Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins called for urgent action to relieve the suffering of millions of people after seeing with his own eyes the reality in Yemen, one of the worst humanitarian situations in the world, in the Houses of Parliament today.
Using virtual reality headsets, MPs were able to visit a school that had been almost completely destroyed, a home where eight members of the same family were killed and a settlement where Yemeni families who had fled fighting are now living without running water, toilets or any other basic facilities. They heard from people affected by the conflict and the challenges they face.
Airstrikes and fighting are continuing across Yemen despite efforts by the UN to get both sides to agree to a cessation of hostilities and hold peace talks later this month. 22 million Yemenis are in need of aid and protection.
Toby said: “I’ve just been sat with a virtual reality video that shows some of the scenes that are everyday for the people of Yemen and I witnessed what life was like in the displacement camp – people in the most desperate circumstances, and people whose entire lives have changed in a way they could never have imagined”
Toby confirmed his support to the people of Yemen and contributed to the urgent Parliamentary debate today. Toby praised the government’s decision to propose a UN Resolution that would aim to end the fighting in Yemen, but in a Parliamentary statement, he warned Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt MP to ensure that both the Saudi-backed government forces and the Iranian-backed rebels – the Houthis – shared responsibility for the catastrophe.
Norwegian Refugee Council, Oxfam Great Britain, Action Against Hunger, War Child and other organisations involved in the exhibit are calling for the UK Government to suspend arms sales to any party in the Yemen conflict and to push all parties to the conflict to cease hostilities immediately. They are also asking the UK Government to pressure all parties in the conflict to allow commercial and humanitarian supplies of food, fuel and medicine to reach those who need them most. 14 million Yemenis are at risk of famine and nearly half of all children aged between six months and five years are chronically malnourished.
Toby Perkins MP said: “The British government should be doing everything they can to use our influence to try and make sure this crisis is brought to an end, and the suffering of the people of Yemen is finally concluded”