Organizations from across the world call for solidarity with people of Yemen

Over 50 organizations expressed grave concern over the acute humanitarian crisis affecting Yemen. 14 million people or more are at risk of famine, and 22 million are in constant need of humanitarian aid

February 16, 2019 by Peoples Dispatch
Half of all Yemeni children under the age of 5 suffer from chronic malnutrition.

A group of over 50 global political and social organizations, as well as human rights groups, has made an urgent appeal for international solidarity for the millions of Yemenis trapped by war and conflict, which has pushed a vast majority of them to the brink of starvation. The appeal has been made under the leadership of FIAN International, a human rights organization involved in advocacy of food and nutrition rights of the oppressed and underprivileged people around the world.

Some of the signatories to this appeal include the Arab Network for Food Sovereignty (ANFS), Jordanian Women’s Union, Palestinian Stop the Wall organization, Salaam for Yemen, the Lebanese Communist party, the Bethlehem Farmers’ Association and the Farmworker Association of Florida, USA. Together, they expressed grave concern over the acute humanitarian crisis affecting Yemen right now. 14 million people or more are at risk of famine, and 22 million, out of a total Yemeni population of 29 million, are in constant need of humanitarian aid. Half of all Yemeni children under the age of five are suffering from chronic malnutrition.

A major cause of the delay and obstruction to food and other humanitarian aid supplies being delivered to Yemen are the blockades, searches and restrictions imposed on the country’s ports on the Red Sea by the Saudi-led coalition’s forces. The most important of them, Hodeidah, received around 70-80% of  imported food supplies of the country before the beginning of the conflict. According to a World Food Program (WFP) estimate in November 2018, food shipments decreased by 50% as commercial ships refused to dock at Yemeni ports due to delays, risks related to the conflict and attacks, and general uncertainty. WFP, for example, currently has 58,434 tons of cereals in silos in Hodeidah, but it is unable to access 51,000 tons of those stocks.

Airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition also routinely target agricultural land, poultry farms, food processing plants, rural markets, fishing boats and small ports. By the end of 2017, every fish-offloading port on the Red Sea coast was attacked by them, with 220 fishing boats destroyed and 146 fishermen killed. Before the war, 73% of the population of Yemen relied on fishing and agriculture for their livelihood. The appeal also said the Houthis were trying to obstruct the delivery of the aid through excessive bureaucratic procedures, attempts to control aid delivery, bribery, etc.

Welcoming the peace negotiations initiated by the UN’s special envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffiths, the appeal called upon the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Canada, Australia, Spain, Brazil and Finland to suspend all arms sales to parties in this conflict. It also urged countries in the Saudi-led coalition, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain, Jordan, Morocco, Egypt and Sudan, to end their military campaigns in the war-torn country, and instead try to work towards achieving a peaceful resolution to the conflict.