Association for Defending Victims of Terrorism – Serious repercussions likely to follow US plan to designate Yemen combatants terrorists, UN warns
The United States government’s decision to designate Ansar Allah, more commonly known as the Houthi rebel group in Yemen, as terrorists, is likely to have “serious humanitarian and political repercussions”, the UN spokesperson said on Monday.
The US chief diplomat will present his plan to Congress on 19 January and, if the US follows through on his threat, imports of food, and other essential items, could be negatively impacted, at a time when more Yemenis are starving, Stephane Dujarric, the UN spokesperson warned, briefing correspondents at UN Headquarters on Monday.
Save the Children also warned that the humanitarian crisis in Yemen would likely deepen in the coming weeks, placing thousands of children at further risk of starvation and disease, after the U.S. Government announced its decision to roll out a new terrorism designation on Ansar Allah, who are also the de facto authorities in northern Yemen. This designation could directly threaten the supply of lifesaving food, fuel and medicine in Yemen, add obstacles to the humanitarian response, as well as hamper efforts to end the conflict, at a time when new data show that millions of people in the country are edging closer to famine.
Janti Soeripto, President and CEO of Save the Children U.S., said:
“Humanitarian actors have warned for weeks that the consequences of this decision could be catastrophic for countless children and their families in Yemen who are barely surviving. While we welcome that the U.S. intends to exempt some humanitarian efforts and critical commercial goods such as food and medicine from sanctions, they must immediately clarify how such exemptions will work in practice. And even with exemptions in place, we must be clear that these sanctions could still create serious disruptions to Yemen’s economy, which is already near collapse placing many more vulnerable families in harm’s way.”
Kevin Watkins, CEO of Save the Children UK, said:
“This is a disastrous decision for Yemeni children. Before more children lose their lives, the UK must use the power of its pen at the UN Security Council to increase pressure to end the war immediately.
“Nearly ten years ago, the world watched in horror as the famine in Somalia claimed more than 250,000 lives. That famine was exacerbated by delays in aid resulting from policies that failed to prioritise humanitarian need. If we don’t learn from history, we risk condemning Yemeni children and their families to the same fate.”