Saudi Arabia uses starvation as a weapon in Yemen

20 November 2018

Saudi Arabia uses starvation as a weapon in Yemen

A famine in Yemen unprecedented in its extent is the result of a deliberate tactic. The Netherlands must take the initiative in imposing sanctions on individuals who deploy starvation as a weapon of war.

We are regularly confronted by appalling images of skeletal children in Yemen, the sad result of a devastating war which has already lasted almost four years, between Houthi rebels and the Saudi-led coalition. Many tens of thousands of deaths, millions of refugees, and a famine unprecedented in its extent are the results.

This hunger, which is affecting more than half of the Yemeni population, is more than a sad by-product of war; instead, it is the deliberate policy of Saudi Arabia and its allies, who are imposing an illegal blockade which is preventing the supply of humanitarian aid. The coalition states have also bombed hundreds of farms and markets, as well as numerous food storage facilities, all of which actions constitute war crimes.

To this day these war crimes are ongoing, many of them committed using arms supplied by western countries, which continue to deliver billions of weapons. There is no getting way from the fact that in Yemen starvation is being used as a weapon of war, and on a large scale, and that the west shares the responsibility for this.

That has to stop. The United Nations Security Council, of which the Netherlands is currently a member, offers possibilities to achieve this. In May, on a Dutch initiative, the Security Council adopted Resolution 2417, making it possible to act against individuals who use hunger as a weapon. In a petition from a number of religious leaders recently presented to the Dutch Parliament, the same call was made.

The international community has stayed quiet about Yemen for far too long. Yemenis are paying the price of this silence in their blood, and this is eroding the credibility of the Security Council, the highest body in the world dealing with issues of war and peace.

For this reason the Netherlands, whose membership of the Security Council expires at the end of the year, must set a good example and take an initiative in favour of sanctions against those responsible for the use of starvation as a weapon of war.

This article originally appeared -in the original Dutch language- on the website joop.nl

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