK have made contact with me by email and over social media about the Motion for a resolution on the Humanitarian Situation in Yemen, which will be voted on in this week’s European Parliament Plenary Session on 25 February 2016.

This resolution was put down at the initiative of the European Group in which Labour MEPs are members (the S&D Group), and was personally negotiated by one of my Labour MEP colleagues. Therefore, there is no question that we condemn the violation of human rights that the people, women, children and men are facing in Yemen.

We call on the European Parliament to act to stop the atrocities. We hope that people across the UK are putting this argument to MEPs in other political parties to help us to win this vote.

Labour MEPs will support the resolution and there is no question of the language being watered down – there is a straight ‘for’ and ‘against’ vote on the specific amendment on the arms embargo.

Please note that the draft resolution recognises abuses on all sides in Yemen and simply seeks to uphold the EU Code of Conduct on arms exports, which already prohibits the export of arms where these may be used in contravention of international humanitarian law.

Please also note that the resolution we proposed is not one that can be portrayed simply as being “anti-Saudi Arabia.” There are strong human rights concerns about the Saudis which we share, but we also recognise the importance of engaging Saudi Arabia in peace talks to end conflicts in Yemen, Syria and to uphold the Arab Peace Plan with respect to the Palestinians.

This week’s resolution is about the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, and is motivated solely by seeking to end the suffering of the people there.

On this I know we have support of many people across the North West and – after this week’s vote – I hope the people of Yemen will know they have that support from the whole of Europe.

Best wishes,