LFY during Labour's Annual Conference 2021

مشاركة مجموعة أصدقاء اليمن في حزب العمال في المؤتمر السنوي للحزب 2021 

28 September 2021: Members of the executive team have been meeting with several Labour leaders and representatives of other pressure groups during the Labour Annual Conference. During these meetings reinforcing Labour’s commitments to help Yemen and resolve the devastating conflict has been discussed. 

Among those the team had met were Angela Rayner MP (Deputy Leader of the Labour Party), Lisa Nandy MP (Shadow Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs) and Vaughan Gething MP (Welsh Labour Minister for the Economy). LFY has expressed again its concerns about the declining involvement of the Party in this issue, specially the humanitarian situation caused by 7 years of the ongoing civil war and regional interferences.

It has been agreed that Labour should play an active role to put pressure on the UK government, as well as the international and regional players, to encourage peaceful dialogue between all parties and to hold those committed serious violations of the international humanitarian law accountable.

It was also agreed that Labour should listen more to the Yemeni voices inside the party as well as in the Yemeni community in the UK in order to better understand the situation and move forward to help stopping the war and brining a lasting and sustainable peace to all Yemenis.

Video: Lisa Nandy answering LFY question on Labour's policy on Yemen during the annual conference 2021.  

وزيرة خارجية حكومة الظل ليزا ناندي تجيب على سؤال عن سياسة حزب العمال تجاه اليمن خلال المؤتمر السنوي للحزب سبتمبر 2021

LFY expresses concern about recent decision by KSA to end the jobs of hundreds of Yemeni academics, doctors and other workers in its southern governorates 

مجموعة أصدقاء اليمن في حزب العمال تعرب عن قلقها إزاء توجهات المملكة العربية السعودية لإنهاء عمل مئات الأكاديميين والأطباء اليمنيين من المناطق الجنوبية

19 August 2021: According to several reports, thousands Yemeni workers are about to lose their jobs in Saudi Southern Governorates of Baha, Jizan, Najran and Asir within the coming months due to recent informal instructions by the KSA government targeting Yemeni nationals working and residing in these areas. This move has raised the fears of a mass deportation of Yemeni emigrants most of whom are escaping the ongoing war.

Among those who already received notices to end their contracts, hundreds of skilled Yemeni immigrants including academics, teachers, and doctors working in various Saudi universities, schools and medical institutions in these provinces, whose contracts - despite being recently renewed - were terminated without prior notice or explanation. It is confirmed that Yemeni academics were given around three months to finalise procedures for leaving their universities and the country.

The dismissal of these academics, as well as other workers - will have a significant financial impact on Yemeni families across the border who rely solely on support from Yemeni expats working in Saudi Arabia. The remittances of the Yemeni workers in Saudi Arabia contribute the largest share of the hard currency and cover the daily expenses of millions of relatives at home.

It is worth noting that most of those affected were originally expelled from their jobs or fled in fear of prosecution in areas under the Houthis’ control, which means if they are to return to these areas their lives and safety will be in danger.

The impact of this move on the already deteriorating humanitarian conditions of Yemen, while under the current war, is appalling on several accounts. First, it is discriminatory because it only targets Yemeni Nationals, and is not part of the ongoing Saudi nationalisation scheme (Saudization), which adds concerns to Saudi Arabia workers' rights record.

Second, it will erode the ongoing efforts by Saudi Arabia to bring back stability to Yemen and might question the credibly of these efforts in the light of these developments.

LFY strongly believes that Saudi Arabia has a moral and legal obligation in front of the international community towards Yemen due to the war which Saudi is involved in. LFY believes it is time for Saudi Arabia to demonstrate the good will in respecting those obligations in a way that preserves the interests of both neighbouring countries and send a positive message about the role of Saudi Arabia and its leadership in seeking peace.

The UK and the international community must intervene, and remind the Saudi government to respect its obligation towards Yemen and call to review those unjust and unjustifiable decisions.

LFY Welcomes the New Peace Initiative by Saudi Arabia to End The War in Yemen 
   مجموعة أصدقاء اليمن في حزب العمال ترحب بمبادرة السلام الجديدة التي قدمتها المملكة العربية السعودية

24 March 2021: Labour Friends of Yemen (LFY) welcomes the new peace initiative presented by Saudi Arabia last Monday which aims to put an end to the ongoing war in Yemen, including a nationwide ceasefire under the UN supervision, the reopening of Sana’a airport, allowing fuel and food imports through Hodeidah port and restarting political negotiations. 

LFY urges all parties to the conflict to take this opportunity to demonstrate a real commitment to what can constitute a positive opportunity to end the war and to reach a comprehensive peace agreement.

 Gill Furniss

 Chair of LFY 

ترحب مجموعة أصدقاء اليمن في حزب العمال بمبادرة السلام الجديدة التي قدمتها المملكة العربية السعودية يوم الاثنين الماضي والتي تهدف إلى إنهاء الحرب المستمرة في اليمن، بما في ذلك وقف إطلاق النار في كل مناطق اليمن تحت إشراف الأمم المتحدة، وإعادة فتح مطار صنعاء، والسماح بوصول الوقود والمواد الغذائية عبر ميناء الحديدة، واستئناف المفاوضات السياسية

وتحث المجموعة جميع أطراف النزاع على اغتنام هذه الفرصة لإظهار الالتزام الكامل والحقيقي بكل ما من شأنه أن يشكل فرصة إيجابية لإنهاء الحرب والتوصل إلى اتفاق سلام عادل وشامل

        جيل فيرنس 

   رئيسة المجموعة 

Chair of LFY sends a letter to PM asking for a leading role to push for a lasting peace in Yemen

2 November 2020: With great sadness, Labour Friends of Yemen (LFY) mourns the death of Abdul Razak Mossa, one of its founding members and the CEO of Liverpool Arabic Centre, who passed away on Monday 2nd of November 2020, in Liverpool.

Mossa has devoted his life to serving the Arab community in Liverpool and the UK for many years. He was well recognised for his exemplar leadership with distinguishing activities in the areas of education, cultural development and social services.

His departure is a great loss for LFY as well as for the Yemeni and Arab community in the UK.
On behalf of LFY’s members, we extend our sincere condolences and sympathy to his family and to all his friends and loved ones. 

13 October 2020: Chair of LFY, Gill Furniss MP,  during the Foreign Office questions, pressing the UK Government on civilians’ casualty due to Saudi-led coalition airstrikes in Yemen.

23 September 2020: Kim Johnson MP speech against the threatened deportations of Yemeni asylum seekers back to a country experiencing the worst humanitarian crisis in the world.

The British Government Responds to LFY’s Chair Regarding FSO Safer Tanker

 London, 10 September 2020: Gill Furniss MP, Chair of Labour Friends of Yemen, received a letter from James Cleverly, the Minister for Middle East and North Africa at the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), in response to the letter she sent, along with other Labour MPs, last July regarding the British government urgent action to prevent the humanitarian and environmental disaster in the red sea caused by the FSO Safer oil tanker.

In his letter Cleverly described the tanker as “an environmental disaster waiting to happen”. He stated that “unless UN experts are allowed to access it, we are facing a catastrophic environmental threat”.

Cleverly pointed out that the Houthis “cannot continue to hold the environment and people’s livelihood to ransom”. “In support of UN efforts, we have raised this directly with the Houthis and with other leaders to try averting an avoidable crisis”, he added.

Cleverly confirmed that the British government is also working with the UN and other donors to insure a sufficient fund and contingency plans if the spill of oil occur. He said “it is in everyone’s interest, especially the suffering people of Yemen, that this tanker is made safe immediately”.

In response to LFY the British government affirms its support for Yemen in facing Coronavirus pandemic 

7 September 2020: Gill Furniss MP, Chair of Labour Friends of Yemen, received a letter from James Cleverly, the Minister for Middle East and North Africa at the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), in response to her questions in Parliament regarding the British government's recent assessment of the level of risk to Yemen of Covid-19 pandemic.

In his letter Cleverly stated that modelling funded by the Department for International Development predicts that Yemen could suffer up to 85,000 COVID-19 deaths in a worst case scenario. He confirmed that the British government, in response to such a prediction, is “disbursing its £160 million commitment to Yemen promptly this financial year to help the UN to tackle the spread of COVID-19”.

Cleverly added that the British government expects the fund to provide over 700,000 medical consultations for a range of health conditions, train 1,500 healthcare workers to work safely in COVID-19 environment and provide a much-needed boosts to nearly 600 health centres to continue providing existing health services.

It is worth noting that Labour Friends of Yemen had sent a letter to the British Foreign Secretary last April calling on the British government, the United Nations and the international relief organizations to intensify their efforts and develop an action plan to help the Yemeni people to face Covid-19 outbreak. 

Chair of LFY and other Labour MPs urge the UK government to play a key role within the international community to prevent the humanitarian and environmental disaster caused by the FSO Safer oil tanker.

New Chair for LFY

Labour Friends of Yemen are excited to announce that Gill Furniss MP will be our new Chair. She will be replacing the much esteemed Stephen Twigg, who has been a guiding light since our inception back in February 2019.

Gill Furniss is the Labour MP for Sheffield, Brightside and Hillsborough, representing the community since 2016. She is also Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities (April 2020).

Gill has already been an active, honorary member of our Advisory Board, and worked with our team to help support and engage the Yemeni community. She has served and networked tirelessly to strengthen our community’s social partnerships and political participation. We very much appreciate her commitment and are looking forward to working with her to further develop British-Yemeni engagement and improve the lives of millions of Yemenis, making a real difference to their future, especially during this critically devastating Covid-19 crisis.

We will continue to work together for peace, justice and prosperity in Yemen, and support it’s people as they face another major humanitarian crisis.

Our Launch Event at the House of Commons, Wednesday 13th of February 2019

In the presence of a large and unprecedented gathering held yesterday in the House of Commons, Graham Jones MP and Steven Twigg MP co-hosted the Launch Event for Labour Friends of Yemen.

The Event was exceptionally well attended, with Keith Vaz MP, a number of members from the Labour shadow government, Labour Party MPs, members of local councils, His Excellency the Yemeni Ambassador to the UK, community leaders and activists from across the United Kingdom. A remarkable and promising beginning for our team!

Labour Friends of Yemen is a forum within the Labour Party for constructive discussions and responsible debates on matters related to Yemen, with the aims to promote and advocate a clear vision for supporting the country to reach peace and help its people to rebuild a modern state based on principles of democracy, human rights and equal citizenship.