U.S. Support of Saudi War on Yemen a Humanitarian Disaster & Possible War Crime

A public hearing of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, November 17, 2016.

From the Commission:

A year and a half after the escalation of conflict between the northern Yemeni Houthi movement in alliance with forces still loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, and an international Coalition led by Saudi Arabia seeking to restore the government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour al Hadi, with support from the United States government, the humanitarian situation in Yemen continues to deteriorate. Before the outbreak of conflict, the country already faced a protracted crisis characterized by widespread poverty, food insecurity, poor governance, and weak rule of law, including widely reported human rights violations. The escalation has amplified that crisis, as the parties to the conflict have failed to take adequate steps to protect civilians or fulfill their obligations under international humanitarian law.

Since the collapse of a cessation of hostilities in August of 2016, Yemenis have endured near-daily attacks on civilians, civilian institutions and public infrastructure. In August, the Coalition inadvertently bombed an MSF-supported health facility and school in Sa’ada. In October, a Coalition attack on a funeral gathering in Sana’a left at least 140 people dead and 550 injured. Houthi-Saleh forces have indiscriminately shelled Taizz and other locations, as well as towns and installations inside Saudi Arabia, reportedly using ballistic missiles. Armed Houthi and Saleh forces routinely intimidate, delay and harass humanitarian workers. More than 3 million people are internally displaced, and Yemen is at risk of famine: over 14 million people are food insecure.

Witnesses will discuss the strategic environment in which the conflict is taking place, update the humanitarian situation as it has been exacerbated by the conflict, and offer recommendations to ensure civilian protection.

Featuring testimony from:

James E. Jeffrey, Philip Solondz Distinguished Fellow, Washington Institute
Scott Paul, Senior Policy Advisor, Oxfam USA
Michael Bowers, Vice President for Humanitarian Policy and Practice, Mercy Corps
Krista Zimmerman, Associate Director for International Humanitarian Policy, Save the Children. Read a pdf of Zimmerman’s remarks.
Sunjeev Bery, Advocacy Director, MENA, Amnesty International USA (AIUSA). Read a pdf of Bery’s remarks.

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