JUNE 28, 2019

Press Release:  On the Resolutions Introduced in The House and Senate Condemning the Houthi Extremists in Yemen by Representative Will Hurd and Senator Tom Cotton.

 

The Embassy of Yemen supports the concurrent resolutions introduced in the House and Senate by Representative Will Hurd (R-TX-23) and Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) condemning the Houthi extremists in Yemen for their human rights violations, violence against Yemeni civilians and ties to Iran.

“For years, the Houthis and their Iranian backers have violated international human rights law and committed war crimes with the goal of spreading their violent, hateful, anti-Semitic ideology,” said Dr. Ahmed Awad BinMubarak, Ambassador of Yemen to the United States. “We welcome these congressional resolutions, which recognize Houthis as an international threat and the bad actors that they truly are. In order to reach a peaceful, political solution in Yemen, the United States must remain fully engaged in Yemen, and apply maximum diplomatic, political and economic pressure on the Houthis to bring them to the negotiating table. We urge all members of Congress to pass these resolutions and to support the government of Yemen as it seeks to restore peace and stability to the country.”

The Houthis have committed thousands of atrocities since they began the conflict in 2014. They have littered the country with more than a million landmines that have maimed and murdered innocent men, women and children. They have recruited thousands of children into their military ranks through coercion and bribery, tearing families apart and deeply harming an entire generation of youth. They have diverted critical humanitarian aid and food supplies from the mouths and homes of the needy, exploiting aid supplies on such an extreme scale that the World Food Programme has suspended aid in many Houthi-controlled areas.

Further, Iran has played a major and nefarious role in this conflict by illegally providing weapons, munitions, military training, drone technology and ballistic missile capabilities to the Houthi militias. Recently, Iran has escalated its aggressive posturing in the region by attacking foreign oil tankers and even US drones. In light of these grave threats and affronts to stability and peace in the region, we urge the US Congress to pass these resolutions and condemn Iran for its malign activity in Yemen and the broader Gulf region. We cannot allow the Iranian regime to continue down the warpath it currently treads, or to use Yemen as a platform and the Houthis as a proxy for its violent revolution.

FACTSHEET: Houthi’s Steal Aid from Starving Yemeni Children

WHY IS AID NOT REACHING THE PEOPLE IN YEMEN WHO NEED IT MOST?

 

Recent reports show that the Iran-backed Houthis are blocking aid and deepening the humanitarian crisis. As Dave Harden stated in testimony to the House Foreign Affairs Committee on February 6, “The Houthis could end the humanitarian crisis tomorrow. They are the only actor that actually has that capability.”

 

  1. Houthi’s Steal Food Aid to Buy Political Support

According to an undercover investigation by CNN, humanitarian aid is “being diverted to fighting units or sold on the open market, but most was being used to buy political support for the Houthi cause.”[1]  U.S. diplomats recognize the problem: “At this point, only the Houthis are blocking access,” said acting US ambassador Jonathan Cohen to the U.N.in April. “And they alone will be to blame if the food spoils.”

 

  1. N. May Be Forced to Stop Aid Due To Houthi Acts  

The U.N. World Food Program released a statement on May 20 that it “reluctantly reached the conclusion that unless progress is made on previous agreements, we will have to implement a phased suspension of aid.”[2] “This conduct amounts to the stealing of food from the mouths of hungry people,” WFP executive director David Beasley said. “At a time when children are dying in Yemen because they haven’t enough food to eat, that is an outrage.”

 

  1. Houthi’s Attacked Grain Silos That Feed 3.7 Million

On May 9, Houthi soldiers attacked grain silos outside of the Port of Hodeida, which the United Nations says are critical to feeding millions of Yemeni civilians.[3] The silos contain over 50,000 tons of grain enough to feed 3.7 million people for a month. The attack came shortly after U.N. workers were allowed to access the silos for the first time in months, in a deliberate attempt to hinder humanitarian efforts.

 

  1. Houthi’s Failure to Turn Over Port of Hodeida

As recently as May 15, the Houthi’s resumed fighting in Yemen’s port city of Hodeida, breaching the existing cease-fire.[4] This escalation violates the terms of the Stockholm Agreement, signed last December, and effectively halts their promised withdrawal and transfer of port control to the U.N. As the main port of entry, Hodeida is the lifeline for millions of Yemenis threatened by starvation.

[1] CNN Exposes Systematic Abuse of Aid in Yemen, May 20, 2019

[2] U.N. WFP Official Statement, May 20, 2019

[3] Press Release, Embassy of the Republic of Yemen, May 13, 2019

[4] New York Times, May 15, 2019

Press Release: On the Houthis Pervasive & Deliberate Diversion of Humanitarian Aid in Yemen.

 

WASHINGTON, D.C.,

May 20, 2019

The Embassy of the Republic of Yemen today calls upon the United Nations to make public the true scope of aid diversion from Yemeni civilians, after a CNN investigation found new evidence of the widespread culpability of the Iran-backed Houthis in stealing and misusing humanitarian assistance. Today’s warning from the World Food Programme that it will suspend aid in Houthi-controlled areas suggests the scale of Houthi aid diversion is much greater than previously thought.

“The world cannot stand by while the Iran-backed Houthis starve innocent Yemenis for political purposes,” Dr. Ahmed BinMubarak, Yemen’s Ambassador to the United States, said. “Houthi abuse of humanitarian assistance has been repeatedly documented by aid groups and international media, and this new CNN investigation presents even more condemning evidence. The U.N. to make clear the real scope of Houthi aid diversion, and the international community should make guaranteed aid access a precondition of any engagement with the Houthis.”

The CNN undercover investigation found the Houthis have diverted food and other aid supplies on a far greater scale than what the United Nations previously has reported. The probe showed how the Houthis have diverted critical supplies from starving children and malnourished civilians in favor of feeding their soldiers.

The findings corroborate U.N. allegations last year that the Houthis deliberately blocked aid deliveries and used famine as a political weapon against citizens living in Houthi-controlled areas. While the U.N. has estimated that only 1 percent of all aid was going missing in Yemen, the new CNN investigation suggests the aid theft is far more pervasive.

The Houthis have a history of imposing severe restrictions on humanitarian workers in their territory, which include stealing and diverting aid supplies to benefit Houthi soldiers or to sell on the open market. The Houthis also use humanitarian aid to buy political support, rewarding what the U.N. calls “non-deserving populations” if they pledge to fight while punishing tribes, civilians and extremely vulnerable groups that only wish to remain neutral.

The Embassy of the Republic of Yemen categorically rejects the excuses of Houthi representative Hussin Al-Ezzi, who told CNN: “Mistakes happen sometimes.” Intentionally stealing aid meant to reach the most vulnerable civilians to feed militant groups or reward the corrupt can never be shrugged off as “mistakes.” These are horrific crimes against the Yemeni people.

“The Houthi leadership admits that they treat civilians as ‘capital’ for the war, to be fed or starved as they see fit to advance their political interests,” Ambassador BinMubarak said. “This famine is not a ‘mistake.’ The Houthis are deliberately starving Yemenis and blocking legitimate organizations such as the World Food Programme because they think it will tighten their hold on power.”

Last year, the World Food Programme (WFP) assessed seven districts in Houthi-controlled Sana’a and found some 60% of people had not received any aid. The shortfall was not a reflection of lack of supplies. It was a reflection of a Houthi fraud.

In recent months, the Houthis also blocked WFP access to grain supplies that could have fed millions of Yemenis. As Jonathan Cohen, the acting U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, said: “Only the Houthis are blocking access to the mills… And they alone will be to blame if the food spoils.”

Today, we learned that the WFP is considering the suspension of aid in Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen, a remarkable warning from the UN program.  According to WFP, the Houthis have denied access to aid workers, blocked aid convoys, and interfered with aid distribution. The Houthis continue to place obstacles placed in the way of WFP’s independent selection of beneficiaries and a request for a roll out of a biometric registration system. Unfortunately, Houthi leaders have “broken assurances” given to WFP, and negotiations have yielded no tangible solutions.