Sinn Féin spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Defence John Brady TD today expressed his concern at the constraints that will be placed upon humanitarian agencies attempting to deal with the crisis in Yemen, following the decision of the Trump administration to classify the Houthis as a terrorist organisation.
Speaking today, Teachta Brady said:
“The United Nations have labelled the situation in Yemen as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
“Yemen has been buffeted by international forces for many years. It has essentially become a pawn in a geo-political power struggle between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
“The Trump administration have backed the Saudi regime’s efforts in Yemen from the offset. These latest developments must be viewed in the wider context of Trump’s anti-Iranian agenda.
“That the new designation will come into force the day before President-elect Joe Biden is sworn into office, offers a further indication of the malign intent of the Trump administration to hamstring the foreign policy agenda of the incoming Biden administration.
“The consequences for the ordinary people of Yemen have been catastrophic. Torn apart by civil war, its economy in ruins, Yemen endured the worst cholera outbreak in modern history.
“The Yemeni people need aid, they need assistance. The reality on the ground is that the Houthis control the country’s capital, and the north-west region. This puts in place considerable obstacles to aid organisations working to address the humanitarian crisis in these areas.
“Jan Egeland, Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council claimed that ‘where sanctions threaten to make our work illegal, they threaten the survival of people who depend on it’.
“Humanitarian workers are concerned with saving lives, of attempting to lessen the impact of the civil-war on ordinary people. They do not take sides in the conflict.
“In November the General-Secretary of the UN, António Guterres warned that Yemen was ‘…in imminent danger of the worst famine that the world has seen in decades’.
“I call on the Irish government and the EU to make every effort to ensure that the humanitarian agencies working in Yemen are allowed to continue to give aid and assistance to the 24 million – approx. 80% of the population – Yemen people who are in need of help according to the UN.”