US-backed Saudi war and blockade puts millions of lives at risk in Yemen
18 November 2017
The heads of the World Health Organization, UNICEF and the World Food Program (WFP) released a joint statement Thursday demanding the immediate lifting of the Saudi blockade of Yemen, warning that it is putting millions of lives at risk in the poorest country in the Arab world.
On November 6, Saudi Arabia dramatically escalated its nearly three-year war against Yemen by implementing the total blockade of all seaports, airspace and land crossings into the country. The move came in supposed response to the firing of a single missile from Yemen which was shot down near Riyadh’s international airport.
The blockade is a war crime being carried out in direct violation of Article 33 of the Geneva Conventions, adopted in the aftermath of World War II, which bars the collective punishment of civilians. According to a confidential brief obtained by the Intercept, UN experts believe that Saudi Arabia is deliberately blocking the delivery of aid without any legal justification.
Amid calls to lift the blockade, Saudi’s ambassador to the UN facetiously announced that ports and airports controlled by coalition backed forces would be reopened, meaning that an overwhelming majority of the country remains under blockade. Hodeida, the port through which 80 percent of humanitarian aid enters the country, is still controlled by the Houthis and therefore remains blocked from receiving shipments of any kind.
WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake and WFP Executive Director David Beasley warned that “untold thousands” will die without access to crucial life-saving medicines, vaccines and food supplies. Even before the crushing…