Today, Parliament is debating the terrible situation in Yemen. I unfortunately can't be in the chamber but I wanted to make sure I shared this information and put on record my commitment to pressuring the UK Government to act to end the conflict. I have many many constituents of Yemeni nationality and descent and I thank them for reaching out to me on this. The information below sets out some of the details of the conflict and what needs to be done. Thank you to Save the Children for many of the details:
It is coming up to two years since hostilities escalated in Yemen, and the suffering of millions of children and their families has grown worse with each month. Today, more than 18.7 million people – including over 10 million children – are in need of humanitarian aid, making Yemen the country with the highest number of people in humanitarian need in the world right now. Without urgent action, the humanitarian situation is set to deteriorate further. Since peace talks broke down in August, violence has intensified across Yemen. Schools, hospitals and homes continue to be attacked. According to the UN, at least 3,540 children have been killed or injured since March 2015 as a result of airstrikes and ground fighting.
Conflict is the primary driver of the largest food emergency in the world and the broader humanitarian crisis affecting Yemen.
The humanitarian community is struggling to meet the needs of children and their families as levels of malnutrition continue to rise and access to basic services deteriorates. Today, approximately 3.3 million children and pregnant women are acutely malnourished, including 462,000 children under 5 suffering from severe acute malnutrition.
Children are bearing the brunt of the conflict. A significant increase in grave violations against children was reported by the UN in 2015, a trend which continued through 2016 and into 2017. There is significant, credible evidence that violations of international humanitarian law may have been committed by all parties to the conflict. In 2015, more civilian deaths and injuries from explosive weapons were recorded in Yemen than in any other country around the world.
The UK Government should:
Press all parties to the conflict to agree an immediate ceasefire and inclusive, durable peace.
Press all parties to permit rapid and unimpeded humanitarian access to affected population and facilitate imports of essential commercial supplies.
Push other donors to support the US$1.8 billion requested under the UN’s 2016 Humanitarian Response Plan for Yemen.
Support the implementation of the Human Rights Council’s September 2016 resolution that mandates additional international human rights experts to conduct investigations into violations of international law.
Urge all parties to immediately stop the use of explosive weapons with wide-area effects in populated areas.
Not sell or transfer arms to any party to the conflict in Yemen.