Elizabeth May calls for Arms Embargo against Saudi Arabia over actions in Yemen

(OTTAWA) March 9, 2016 – Following the passing of a resolution in the European Parliament on February 25, Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada, asked the House of Commons for unanimous consent to pass motion M-48 to raise attention to the alarming deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Yemen.

“Though this motion did not pass, I am hopeful that it brought some much needed attention to the extremely concerning situation in Yemen. I am horrified to read about the truly untenable conditions for civilians. So much of what is happening shows a brazen disregard for international law, from the use of cluster munitions by the Saudi-led coalition to the use of landmines by Houthi forces. More than 2.5 million people are living in displacement and hospitals, weddings, markets and so many other civilian centres are being targeted. The violence must end and we must take a stand.

As U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said: ‘Yemen is in flames and coalition airstrikes in particular continue to strike schools, hospitals, mosques and civilian infrastructure.’ Ban stressed the need to control ‘arms flows to actors that may use them in ways that breach international humanitarian law.’

“Though the conflict is complex, it is clear that Saudi Arabia is acting in violation of international law. It appears that Saudi forces are using Canadian-made combat vehicles in Yemen. We must end our complicity. We must end our silence. Canada cannot justify selling combat vehicles or any arms to the authors of such destruction.”

Full text of M-48:

M-48 — Ms. May (Saanich—Gulf Islands) — That, in the opinion of the House, there has been an alarming deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Yemen which is characterized by widespread food insecurity, indiscriminate attacks against civilians and medical and aid workers, the destruction of civilian and medical infrastructure as a result of the pre-existing domestic conflict, as well as the intensification of airstrikes, ground fighting, and shelling by the Saudi-led coalition and despite repeated calls for a renewed cessation of hostilities; and that, therefore, the House: (a) endorse a Resolution passed by the European Parliament on February 25, 2016, as well as United Nations Security Council resolutions on Yemen, in particular resolutions 2216 (2015), 2201 (2015) and 2140 (2014); (b) express grave concern at (i) the airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition and the naval blockade it has imposed on Yemen, (ii) the actions taken by the Houthis, including the siege of the city of Taiz; and (c) unequivocally condemn (i) the targeting of hospitals, markets, and civilian centres, (ii) the use of cluster munitions by the Saudi-led coalition, in violation of the norm created by the Convention on Cluster Munitions, (iii) the use of landmines by Houthi forces, in violation of the Ottawa Treaty; and that the House further call upon the government to launch an initiative aimed at imposing an arms embargo against Saudi Arabia.