Statement Regarding Today’s Pledging Conference for Yemen organized by Switzerland, Sweden, and the United Nations

Statement Regarding Today’s Pledging Conference for Yemen organized by Switzerland, Sweden, and the United Nations

March 01, 2021

The Embassy of the Republic of Yemen in Washington, DC expresses its sincere gratitude to its allies and other close international partners today for their generous contributions at the United Nations’ virtual high-level pledging conference on the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Yemen. Led by the efforts of Sweden and Switzerland, the pledging conference garnered $1.7 billion in total donations that will help alleviate the suffering of millions of innocent Yemeni men, women, and children.

However, little to none of those suffering will receive this aid if the international community does not exert maximum pressure on the Houthis to end their campaign against the Yemeni people by stealing precious resources and blocking aid delivery. As the conflict turns towards its seventh year, the Yemeni people need this aid desperately.

80 percent of the Yemeni population relies on aid assistance and protection. Each month, the UN’s humanitarian operations help provide essential relief to more than 10 million Yemenis in need. The funds pledged today by our partners will be used to support the people most in need through a variety of programs and initiatives operating around the country.

The Embassy also thanks newly appointed Secretary of State Antony Blinken and the Biden administration for further highlighting the importance of addressing and ending the humanitarian crisis in Yemen. The United States continues to be an important partner in humanitarian aid, pledging $191 million for this year, and more than $3 billion over the past five years. The United Stats’s continued contributions only further strengthens the longstanding ties between the two countries.

“Today, famine is bearing down on Yemen,” Secretary-General Antonio Guterres stated at the conference. “The race is on, if we want to prevent hunger and starvation from taking millions of lives. It is impossible to overstate the severity of the suffering in Yemen.”

Today’s pledging conference comes at a time when the Houthis have made clear that they have no plan to help end the humanitarian crisis. Instead, they would rather continue their assault on Marib, attack innocent civilians in neighboring countries, and obstruct humanitarian aid workers and projects from fulfilling their duties. This obstruction in the aid process has caused the UN to cut back or even end relief programs. The funds raised today will help address these cutbacks as well as persistent challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic, despite the Houthis’ antagonistic behavior.

“Right now, millions of Yemenis are looking to the world for help,” Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Lowcock said. “The good news is the world knows exactly what is needed to prevent catastrophe: pay for the aid operation, ensure access for aid workers, support the economy, and – most of all – end the war. The only question is: what will the world choose to do?”

Therefore, member countries must recognize that humanitarian aid and programs, while helpful, mean nothing if they continue to be blocked by the Houthis from reaching the people who need it most. As Prime Minister Dr. Maeen Saeed noted at the conference, the Houthis actively threaten the lives of two million Yemenis with their terror in Marib. “Aid alone won’t end the conflict.” Secretary Blinken’s words will ring hollow if there is no active effort from member countries to pressure and stop the Houthis and their malfeasance.

Despite the Houthis’ transgressions, the legitimate internationally recognized government continues to work closely with its international partners to help innocent Yemenis in the face of these various threats. The Embassy of the Republic of Yemen will continue to work closely with its international partners to ensure that essential humanitarian aid is effectively and efficiently delivered to the people of Yemen and reaffirms its commitment to reaching a peaceful, political resolution to the conflict.

HOUTHIS CONDEMN 30 DETRACTORS TO DEATH: NEW EVIDENCE POINTS TO TORTURE OF DETAINEES

HOUTHIS CONDEMN 30 DETRACTORS TO DEATH

NEW EVIDENCE POINTS TO TORTURE OF DETAINEES

On July 12, the United Nations Office of the High Counselor on Human Rights demanded the Iran-backed Houthi militias in Yemen rescind their death sentence against 30 political prisoners, citing credible allegations of torture and ill-treatment. Several prominent world leaders and organizations have made similar requests. The Yemen Government continues to demand their immediate release.

  1. UN Human Rights Council – “Deeply Alarmed”

The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights says it is “deeply alarmed” at death penalty sentences handed down to 30 men, asking the Houthi’s to dismiss the politically-motived charges. “At no point were they given a proper chance to present a defense, the arrests took place without a warrant, and they were held without being brought to court for several months or up to a year” [1]

  1. Amnesty International – “Mockery of Justice”

According to Amnesty International Middle East Director of Research Lynn Maalouf: “This trial was a mockery of justice and only confirms how the judiciary, is turning into a tool of repression. Today, thirty individuals, and all of their loved ones, are bracing for what is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment, and handed down following such flagrantly unfair trials. We call on the Houthi authorities to quash these unjust convictions and brutal sentences and release the 30 men immediately.”[2]

  1. Member of Canadian Parliament – “Houthis Must Drop Charges”

Member of Canadian Parliament David Anderson tweeted on July 9: “Once again, I call on the Houthi authorities in #Yemen to immediately drop all charges against Yemeni Baha’i, Hamed bin Haydara, who is appealing his death sentence ahead of his court hearing today. #YemeniBahais” [3]

  1. Reuters – “Torture and Lack of Access to Medical Care”

Reporting from Geneva, a July 12 story in Reuters stated: “Detainees include Youssef al-Bawab, a linguistics professor and political figure who was held in detention amid allegations of torture and lack of access to legal counsel and medical care.”[4]

  1. USCIRF – “Egregious Violation of Justice”

On July 1, The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom called on the Houthis to release Hamid bin Haidaricase, whose case “is an egregious violation of justice based on the Houthis’ intolerance of religious minorities in Yemen.” [5]

[1] https://twitter.com/UNGeneva/status/1149703215388270592

[2] https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2019/07/yemen-huthi-run-court-sentences-30-political-opposition-figures-to-death-following-sham-trial/

[3] https://twitter.com/DavidAndersonSK/status/1148571735945633792

[4] https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-yemen-security-un/u-n-urges-yemen-houthi-court-to-review-30-death-sentences-idUKKCN1U7199

[5] https://www.uscirf.gov/news-room/press-releases-statements/uscirf-calls-houthi-court-in-yemen-overturn-death-sentence

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