Saudi Arabia is Starving and Bombing Yemeni Civilians — With US-Made Weapons

By Abby Brook, MENA Intern, Amnesty International USA

As families across the US gather for the holidays, millions of civilians in Yemen are on the brink of starvation because of a full blockade imposed by Saudi Arabia a few weeks ago. Humanitarian assistance, including food and medicine, is being prevented from reaching Yemeni civilians.

Yemeni children have been dying at unprecedented rates and images of estimated 400,000 malnourished children are going viral. Children and pregnant women are especially at risk of starvation. An estimated 130 or more Yemeni children die every day from extreme hunger and disease, a number expected to increase with the recently imposed blockade, according to Save the Children. The blockade is preventing Yemeni civilians from gaining access to 500,000 much needed metric tons of food, according to Amnesty International’s report. The fear of famine and starvation is now a reality.

Saudi Arabia is not only preventing food from reaching these civilians, but also bears responsibility for vicious attacks on civilians and civilian targets in Yemen.

Earlier this year, another set of tragic photos went viral. That time, it was about a 5-year-old girl called Buthaina who lost her parents and all five of her siblings when their home was bombed by Saudi Arabia. Amnesty International researchers found that the weapons that killed Buthaina, her family, and many of her neighbors, were made in the U.S.

The US is not just an innocent spectator to what’s going on in Yemen. Our country may be playing a significant role in enabling the starvation and killing of civilians there.

The U.S. continues to provide Saudi Arabia with arms, even though we have compelling evidence that US weapons have been used to commit war crimes.

The U.S. government must end weapon sales to Saudi Arabia and other members of the Saudi-led coalition immediately! Not only is this immoral and making the U.S. complicit in the deaths and starvation of thousands of Yemeni civilians, but it is also flouts international and US law.

Under US law, the Arms Export Control Act (AECA) prohibits the government from selling weapons to other countries that might use them to commit war crimes. It also prohibits selling weapons to countries obstructing US humanitarian aid. Saudi Arabia is guilty of both these violations. Selling weapons to the US also violates the Presidential Policy Directive 27 (PPD 27) that states U.S. arms transfers should not “contribute to human rights violations or violations of international humanitarian law.”

If the U.S. continues to provide weapons for Saudi Arabia, it may be complicit in war crimes and the starvation of millions of Yemeni people because of the blockade. It is time for the Trump administration to abide by international and US law and stop supporting the Saudi-led coalition’s violations in Yemen.