Today I spoke to the first International Parliamentary Conference for Peace in Yemen, at The National Assembly in Paris, a gathering of parliamentarians and NGOs from across the globe, together with representatives from the United Nations.
In my speech, I confirmed the Labour Party’s support for a six-point pledge proposed for agreement at the conference, calling for an immediate ceasefire in Yemen, the adoption of a new UN Security Council resolution on the crisis, the delivery and proper funding of humanitarian relief to Yemeni civilians at risk of starvation, and the investigation of all alleged war crimes committed in the conflict. I said:
“The eyes of the world would not be so much on this conference, and the pledge that will be agreed , if it were not for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, and the spotlight that murder has shone on the current government of Saudi Arabia and its total disregard for human rights, the rule of law, and the sanctity of human life.
“Something that many have been willing to comment on and express outrage about in the last few weeks, but which so many of us in this room have been warning was happening not just once or twice, not just a hundred times over, or a thousand, but millions of times over, during the blockade and assault on Yemen.
“The pledge we can agree on today and carry back to all our parliaments and governments is a blueprint for effective action to stop the humanitarian crisis, to achieve a lasting ceasefire, and to enable a long-term political solution: six clear, pragmatic, achievable steps.
“But we must also continually confront our governments with the individual faces and stories of the children whose blood will be on their hands if they delay that action any longer.
“And of all the countries represented here today, there is a special responsibility on the UK as the pen-holder on Yemen at the UN Security Council, as the country that has had a draft resolution along exactly these lines sitting on ice for the last two years, to immediately stop ducking that responsibility and bring forward that resolution.”
You can read my full speech here, along with the text of the six-point pledge proposed for agreement at the conference.