Barry Gardiner

Working Hard for Brent North

Yemen and Saudi Arabia Conflict

There has been significant attention paid to the civilian impact of the Saudi-led coalition's campaign in Yemen. In January 2016, a report by the UN's Yemen Panel of Experts was revealed to conclude that there had been "systematic and widespread" attacks against civilian targets in breach of IHL.

The visit of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to the UK has rightly drawn attention to the ongoing suffering in Yemen caused by the dreadful conflict there. The humanitarian situation in many parts of the country is extremely dire. Over 10,000 people have been killed since 2014 and several million people are at risk of famine.

There is no military solution to this conflict, and it is vital that a peaceful, negotiated resolution can be secured. It is incredibly disappointing therefore that, despite promises from the Government to bring a ceasefire resolution to the UN Security Council in October 2016, there has been no progress on this. 

I have shared my deep concern about potential violations of international humanitarian law (IHL) in Yemen for some time now. This is why I have consistently called for a comprehensive, independent, UN-led investigation into alleged violations of IHL in Yemen, including air strikes on civilians by the Saudi-led coalition. I also believe the Government should impose an immediate suspension on any further arms sales for use in the Yemen conflict until such an investigation has concluded. Human rights should be at the heart of our foreign policy and resolving this situation could not be more urgent.

The people of Yemen have suffered so much throughout this ongoing conflict and the Government must now play its part in bringing it to an end. I have long been calling on the Government to use its influence to secure a UN resolution demanding an immediate ceasefire and resumption of peace talks in Yemen.

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