LFY Annual Meeting 

الاجتماع السنوي لمجموعة أصدقاء اليمن في حزب العمال

21 October 2022: LFY held its first annual meeting in Sheffield, with the presence of its chair Gill Furniss MP, the executive team, delegates from its branches (in West Midlands, Liverpool, and Sheffield), some of its advisory board members, and friends of Yemen from other Labour groups.

In the meeting, LFY’s activities during last year were reviewed and its plan for the rest of 2022 was confirmed. In addition, several issues related to LFY’s membership, parliamentary supporters, branches, social media, publications, and future vigils and events were discussed.

26 September 2022: LFY Liverpool branch organised a vigil for peace in Yemen outside Labour Annual Conference 2022 (#Lab22) in Liverpool, with several supporters and friends of Yemen. In the vigil, Paula Barker MP, Kim Johnson MP, Bambos Charalambous MP (Shadow Minister for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs) and Saba Ahmed delivered speeches supporting Yemen, its people’s rights and sovereignty, and calling to stop the war. Several poems for peace in Yemen (provided by Liverpool Arab Art Festival) were read by poets and supporters.

نظم فرع مجموعة أصدقاء اليمن في حزب العمال البريطاني في ليفربول وقفة تضامنية من أجل السلام في اليمن على هامش مؤتمر حزب العمال السنوي لعام 2022 في ليفربول، بحضور العديد من أصدقاء اليمن وأنصار قضيته العادلة. وفي الوقفة التضامنية تم إلقاء عدداً من الكلمات المؤيدة لليمن ولحقوق شعبه المشروعة وسيادته والدعوة إلى وقف الحرب من قبل أعضاء البرلمان السيدة باولا باركر، السيدة كيم جونسون، السيد بامبوس تشارالامبوس (وزير حكومة الظل للشؤون الخارجية والكومنولث والتنمية)، والناشطة سبأ أحمد من الجالية اليمنية في ليفربول. كما تم في الوقفة التضامنية قراءة عدد من القصائد من أجل السلام في اليمن، التي قدمها مهرجان ليفربول للفنون والثقافة العربية.

2 August 2022: LFY’s executive committee organised and held a fruitful meeting with Dudley Labour branches in West Midlands. The meeting, which was attended by Labour councillors and activists from Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council aimed to foster better links between Labour’s members in WM and the Yemeni Community in the region, gain a better understanding of the current situation in Yemen and think of ways to engage members of the Yemeni Community in the UK in British politics.
Among those who attended were Cllr Judy Foster, Cllr Cat Eccles, Cllr Mohammed Hanif and Andrew Tromans, Secretary for Lye and Stourbridge North Branch Labour Party. The attendees expressed their commitments to keep Yemen high on their local and Parliament's agenda, put pressure on the UK government to review its role in Yemen’s war, and help reach peace. Some attendees expressed their interest in volunteering with LFY to help coordinate its activities to keep such a platform moving toward achieving its goals.

8 July 2022: LFY's Chair Gill Furniss held a meeting with some members of the executive committee in Sheffield to talk about plans for the year ahead and the importance of keeping Yemen high up on Parliament's agenda. 

28 June 2022 – LFY Chair and Executives held a productive meeting with Bambos Charalambous MP, Shadow Minister for the Middle East and North Africa. In the meeting, the latest developments in Yemen were highlighted, and some appeals and recommendations were put forward for the UK parliament and the UK government regarding the way forward to abet the ongoing hope for peace in Yemen.

29 May 2002 - LFY-Liverpool organised a seminar on the latest development in Yemen after the Yemeni-Yemeni Consultations in Riyadh that took place from 30 March – 10 April. 

27 February 2022 - Labour Friends of Yemen in West Midlands took part in the by-election campaign with Labour candidate Paulette Hamilton for Birmingham Erdington.

In the campaign, LFY’s members met with Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, Shadow Secretary of State for International Development Preet Gill and the Labour MP for Walsall South Valerie Vaz.

They discussed the potential coming work about Yemen including having international pressure on all Yemeni parties to come to peaceful dialogue, holding all parties responsible especially those who have committed, and still commit, serious violations of human rights and the international humanitarian law. Leaders of our party have expressed interest in hearing more from LFY regarding Yemen issues, and future meetings have been agreed. 

12 February 2022: The coordinators of LFY’s branch in Liverpool had a constructive meeting and discussed several issues related to branch activities. The meeting discussed the importance of opening up all airports in Yemen for humanitarian aid and how to streamline the process of checks for cargo ships going to Yemen. Means to highlight the issue of Yemen within Labour and outside was also discussed. A hashtag #RememberYemen was suggested to be the title of a campaign and a monthly vigil in Liverpool and other cities, involving Labour MPs, Mayors and councillors.

19 November 2021: The executive committee held a positive meeting with LFY's chair Gill Furniss. In the meeting, new parliamentary supporters who joined the group recently were welcomed:

Clive Betts MP,
Sheffield South East
Sir Tony Lloyd MP, Rochdale
Rachael Maskell MP, York Central
Kim Leadbeater MP, Batley and Spen
Debbie Abrahams MP, Oldham East and Saddleworth
Julie Elliott MP, Sunderland Central
The Baroness Goudie
The Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale

The latest activities of the group both inside and outside the parliament were highlighted, and future tasks were agreed in order to continue to raise the profile of the war in Yemen and the humanitarian crisis in Parliament and the Labour movement.

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.

Wales Branch Established 

4 July 2021: The LFY Wales branch has been established in Cardiff today. The launch of Wales branch is another achievement and a consolidation to unite the efforts of the Labour Party to end the war in Yemen and achieve a sustainable and just peace and help the Yemeni people to rebuild a modern state based on principles of democracy, human rights, equal citizenship and national sovereignty.

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

27 November 2020: LFY hosted a meeting with the Yemeni deputy health minister Dr Abdul Raqeeb Al-Haidary, who is currently visiting the UK. Dr Al-Haidary spoke about the dire health situation in Yemen and how the UK government can help in this front, as well being actively involved in fostering the peace process. The meeting was attended by Gill Furniss MP and Kim Johnson MP, as well as several health and medical experts.

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. 

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

 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.

28 June 2020: LFY branches coordinators had a constructive virtual meeting with the executive committee. The meeting discussed several organisational issues and future plans for both the group as a whole and the local branches. Ideas were exchanged and several recommendations were stipulated in order to boost LFY’s activities in line with the latest devastated developments in Yemen

12 June 2020: The LFY executive committee had a constructive meeting with Mr Wayne David MP, the shadow minister for the Middle East and North Africa. The meeting which was chaired by Gill Furniss MP, Chair of LFY, discussed several issues in relation to the Yemeni conflict and the humanitarian crisis, as well as Labour policy towards Yemen and its role in bringing peace.
Mr Wayne David expressed his delight in being introduced to the group and stated that the humanitarian situation in Yemen is undoubtedly catastrophic and more pressure should be put on the government and the international community to alleviate the suffering of the people in Yemen. He stressed that a military solution to the conflict in Yemen will not be feasible, and that there will come a time when all warring parties must make concessions and reach reconciliation.
Mr David admitted that a decline in the level of interest in Yemen by the British government has been noticeable of late and that the Labour Party should play a leading role in putting pressure on the Foreign Office to make a tangible shift in UK policy for more robust engagement with the Yemeni issue.
In ending Mr David expressed his wish to continue working with LFY, and to take note of LFY recommendations in considering matters related to Yemen going forward.
Gill Furniss MP expressed LFY’s commitment to work with Mr Wayne David and others through the shadow Foreign Office, applying more pressure on Dominic Raab and other government officials, as well as the UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths to work towards an immediate ceasefire and a long lasting peace. 

24 April 2020: The LFY executive committee held its second virtual meeting. The meeting was co-chaired by Stephen Twigg (former Chair) and Gill Furniss MP (newly appointed Chair). The meeting discussed several agenda items and concluded the following actions:

1. Approving LFY’s letter to Dominic Raab (the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs) and to Lisa Nandy (the Shadow Foreign Secretary) regarding the obligation of the UK government and the International Community to act quickly to help and support Yemen to cope with Covid-19 pandemic.

2. To write a letter to the UK government and the International Community to provide urgent help in response to the catastrophic outcomes of the recent flooding in Aden.

3. LFY to take a lead in community initiatives aiming to thank and support the NHS staff for their heroism and sacrifices amid the Covid-19 crisis.

17 April 2020: The LFY executive committee held its first virtual meeting, chaired by Stephen Twigg. The meeting discussed several agenda items and concluded the following actions:

1. The appointment of Gill Furniss MP as a new Chair of LFY.
2. Sending a letter to the UK government regarding the urgent help Yemen needs to confront the imminent and devastating Coronavirus outbreak.  
3. Distributing responsibilities for carrying out LFY’s media and setting up new guidelines.  

15 February 2020: The LFY-Liverpool branch had their first meeting in which members affirmed their commitment to working together under the Labour party’s vision and values to achieve the aims set by the national LFY. The group will also be setting out their local aims and objectives at a future meeting. The group discussed local community needs, issues and their ambition to work to promote awareness of the Yemeni community issue at local and national level.

The branch will also support the activities of the local Labour Party. In addition, it was agreed that the following seven will be the coordinators for the LFY-Liverpool branch: Mohamed Alfakeeh, Showqi Ali, Amina  Atiq, Najib  Al-Hakimi, Kamal  Mashjari, Edres Musaid and Shadha  Nasser. 

11 January 2020: The executive committee held a constructive meeting in Liverpool with Stephen Twigg (Chair of LFY). In the meeting a review of 2019 achievements and future plans for 2020 were discussed.

8 December 2019: Labour Friends of Yemen (LFY) held a lively election campaign event in Liverpool yesterday with active participation and engagement from the Yemeni community and local communities in the city.
The event hosted Labour Party candidates Kim Johnson (for Riverside) and Paula Barker (for Wavertree), as well as Theresa Griffin (Member of European Parliament) and Councillors Steve Munby, Abdul Basit Qadir and Joanne Anderson. Speakers highlighted various aspects of Labour Party manifesto and how it could positively impact the life of local communities as well as the whole country. They also expressed their solidarity with Yemen during the current crisis, and committed their support for all peace missions and humanitarian efforts that could alleviate the suffering of the Yemeni people.
The participants praised the efforts of Stephen Twigg MP (Chair of LFY) in establishing the group, and his commitments towards Yemen for many years. The event concluded with the nomination of seven coordinators for the LFY-Liverpool branch:
1. Alfakeeh, Mohamed
2. Ali, Haifa
3. Atiq, Amina
4. Al-Hakimi, Najib
5. Mashjari, Kamal
6. Musaid, Edres
7. Nasser, Shadha

7 December 2019: Labour Friends of Yemen (LFY) held a lively election campaign event in Sheffield yesterday. A large community presence and strong participation from Yemeni and Muslim communities in the city. The event hosted the Labour Party candidate Gill Furniss and Councillors Abdul Khayum and Talib Hussian.
In her contribution, Gill Furniss stressed the importance of voting Labour in the upcoming election and urged all members of the British-Yemeni community to engage fully with the election campaign and thereafter. She assured the audience that she will continue supporting all efforts that will bring peace to Yemen and help alleviate the suffering of the Yemeni people.
The event also saw the launch of the LFY-Sheffield branch with the aim to facilitate a direct link with Labour MPs in Sheffield.

30 November 2019:  A second successful meeting was hosted by Labour Friends of Yemen West Midlands (LFY-WM) with Labour candidate Khalid Mahmood (for Birmingham, Perry Barr), West Midlands Metro Mayor candidate Salma Yaqoob and Councillor Waseem Zaffar from Lozells Ward.
The Labour Party’s manifesto for the election was highlighted, particularly issues of special concern to the British Yemeni and Muslim communities in the UK, as well as the means of tackling them. This was followed by a session of constructive discussions and a Q & A with a large audience from various Muslim communities. LFY-WM coordinators explained the role of Yemenis in the UK and in supporting Labour for many years.
Labour candidates, who were briefed on the suffering of the Yemeni people due to the war and the Houthi coup, expressed their support to work alongside us to stop the war in Yemen and work with other friends of Yemen to reach a sustainable peace. They praised the role of British Yemeni and Muslim communities in the UK in engaging with and supporting Labour. They indicated the importance of the participation of the British-Yemeni community in the coming election, calling on all of us to encourage our family members to go and vote on the 12th of December. 

23 November 2019: A successful meeting was held in Birmingham yesterday with Labour candidate for Hall Green constituency Tahir Ali, and councillor Nicky Brennan. Candidate Ali and Councillor Brennan spoke about the importance of campaigning for the upcoming election on 12th December and the mechanisms of achieving the Labour party manifesto.
The LFY team informed Candidate Ali and Councillor Brennan about the dire situation in Yemen and the suffering of civilians from the war and the Houthi coup. They highlighted the necessity to cease the supply of arms to all the parties in the conflict to stop the war and further suffering.

The coordinators of the LFY West Midlands explained the historic significance of the British Yemenis support for the Labour Party, and thanked the attendees who came despite the short notice, reflecting the significant level of political astuteness across the Yemeni community.

Mr Ali praised the Yemeni community at large, for their engagement and long-standing support for The Labour Party, noting that Labour will be paying more attention to British Yemenis and their concerns going forward. He also congratulated the establishment of LFY West Midlands, and emphasised his support to achieve its objectives.
It is worth mentioning that the Labour Party is highly dependent on the participation of the Yemeni community in the upcoming election, and urges all Yemenis to encourage their family members to register to vote.

16 November 2019: The LFY West Midlands branch was established. During the launch meeting, previous activities and achievements of the LFY group since its establishment in February 2019 was highlighted. The launch of the West Midlands branch is a new achievement and a consolidation to unite the efforts of the Labour Party to end the war in Yemen and achieve a sustainable and just peace and help the Yemeni people to rebuild a modern state based on principles of democracy, human rights and equal citizenship.
The branch will also support the activities of the Labour Party, especially the current election campaign, and support the party's candidates in the relevant constituencies.

The West Midlands branch coordinators:  

  • Al-Shameri, Ma'moon
  • Al-Shameri, Yousef 
  • Hussain, Khalid 
  • Mutahar, Mahdi 
24 September 2019: Members of LFY team had a very constructive meeting with Emily Thornberry (the Shadow Foreign Secretary) at the Labour Party Annual Conference. The team had the chance to introduce the group and explain its mission and objectives. Emily showed a great interest and expressed her willingness to support the group and its future activities.
The team had also a chance to speak to Jeremy Corbyn and meet other Labour MPs and activists.

6 September 2019: The LFY executive committee held a meeting in Liverpool  with Stephen Twigg MP (Chair). The meeting reviewed the LFY action plan and future activities. A number of practical steps were discussed in particular the participation of LFY members in the upcoming Party Annual Conference in Brighton.

22 May 2019: LFY had a constructive meeting with Yemen information minister Moammar Al-Eryani, in which concerns and matters related to the conflict in Yemen, the humanitarian situation and prospects of peace were exchanged. The meeting attended by Stephen Twigg MP (Chair), Graham Jones (Hon. President), Catherine West MP, Richard Burden MP, Yemeni Ambassador to the UK, and members of the admin team as well as other Yemeni government’s delegates.        


13 May 2019: The LFY Team held its first meeting with the Advisory Board in London, with Stephen Twigg MP (Chair), Kate Osamor MP, Catherine
West MP, Taher Qassim and Noel Brehony.

A number of practical steps were agreed including the formation of the group’s advisory board, the formation of the city subgroups and the group’s participation in the Labour Party’s Annual Conference 2019.  

18 March 2019: The LFY Team held its second meeting in London with Stephen Twigg MP (Chair), Grahams Jones MP (Honorary President), Keith Vaz MP and Richard Burden MP.
A number of practical steps were agreed to consolidate LFY’s status and in coordinating and managing LFY’s plans and activities for 2019.
Follow us for all forthcoming campaigns and events.

9 March 2019: First LFY Team meeting with Stephen Twigg, Liverpool,