HR Activist: Saudi-Led Blockade Main Cause of Worsening Humanitarian Situation in Yemen

Monday, July 20, 2020 - 23:04

Human rights activists from all over the world are calling for an end to a 5-year aggression against Yemen, blaming Saudi Arabia as the main culprit behind the deaths and starvation of millions of civilians.

The United Nations children’s agency, UNICEF, warned last month that the shortage of humanitarian assistance amid the coronavirus pandemic threatens to push more children in Yemen to the brink of starvation.

To get updated on the latest situation of Yemeni children, ISCA News had an interview with human rights activist Abdulsalam Al-Dhahebi, a Swedish citizen from Yemen.

The UNICEF reported that the number of malnourished children in Yemen could increase to 2.4 million by the end of the year, which would be equivalent to nearly half of all Yemeni children under the age of five.

The UNICEF report “Yemen five years on: Children, conflict and COVID-19” added that as the country’s “devastated health system and infrastructure overall struggles to cope with the coronavirus pandemic, the already dire situation for children is likely to deteriorate considerably.”

“If we do not receive urgent funding, children will be pushed to the brink of starvation and many will die,” UNICEF Yemen representative Sara Beysolow Nyanti said. “We cannot overstate the scale of this emergency.”

Yemen was turned into the scene of the world’s worst humanitarian crisis after Saudi Arabia and a number of its allies launched a war against the country about five years ago.

The ongoing war was meant to subdue a popular uprising that had toppled a Riyadh-friendly regime. While the Saudi-led coalition has failed to achieve that objective, it has been continuing often blind operations that kill and maim civilians, including children.

Here comes the full text of the interview:

Q: In a recent report at savethechildren website, it has warned that the situation is getting worse because of funding cuts. Who is responsible for the cuts?

A: The blockade imposed by the Saudi-led aggression is the main reason of the catastrophic humanitarian situation of the Yemeni people, according to a report by the United Nations Special Reporter on human rights and international sanctions, Mr. Idriss Al-Jazairy, the blockade was the main cause of the humanitarian catastrophe.

It has restricted and disrupted the import and export of food, fuel, and medical supplies as well as the humanitarian aid.

The blockade involves a variety of regulatories, mostly arbitrary, restrictions enforced by the coalition forces – including an unreasonable delay and/or denial of entry to vessels to the Yemeni ports.

More than 120 days until today the Saudi-led coalition has illegally detained all supply ships without offering any explanation for these measures.

The ships were searched in Djibouti and obtained the required license to reach Alhodeidah Port in Yemen, but they were captured in the middle of the Red Sea and were redirected and detained in front of Jazan by the Saudi-led coalition’s warships.

Q: In the recent report, it is said that, “between January and April of this year, the number of people accessing child health care services plummeted by 81 percent.” Who has to be blamed or what is the reason?

A: The international community is the one to blame, turning a blind eye on the crimes of the Saudi-led coalition, the blockade and targeting the civilian infrastructure of the Yemen including medical facilities would encourage this coalition to continue undermining the human rights of the Yemeni people. The United Nations organization is playing a very negative role in this crisis. The UN Envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths is only focusing on the military file, and paying no attention to the humanitarian situation, he is blaming the de-facto government of Sana'a for paying half a salary for the official employees, calling that unpractical step which is causing an obstacle in the peace process! In addition to that he is arguing that the advance of the military situation of the De-facto Government of Sana'a in the Marib is the reason of the illegal detentions of the all the commercial shipments in the red sea. It is clearly that he is not considering the suffering of the Yemeni people but playing a partial role in this crisis.

Q: In the report it has been underlined that “families cannot afford to travel to access medical”. Considering that the US-led alliance is refusing to let fuel be imported into Yemen, we know that it can be one of the contributing elements for lack of transportation and high costs of it in the impoverished country. What are other elements that make families unable to travel to medical centers?

A: From the beginning of the war Saudi-led coalition targeted many medical facilities, and bridges and roads, in addition to that they support many terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda which make difficult for people to travel to the big hospitals and special treatment centers.

Q: Saudi Arabia was the first to violate the latest ceasefire with Yemeni forces. If you were a child who could send a message to rulers in Riyadh, what would you ask them?

A: To stop this war!

Interview by: Yasser Nazifi Gilavan, Damir Nazarov


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