Monday, January 11, 2021

Designating the Houthis Threaten Aid

It’s brutal what’s happening against civilians in Yemen. I don’t know how much more suffering civilians can tolerate. Life is already hell in Yemen. The designation would have disastrous ramification on the already dire economic & humanitarian crisis in Yemen.

Accountability for Houthis abuses is very crucial but does the US State Department realize that this action would harm civilians more than the Houthis? & would threaten humanitarian aid on which millions of Yemenis rely on for survival? 

Comes to my mind now the words of the UN’s @UNReliefChief Mark Lowcock, “Yemenis are not “going hungry”. They are being starved.” Such designation would lead to exacerbating an already shocking level of hunger in Yemen.

The designation would have a devastating effect on the humanitarian response in Yemen, in the short & long terms. As if the current death toll wasn't enough! With such designation, the U.S. would risk complicity in hundreds of thousands of preventable civilian deaths in Yemen.

Amid shocking levels of hunger in Yemen, extreme shortages of humanitarian funds & a gruelling environment for aid groups to operate at, the designation would worsen the already terrible situation. International aid groups have warned a while ago that blacklisting the Houthis would cost innocent lives in Yemen. 

We in Human Rights Watch warned last month how the designation would threaten aid. HRW said any designation of the Houthis should at a minimum provide clear and immediate exemptions for humanitarian aid, but millions of lives should not have to depend on that.

Last year, Human Rights Watch documented that the parties to the conflict, particularly the Houthis, have imposed a series of obstacles for local & intl' humanitarian groups to navigate, including logistic difficulties and outright obstruction of aid delivery.

Clearly, the designation would exacerbate an already difficult situation for humanitarian groups. Houthi authorities and other warring parties should ensure the unimpeded passage of humanitarian assistance, including in the event of this designation.

What I find most incredible is how Trump's admin still found the chance to announce the potential designation, while Trump is creating this craziness in DC.

The US has stood by as Saudi and UAE forces have committed war crimes in Yemen, sometimes with US weapons. It adds insult to injury that the Trump administration – as a parting gift to its Gulf allies – would take such drastic action that is sure to harm even more civilians.

To say that the designation represents a huge risk to millions of civilians, it doesn't dismiss the fact that the Houthis have committed gross human rights violations & war crimes - as the UN's GEE found in its 2020 report