Yemen

Part of Parliamentary Sovereignty and EU Renegotiations – in the House of Commons at 3:51 pm on 4th February 2016.

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Photo of Stephen Twigg Stephen Twigg Chair, International Development Committee 3:51 pm, 4th February 2016

It is a pleasure to follow Kevin Foster. I congratulate Kirsten Oswald on bringing this very important and timely debate to the Chamber today. The International Development Committee is currently undertaking an inquiry into the situation in Yemen. Last week, we heard such powerful and convincing evidence that DFID’s excellent humanitarian response is being undermined by the wider Government approach to Yemen that this week we felt compelled to write to the Government setting out our serious concerns, to which I will refer in turn.

Let me start by addressing the scale of the humanitarian crisis. Every speaker has described the horror: more than 21 million people—over 80% of the population—are in need of assistance, more than 14 million people are struggling to find enough food, and 2.5 million people are displaced. The effects of this conflict are devastating. Atrocities have been committed by both sides. We heard evidence that 62% of the killings and maimings have been caused by the Saudi-led coalition, and that Houthis have recruited over 700 children to armed groups that have laid siege to cities such as Taiz, denying their populations access to humanitarian aid and medicines.