Wednesday June 8th ,a series of high level meetings were held in the European Parliament in Strasbourg following the invitation of Dr wesam Basindawa, head of the Yemeni Coalition by Mep Martusciello to shed the light on the Yemeni issue and support the peace talks as well as empower women and children .The meetings were accompanied by Manel Msalmi, international Affairs advisor and expert on the Middle East and iran as well as Valerio Balzamo , a European affairs advisor .
The first encounter was with Mep Lukas Mandl ,Vice president of the EU delegation of defense and security and it evoked the issue of Child soldiers (30000 yemeni chilchen), indoctrination and School dropping since 7 years as well as the training camps by the Houthi militia(summer camps). There are Boys and girls who are abused and recruited as child soldiers.The indoctrination of these children is a real threat to peace and security in the region and a violation of Children’s rights.
Mep Antonio Lopez-Isturiz White who is a member of the AFET committee and the Delegation of relations with Arab Peninsula advised Dr wesam and all human rights activists in the region to continue explaining and establishing a dialogue with the EU institutions by giving examples and being also patient in this fight against radical Islam and iran’s backed militia as well as denounce the Ngo’s which justify the Houthis crimes .
Mr Andras Szenczi,advisor to Mep Gyorgy Holvenyi Spokesperson of humanitarian
development spoke about the role of the EU in giving assistance to the Yemeni population through the Ngo’s present on the ground .However, according to Dr wesam the EU should be careful in dealing with organizations which might pretend to be neutral but they are supporting the Houthis in yemen. The humanitarian situation is critical with refugees in Marib and Houthi Prisons (1180 women imprisoned).There is an urgent need in terms of Humanitarian aid as Ms Msalmi pointed out .
The water and food crisis as well as education should be a priority.
Dr wesam mentioned that there is Less violence in war zones in comparison to last year in Yemen but in terms of Human rights ,the situation is getting worse mainly for women’s rights and freedom of speech. Arbitrary detentions by The Houthis, death penalties for journalists as well as kidnapping political dissidents
didn’t help to solve the Humanitarian crisis.
Mep Robert Biedrone,chair of women’s rights and gender equality committee highlighted the role of the Committee in
Strengthening women’s rights globally. He also added that the EU is ready to support women’s rights in conflict zones mainly in Yemen. Dr wesam mentioned that the Houthis recruit children to be soldiers at an early age including boys and girls. Girls risk to be sexually abused and verbally and physically assaulted. There are
1100 women in Houthi prisons including politicians and journalists since 2017. Unfortunately ,the Houthis don’t accep to release them. Ms Manel Msalmi highlighted that with the help of Mep Martusciello, a resolution was introduced in the plenary session in December 2021 denouncing the women’s rights violations by the Houthis and the persecution of religious minorities and calling to put the Houthis on the EU terrorist list .There was also a statement signed by Meps and adressed to H.E Joseph Borrell to ask the Houthis to stop human rights violations. Thanks to these initiatives, the Houthis were designated as a terrorist group by the EU in March 2022 . The meetings with Mep Tovaglieri and Mep Ferragut who are both members of FEMM committee were really crucial to focus on the Houthi prisons full with female human rights activists and Journalists and the need to call to release them .Dr wesam mentioned the latest case of Insaf Hamadi who is top model , kidnapped by the Houthi militia who force women to wear the burka .Female EU leaders show total solidarity with Yemeni women in their fight for their individual freedoms.
A brief exchange with the president of the European Parliament Mrs Roberta Metsola followed by an official picture was a reminder that the EU supports women in conflict zones and gives a priority to women’s rights and female leadership in the region.
The series of meetings end with a discussion with the first Vice
President Othmar Koras about the situation of religious freedoms in Yemen and the need to support minorities such as the Bahais and stop violence towards imams in Sunni Mosques attacked in Ramadan by The Houthi militia during “Trawih prayers”.