Stop the carnage of civilians in Yemen!

At the initiative of the S&Ds, the European Parliament will debate today on the brutal proxy war in Yemen that caused thousands of civilian casualties and drives the county’s population toward famine. The S&Ds demand that both sides stop targeting civilians and call on the international community, including member states, to stop exporting arms to those fighting in this brutal war.

For more than three years Yemen, the Arab world’s the poorest country, has been wrecked by a bloody war between on the one side the Houthi rebels supported by Iran, and the Saudi-Emirati coalition and Yemen’s internationally recognised government on the other. The report presented recently by UN experts accuses both sides of human rights violations and possible war crimes, adding that the main cause of civilian casualties in the war has been airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition.

S&D vice-president responsible for foreign affairs Victor Boştinaru said:

“Sadly, again and again we have to remind the international community about the dramatic humanitarian situation in Yemen. Yemenis are dying every day under the indiscriminate bombing and shelling of our so-called economic partners. This brutal and bloody long-term conflict is about to reach an even worse stage as the attacks and blockade on civilians continue. There is an almost complete lack of medical help and a growing risk of starvation for 17 million people.

“We call on the EU and all relevant international actors to put pressure on the coalition to halt any further assault and to allow humanitarian aid to reach all people in need. Both sides of this conflict must guarantee a ceasefire, which would allow potential political talks. Only a political solution can help Yemen regain some stability. Finally, we explicitly call for an immediate ban on the export of arms, knowing that some EU member states export very sophisticated weaponry to the Gulf countries, including Saudi Arabia. The export of weapons to the actors of the conflict can only further fuel this tragic and unacceptable war and risk destabilising the whole region.”

S&D MEP Antonio Panzeri, chair of the human rights subcommittee, added:

“The serious conflict in Yemen has been dragging on for years and it seems not to be of interest to anyone. However, it’s enough to see the geographic map to realise the strategic importance of Yemen and to understand how this dirty war is manipulated by interests far from those territories. From the United States and their Saudi ally on one side to Iran on the other, the only winner is weapons producers scattered around the world. These interests condemn almost the entire population in Yemen to live dependent on humanitarian aid. Hunger and epidemics are used as siege weapons, actions that can be identified as war crimes.

“We have to break the silence of indifference that hides all this. The EU and its High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy must be clear in political judgment and loudly reiterate the responsibilities of the Saudi coalition government and denounce its role in pulling the threads of this conflict.”