Yemen: MEP Jana Žitňanská (ECR) issued a parliamentary question on the humanitarian catastrophe in Yemen

On 11 December 2018, MEP Jana Žitňanská (ECR) addressed the issue of the conflict in Yemen which broke out in 2014 between the Shiite Houtis and the government of President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, and it has resulted in what is now the biggest humanitarian crisis in the world.

 

On 11t December 2018, MEP Jana Žitňanská (ECR) issued a parliamentary question to HR/VP Federica Mogherini and the EU Commission concerning the humanitarian catastrophe occurring in Yemen. MEP Jana Žitňanská drew the attention on the extreme humanitarian situation and condition of Yemenite civil society following the conflict between the Shiite Houtis and the government of President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi by underlining the significant collateral losses due to poor living conditions since the outbreak of war. By providing relevant information, MEP Žitňanská indicates that “Thousands of civilians have been killed over the four years of armed conflict, which has escalated to such a level in the past four months that 123 civilians are killed or wounded every week. Food prices have risen by 68% since the conflict began, and the value of the Yemeni rial has fallen by 180%. All of this has brought the country to the brink of famine, with up 75% of the population dependant on humanitarian aid and 60% not able to find food for their families. The humanitarian catastrophe is causing enormous suffering particularly for children, who are dying from hunger and infectious diseases, especially cholera.”

 

In light of these observations, MEP Jana Žitňanská asked the following three questions:

 

What steps has the European Union taken since the start of the armed conflict to resolve the situation? How much money has the EU provided to alleviate the humanitarian crisis in Yemen since it erupted? On 4 December 2018, peace talks began in Sweden aimed at resolving the conflict in Yemen. Is the EU involved in those talks, and what steps is the EU taking to help bring about a solution in the talks?

 

In a reply to Mrs. Žitňanská, the answer given by Vice-President Mogherini on behalf of the European Commission highlighted that the “EU remained active in the political, humanitarian and development dimensions of the crisis.” Consequently, the EU continued to back the UN-led process, calling on all parties involved in the conflict to engage constructively with the UN Special Envoy in view of resuming peace talks. In addition, the Vice-President Mogherini emphasized that the EU has so far provided EUR 244 million in a long-term development assistance. Therefore, the EU is one of the leading development donors in Yemen. Vice-President Mogherini pointed out that, by stressing the leading advocacy efforts to ensure full humanitarian access, with more than EUR 314 million provided since 2015. In coordination with the UN and other donors it has also convened several awareness-raising initiatives on the conflict, promoted trust building activities among parties and comprehensive reflections on the future of the country.

She specified that during the Pledging Conference for Yemen held in Geneva on 26 February 2019, the EU announced its willingness to provide additional EUR 162 million in humanitarian, development and recovery assistance during the year 2019. However, Vice-President Mogherini reminded also that as the conflict has further worsened pre-existing economic woes in the country, with devastating effects on the Yemeni livelihoods, a complex policy of cooperation between political, security, humanitarian and development actions is required. In December 2018, the UN succeeded in resuming political talks in Sweden, attended by the European Union as part of the G-19 group of Ambassadors.

The European Union remains in close contact with the office of the UN Special Envoy to continue to support the implementation of the agreements reached in Stockholm and to assist in the best manner on the way forward.

 

The European Centre for Democracy and Human Rights (ECDHR) welcomes the question of MEP Jana Žitňanská (ECR) and the answer of the Vice-President Mogherini. We share concerns over the ongoing humanitarian issues in Yemen and the lack of access to adequate living conditions.

 

Please find below a full copy of the question of MEP Jana Žitňanská (ECR) and the response of HR/VP Federica Mogherini.

 

Question for written answer E-006209-18 to the Commission Rule 130, submitted by MEP Jana Žitňanská (ECR) on December 11 2018 Answer given by High Representative/Vice-President Mogherini, on March 8 2019.

 

The conflict in Yemen broke out in 2014 between the Shiite Houthis and the government of President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, and it has resulted in what is now the biggest humanitarian crisis in the world. Thousands of civilians have been killed over the four years of armed conflict, which has escalated to such a level in the past four months that 123 civilians are killed or wounded every week, according to the available information. Food prices have risen by 68% since the conflict began, and the value of the Yemeni rial has fallen by 180%. All of this has brought the country to the brink of famine, with up 75% of the population dependant on humanitarian aid and 60% not able to find food for their families. The humanitarian catastrophe is causing enormous suffering particularly for children, who are dying from hunger and infectious diseases, especially cholera. In connection with the situation in Yemen, I would like to ask the Commission the following questions:

 

  1. What steps has the European Union taken since the start of the armed conflict to resolve the situation?
  2. How much money has the EU provided to alleviate the humanitarian crisis in Yemen since it erupted?
  3. On 4 December 2018, peace talks began in Sweden aimed at resolving the conflict in Yemen. Is the EU involved in those talks, and what steps is the EU taking to help bring about a solution in the talks?

 

Answer given by High Representative/Vice-President Mogherini on behalf of the European Commission, on March 8 2019.

 

In line with the Council Conclusions on Yemen adopted in 2017 and 2018 the EU remained active in the political, humanitarian and development dimensions of the crisis. In this context the EU continued to back the United Nations (UN)-led process, calling on all parties to the conflict to engage

constructively with the UN Special Envoy in view of resuming peace talks. Such EU support includes technical assistance, expertise and financial contributions to various international mechanisms and funds. EU programmes address immediate, medium, and long-term needs, with a particular focus on resilience. The EU has so far provided EUR 244 million in long term development assistance, making the EU one of the leading development donors in Yemen. The EU is also one of the main humanitarian donors in Yemen, leading advocacy efforts to ensure full humanitarian access, with more than EUR 314 million provided since 2015. In coordination with the UN and other donors it has also convened several awareness-raising initiatives on the conflict, promoted trust building among parties and comprehensive reflections on the future of the country. In addition to the abovementioned assistance, and during the Pledging Conference for Yemen held in Geneva on 26 February 2019, the EU announced its intention to provide additional EUR 162 million in humanitarian, development and recovery assistance during the course of 2019. As the conflict compounded pre-existing economic woes in the country, with devastating effects on the Yemeni livelihoods it requires a complex policy mix and smooth coordination between political, security, humanitarian and development actions.

In December 2018, the UN achieved a resumption of political talks in Sweden, which the EU attended as part of the G-19 group of Ambassadors. The European Union remains in close contact with the office of the UN Special Envoy to continue to support the implementation of the agreements reached in Stockholm and to assist in the best possible manner on the way forward.

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