A Call to End the Bombing of Yemen and the Blockade on Its Ports

  • Date: Oct 24 2020
  • Policy Number: 20208

Key Words: Conflict, Violence, War, Warfare, Workplace Safety

Abstract
The civil war in Yemen has engulfed neighboring and distant nation-states in an expanding conflict with significant global implications. Yemen was already the poorest country in the Middle East; in 2017, UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund) declared Yemen’s plight as the biggest humanitarian crisis in the world. An investigation mandated by the United Nations concluded that all of the major parties to the conflict, especially a Saudi Arabian–led coalition and the Yemeni government it backs, have shown a disregard for civilian life, possibly amounting to war crimes. More than 100,000 people have been killed since 2015, more than 3.6 million have been displaced, and more than 24 million are in need of assistance to survive. This policy statement describes the ways in which the conflict has become particularly deadly and proposes three areas of intervention: (1) the U.S. Congress should continue its efforts to employ the 1973 War Powers Act to end our financing of and military collaboration with warring parties, (2) all parties attempting to enforce a blockade of Yemen’s ports should immediately lift barriers to the entry of humanitarian supplies, and (3) robust UN-led efforts should be undertaken to provide immediate relief and reconstruction, especially of the health, education, transportation, and communications infrastructure given that all of these areas are important contributors to health.

Relationship to Existing APHA Policy Statements
APHA has a history of taking a stance against U.S. involvement in war and advocating for the health of populations affected by it. Previous statements adopted by the association related to this topic are as follows:

  • APHA Policy Statement 201910: A Call to End Violent Attacks on Health Workers and Health Facilities in War and Armed Conflict Settings
  • APHA Policy Statement 201810: International Food Security and Public Health: Supporting Initiatives and Actions
  • APHA Policy Statement 20158: Preventing Occupational Transmission of Globally Emerging Infectious Disease Threats
  • APHA Policy Statement 20095: The Role of Public Health Practitioners, Academics, and Advocates in Relation to Armed Conflict and War
  • APHA Policy Statement 20089: Strengthening Health Systems in Developing Countries
  • APHA Policy Statement 200718: Opposition to US Attack on Iran
  • APHA Policy Statement 200617: Opposition to the Continuation of the War in Iraq
  • APHA Policy Statement 200211: Opposing War in Central Asia and the Persian Gulf

The following statements are to be archived, but they represent historical APHA positions in this area:

  • APHA Policy Statement
  • APHA Policy Statement 200030: Preventing Genocide
  • APHA Policy Statement 9923: Opposing War in the Middle East
  • APHA Policy Statement 9817: Arms Trade Code of Conduct
  • APHA Policy Statement 9715: Impact of Economic Embargoes on Populations Health and Wellbeing
  • APHA Policy Statement 8926: Foreign Assistance Act
  • APHA Policy Statement 8531(PP) - The Health Effects of Militarism
  • APHA Policy Statement 7913: World Peace and the Military Budget
  • APHA Policy Statement 7632(PP): Policy Statement on International Health
  • APHA Policy Statement 6716(PP): International Health

Problem Statement
Yemen is sovereign state at the southern end of the Arabian Peninsula. The country has often been divided, having rarely been under the rule of a single government. The current political unrest began in the “Arab Spring” of January 2011, when peaceful protests started in Sana’a and spread to other areas of Yemen; members of the Houthi tribal group were among the protestors. By June, armed conflict with serving president Ali Abdullah Saleh led to his attempted assassination. In November, Saleh transferred power to his deputy, Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi.[1]

In 2014, Houthi insurgents took control of Yemen’s capital and largest city, Sana’a, demanding lower fuel prices and a new government. These insurgents were characterized as Shiite rebels with links to Iran, which had a history of opposition to the Sunni government. After failed negotiations, the rebels seized the presidential palace in January 2015, whereupon President Hadi and his government resigned. Beginning in March 2015, a coalition of Gulf states led by Saudi Arabia launched a campaign of economic isolation and air strikes against the Houthi insurgents, with U.S. logistical and intelligence support. President Hadi rescinded his resignation in 2015 and has lived in exile in Saudi Arabia since the end of 2017.[2]

Saudi Arabia and its coalition of nine neighboring countries, with military, logistical, and intelligence support from the United States,[3] have conducted multiple air strikes on Yemeni markets, hospitals, and other civilian sites since the beginning of the conflict. Blockades on ports of entry impede the import of food and medicine for this country that is highly dependent on such shipments.[4] Yemen was already the poorest country in the Middle East; its plight has now been declared by UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund) as the biggest humanitarian disaster in the world.[5] An investigation mandated by the United Nations (UN) concluded that all of the major parties to the conflict, especially the Saudi Arabian–led coalition and the Yemeni government it backs, have shown a disregard for civilian life, possibly amounting to war crimes.[6]

In March 2019, the U.S. Congress actively objected to U.S support of the war in Yemen with the passage of resolutions for reclamation of the War Powers Act by both the House and the Senate, which would require withdrawal of such support without the approval of Congress. That effort was, however, vetoed by the president in April 2019. On May 24, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo informed Congress that the president was invoking his “emergency authority” to sidestep Congress and complete arms deals with Saudi Arabia. These policies have emboldened the Saudi-led coalition to continue its war and the blockade on Yemen, irrespective of international laws governing war. Millions of Yemeni civilians are affected each day, especially by the blockade of food, medicine, fuel, and essential goods, most of which Yemen must import. The result of this conflict is a man-made famine, scarcity of medicine for chronic and infectious diseases, inadequate medical services, and the largest cholera outbreak in recent history.[7,8] With the combined effects of the conflict, the blockade, and most recently the COVID-19 pandemic, UN humanitarian affairs chief Mark Lowcock has warned that without an immediate cease fire and more funding for aid, the world’s worst humanitarian crisis will only worsen.[9]

The war on Yemen and especially the imposed blockade, both of which are actively supported by the United States, have profound yet preventable public health consequences.

Morbidity and mortality among civilians: According to the Yemen Data Project, as of July 2020, at least 8,712 civilians had been killed and 9,766 wounded.[10] An estimated 24.3 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance.[11]

UNICEF regional director Geert Cappelaere has described Yemen as a “living hell” for children,[12] given the limited access to clean water and food, leaving nearly 12.2 million young lives in need of humanitarian assistance.[10] Children are especially affected by growing rates of malnutrition. An estimated 2 million children younger than 5 years require treatment for acute malnutrition.[7] The UN humanitarian chief reported in 2017 that a child younger than 5 years died every 10 minutes of preventable causes,[13] and in May 2020 an estimated 10.2 million children did not have access to adequate health care.[5]

Children also experience severe psychological effects from war, including anxiety, depression, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anger, and hopelessness.[14,15] Exposure to community violence, including witnessing atrocities, can result in aggression and antisocial behavior among children at the time as well as years after the exposure.[16] In April 2018, an interagency needs assessment showed that 96% of respondents noted significant changes in the behavior, attitudes, and psychosocial well-being of children and child-care providers.[7]

The conflict has also taken a severe toll on children’s access to education. Some 2 million children are out of school, depriving them of an education and exposing them to greater risks of recruitment to armed groups and child marriage.[7]

Between October 2017 and September 2018, the Country-level Task Force on the Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism verified and documented 2,367 victims of grave child rights violations (1,852 boys, 512 girls, 3 children of unknown sex), an increase of 23% from the previous year. These violations included killing and maiming of children, abduction of children, attacks against schools or hospitals, recruitment or use of children as soldiers, denial of humanitarian access for children, and sexual violence against children; overall, there were 1,843 cases of killing and maiming (1,346 boys, 494 girls, 3 children of unknown sex), an increase of 51% since 2017.[7] In late 2019, the UN Group of Eminent International and Regional Experts reported that all parties in conflict had recruited child soldiers, with 3,034 children recruited throughout the war.[17]

Women and girls suffered disproportionately from gender-based violence, poverty, and violations of basic rights before the conflict. The World Bank estimates that, relative to the population as a whole, women are shouldering an inequitable share of the burden in terms of worsening poverty rates and deprivations.[18]

Deteriorating security and economic conditions are affecting women’s and girls’ mobility as well as their access to services and resources. Their ability to reach health, nutrition, and other services remains a challenge due to distance and a lack of financial means to afford transport. The death of male relatives, given that men are usually the primary breadwinners in Yemeni families, increases economic pressure, especially for female-headed households.[7]

Conflict and economic pressure increase risks of gender-based violence, which disproportionately affects women and girls. In 2018, Yemeni women and girls received nearly 85% of all services for gender-based violence survivors, including psychological, legal, health, and shelter support.[7]

Shifting frontlines, food insecurity, disputes over land use and ownership, and natural disasters all contribute to primary and secondary displacement. As of the end of 2019, an estimated 3.6 million people had been displaced due to conflict.[19] Almost 400,000 people were newly displaced in 2019.[20] According to the findings of a nationwide multicluster location assessment, internally displaced persons, host communities, and returnees most frequently identified food, livelihoods, and drinking water as their top priorities.[21] In 2018, 60% of respondents to an interagency child protection assessment confirmed cases of family separation in their neighborhood due to internal displacement.[7]

Data from the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED) show that between January 2016 and March 2019, more than 3,000 direct attacks targeting civilians were recorded, resulting in approximately 7,000 fatalities—over 2,300 of which occurred in 2018 alone.[22] ACLED reports that 2019 was the second deadliest year in the war, with more than 23,000 direct conflict-related deaths.[23]

Responsibility for the highest number of reported civilian fatalities in Yemen is linked to the Saudi-led coalition, with approximately 4,700 reported civilian fatalities since 2016 — including 67 in 2019 — stemming from coalition activity.[22] The Houthis and their allies are responsible for approximately 1,300 reported civilian fatalities, including 149 in 2019.[22]

Air strikes declined overall between June 2017 and January 2020, and then a unilateral 2-week cease fire was declared in early April 2020.[24] In the week prior, the Yemen Data Project had reported 76 air raids with up to 254 individual air strikes. Unfortunately, in the first week of the cease fire, 26 air raids with up to 106 individual air strikes were recorded by the organization. Air strikes have continued to increase since January 2020, with 271 air raids in June, the highest monthly count since July 2018. A total of 1,088 air raids were recorded from January to June 2020 with up to 4,141 individual air strikes, representing a 139% increase from the previous 6 months.[25]

The health effects of bombings are both physical and mental. Psychological harm suffered by civilians as well as combatants includes PTSD, depression, alcohol misuse, and anxiety disorders, all of which can persist for years after the end of combat.[26–28] Victims and survivors of explosive-related incidents need access to proper assistance, including medical, rehabilitation, psychosocial, and socioeconomic inclusion, particularly when survivors are women.

Health care services and infrastructure: According to a 2018 Lancet report, more than half of the health facilities in the country had been destroyed by constant air strikes and regional conflicts, and many Yemeni medical personnel had been working without pay for nearly 2 years.[29] Sameh Al-Awalqi, a health specialist from Yemen, confirmed that health workers in many areas have yet to receive their salaries, some for the third consecutive year. Also, access to services is restricted by the active conflict in hot zones.[29] In addition, the fractured health system has produced two dueling ministries of health, resulting in delays in paperwork necessary for aid organizations to provide health responses along with confusion from international health organizations when designing and managing programs for the country.[29]

In addition to direct air strike attacks, civilians face further risk from infectious disease and malnutrition because of the destruction of the infrastructure and blockades of humanitarian aid entry through the Al-Hudaydah port. An outbreak of cholera began in Yemen in October 2016 and was ongoing as of 2020. More than 2.3 million suspected cholera cases have been reported since 2017—the worst single outbreak on record.[30,31] In February and March 2017, the outbreak seemed to decline during a wave of cold weather, but the number of cholera cases resurged in April 2017.[32] From January 2018 to May 2020, the World Health Organization’s Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office reported 1,368,325 cases, with 1,566 associated deaths reported in 293 of Yemen’s 333 districts.[33] The destruction of Yemen’s infrastructure, including health care facilities, transportation and ports, and water systems and desalination plants, has contributed to the spread of the disease and made it difficult for humanitarian organizations and Yemeni health systems to address the epidemic.[34]

A 2018 study showed that oral cholera vaccines were not distributed until 16 months into the cholera outbreak, after more than a million cases. This delay was most likely due to the ongoing conflict, the destruction of the health care infrastructure, and difficulty sending humanitarian supplies into the country.[35]

Diphtheria, a vaccine-preventable disease, has been widely reported in Yemen since the beginning of the war. From January to October 2019, 1,600 probable cases of diphtheria were reported with 95 associated deaths, and 64% of districts in Yemen have reported probable diphtheria cases.[36] Access to vaccines is restricted, increasing the risk of several serious childhood diseases, as pointed out in a 2018 U.S. National Public Radio report.[12] With an already fragile country infrastructure, the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the humanitarian disaster. UNICEF’s executive director reported that an additional 5 million children were without education due to school closures, and the suspension of vaccine campaigns would lead to 5 million children younger than 5 years not receiving polio vaccinations, 1.7 million children not receiving diphtheria vaccinations, and 2.4 million children not receiving cholera vaccinations.[37]

The first case of COVID-19 was reported in Yemen on April 10, 2020.[38] As of July 2020, there were 1,707 reported cases with 485 associated deaths.[39] The UN humanitarian chief warned in late June 2020 that the introduction of COVID-19 along with Yemen’s already dire humanitarian and economic disaster would lead to continued death in the country and that, without assistance in the humanitarian response and progress toward a peaceful solution, Yemen would “fall off the cliff.”[40] The Group of Eminent International and Regional Experts on Yemen has called for assistance from funders and for all detainees in Yemen at risk of being infected to be released due to the scarcity of adequate health services in the country.[41]

Human rights and the blockade on ports of entry: The UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for health and well-being, a condition denied to millions of Yemenis by war and blockade. Specific violations of Yemeni human rights have been well documented by the UN and other organizations. In September 2019, the United Nations Human Rights Council detailed the findings of its Group of Eminent International and Regional Experts on a range of possible war crimes committed against the Yemen population over the past 5 years, including via air strikes, indiscriminate shelling, snipers, landmines, and other instruments of violence.[42] It urged states to refrain from providing arms that could be used in the conflict and reminded them of their obligation to take all reasonable measures to ensure respect for international humanitarian law by all parties to the conflict.

The blockade of Yemen’s ports has also laid waste to human rights in the midst of the worst humanitarian crisis in the world. According to the Human Rights Watch 2019 World Report, the Saudi-led coalition’s restrictions on imports have worsened the dire humanitarian aid situation. For the past 5 years, the coalition has delayed and diverted fuel tankers, closed critical ports, and stopped goods from entering Houthi-controlled sea ports. Fuel for hospital generators and residential water pumps has also been blocked.[43] About 70% of Yemen’s imports enter through Hodeida and the nearby Saleef port, providing food and medicine essential for survival. Human Rights Watch notes that, to comply with international humanitarian law, immediate steps are needed to facilitate the flow of aid and commercial supplies to the broader population.[44] Legal scholars have noted that the right to health requires states to respect, protect, and fulfill the bare minimum needs to ensure survival, including medical aid and supplies, potable water, and food for the most vulnerable populations.[45]

The United Nations has condemned blockades as a method of warfare, and the starvation resulting from blockades is in violation of International Humanitarian Law Rule 53: Starvation as a Method of Warfare, which states that in any blockade in which “the civilian population is inadequately provided for, the blockading party must provide for free passage of humanitarian relief supplies.”[46] Furthermore, according to the protocol additions to the Geneva Convention of 1949, “it is prohibited to attack, destroy, remove or render useless objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, such as foodstuffs, agricultural areas for the production of foodstuffs, crops, livestock, drinking water installations and supplies and irrigation works, for the specific purpose of denying them for their sustenance value to the civilian population or to the adverse Party, whatever the motive, whether in order to starve out civilians, to cause them to move away, or for any other motive.”[47]

In addition, according to Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, “[e]veryone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food,” of which the blockade of food may be in violation.[48]

The Security Council of the United Nations has called for a complete opening of all ports into Yemen as well as increased access to the airport in Sana’a.[49] Despite the UN’s call and the 2018 Stockholm Agreement among the warring parties (stating that Hodeidah and the ports of Hodiedah, Salif, and Ras Issa will be secured only by local security forces in accordance with Yemeni law),[50] the Saudi-led coalition’s blockade has been lifted only once (on August 12, 2020) for one vessel, continuing the restriction of imports using standard methods.[51] With most of the country’s food being imported, the blockade has contributed to the soaring cost of food such that many Yemenis cannot meet their basic needs.[9] A drop in fuel imports in June 2020 has been linked to lasting fuel shortages in northern Yemen, reported by the United States Agency for International Development to be brought on by “ongoing political negotiations concerning import taxes and fees.”[52] However, this is only a small part of the shortages experienced in Yemen; fuel shortages linked to the Saudi-led coalition’s blockade first began in 2017, leaving many hospitals without the ability to power their generators and resulting in dire consequences for many Yemeni civilians.[53]

In addition to goods and supplies being kept out, the blockade has also restricted Yemeni civilians’ ability to travel, especially in the case of medical emergencies. The Ministry of Health in Sana’a reported that 32,000 civilians had died waiting to obtain specialized medical treatment abroad as of January 2020.[54] After 18 months of negotiations, two “mercy flights” were allowed in February 2020, transporting 29 Yemenis in need of dire medical assistance to Jordan.[55] However, Mohammed Abdi, the Norwegian Refugee Council’s Yemen country director, stated that the flights came “too late for thousands of Yemenis who died waiting to leave the country for urgent life-saving care.”[56]

Evidence-Based Strategies to Address the Problem
Public health organizations serve as important policy advocates to state and federal governmental bodies. Because of the severity of the crisis in Yemen, several humanitarian and health organizations have called upon the U.S. government to use its power to influence the war in Yemen. With the strategies described below, the U.S. government can help end the conflict in Yemen.

End involvement in the war in Yemen: The United States must immediately cease providing any support or arms to warring parties in Yemen. The United States has been supplying arms to the Saudi-led coalition, part of a group of several Western states that has provided more than $15 billion in military equipment to the coalition.[57,58] U.S.-made bombs have been used in air strikes on civilians, directly contributing to violence perpetrated in Yemen. Amnesty International has called for “all states to cease providing any arms or support to any warring parties” as a way to support the end of the conflict.[58] In addition, this involvement is prohibited by the War Powers Act of 1973, which states that involvement of U.S. armed forces in war is allowed by order of the president “only pursuant to (1) a declaration of war, (2) specific statutory authorization, or (3) a national emergency created by an attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces.”[59] Because support for Saudi-led forces has come from the president despite the absence of a declaration of war, statutory authorization, or attack upon the United States, involvement is therefore unlawful. Both houses of the United States Congress passed a bill in early 2019 invoking the War Powers Act restricting U.S. support for Saudi-led military involvement in Yemen, but the bill was vetoed by the president in April 2019. The United States must build on this growing support for ending our illegal involvement in wars by continuing to legislate an end to the sale of U.S. arms to any warring party, such as the amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act presented by House Representative Tom Malinowski in July 2020.[60]

Exert pressure on the Saudi-led coalition to end involvement in the war in Yemen and its blockade over ports of entry: This policy statement calls for consideration of both the current and lasting health implications of the blockade on Yemen’s ports. The United States is actively supplying military aid to Saudi Arabia; thus, the United States has the influence and means to place pressure on the coalition to permit access to the ports. In addition to exerting pressure on the coalition to end this blockade, the United States must support the United Nations in holding the Saudi-led coalition responsible for violating the agreements and humanitarian laws outlined above. In a study on how the war has affected Yemen, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) urged all states that have influence over either warring party to “push towards a sustainable peace deal and a stop to further escalation.”[61] This study predicted that an end to the current conflict in Yemen would drastically reduce the number of deaths, reduce levels of poverty, and increase the national life span and gross domestic product per capita by 2030. All parties with influence are called to end support of war efforts and push for a peace deal.

Support reconstruction in Yemen: The United States has a responsibility to assist in the postconflict reconstruction of Yemen. Under The Responsibility to Protect, established by world leaders during the 2005 United Nations World Summit, nations involved in wars with devastating effects on civilian life should provide “full assistance with recovery, reconstruction and reconciliation, addressing the causes of the harm the intervention was designed to halt or avert.”[62] The UNDP has estimated that reconstruction to preconflict levels will require up to two or three generations,[61] and the United States has the responsibility to call for UN-directed actions to provide recovery efforts in Yemen as well as assist in such efforts. These efforts should focus on the areas most affected by the conflict as laid out by the UNDP, including the reconstruction of health care infrastructure and access to food.

Opposing Arguments/Evidence
U.S. involvement in the war: An argument for continued involvement by the United States, which includes efforts to prevent the United States from placing pressure on Saudi Arabia to lift the blockade, is based on the political and financial relationship between the two countries.[63] Others argue that we need to stand with the Saudis because they are our ally in confronting the Iranian influence in the region. However, numerous experts, including those within the U.S. intelligence community, claim that purported Iranian control of and influence over Houthis is exaggerated.[64]

In any case, U.S. involvement in a war without officially declaring war, as noted in the previous section, is unlawful under the War Powers Act of 1973. In addition, this cycle of trade in oil and arms between the United States and Saudi Arabia supports the continued use of fossil fuels for U.S. energy and militarism in and by Saudi Arabia, both of which have lasting public health effects as noted in previous APHA policy statements.[65,66]

Necessity of the blockades: The main argument in support of the blockade suggests that it is necessary to keep arms out of Yemen. However, the UN already has sanctions in place for this purpose. The Security Council of the United Nations supports the UN Verification and Inspection Mechanism, “which facilitates commercial shipping to Yemen, including by carrying out inspections of commercial vessels over 100 metric tonnes.”[47] In addition, as per the Stockholm Agreement reached by all warring parties in late 2018, an agreement to a cease fire has already been reached in the ports of Hodeidah, Salif, and Ras Issa to allow the UN’s inspection and verification processes to be conducted there.[50] Despite this, the Saudi-led coalition broke its blockade over land and sea ports of entry only once (in February 2020) for two permitted mercy flights.[55] Other than that, the Saudi-led coalition’s blockade has continued to impede goods from coming into the country.[51] This blockade is therefore in direct conflict with the agreement and is not necessary to keep arms out of Yemen.

Providing reconstruction to Yemen: An argument against the UN providing robust reconstruction to Yemen immediately and continuing after the war is the idea that Yemen’s civil war should be reconstructed from within the country without external aid. However, in alignment with The Responsibility to Protect, because both the United States and several other nations have become involved with the war, it is now the responsibility of all acting parties to provide reconstruction to any areas of the country where damage has occurred as a result of their actions.

Action Steps
Based on the history of U.S. involvement and the extent of the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, it is critical for organizations such as APHA to support policies and initiatives to address key elements of the problem.

APHA therefore urges:

A. The U.S. State Department, the U.S. Department of Defense, and other U.S. government entities to end military and political collaboration with the Saudi-led coalition forces waging war on Yemen and hold such parties accountable for attacks on health workers and civilians:

  1. The U.S. State Department, the U.S. Department of Defense, and other U.S. government entities should prohibit any further U.S. assistance or support, including intelligence sharing and logistics support or other destabilizing activities in Yemen, to any members of the Saudi-led coalition in the civil war in Yemen.
  2. The U.S. State Department, the U.S. Department of Defense, and other U.S. government entities should suspend direct commercial sales licenses for maintenance and sustainment of fighter aircraft used in the Saudi coalition’s offensive operations in Yemen.
  3. The U.S. State Department, the U.S. Department of Defense, and other U.S. government entities should enact congressional action to cut off arms sales to Saudi Arabia; such action could be limited to certain categories of weapons (i.e., potentially excluding weapons systems that are defensive in nature) or sweep more broadly to include all or greater amounts of weapons.

B. All concerned parties to support an immediate end to the blockade of Yemen’s ports and lift barriers to the entry of humanitarian supplies and civilian travel:

  1. The U.S. State Department, the U.S. Department of Defense, the White House, and other U.S. government entities should apply strong political and financial pressure on Saudi Arabia to lift the blockades on all ports of entry to Yemen, including air, sea, and land, and especially the ports of Hodeidah, Salif, and Ras Issa, and allow unhindered entry of food, medicine, and essential goods such as supplies for aid agencies and commercial imports.
  2. The U.S. State Department, the U.S. Department of Defense, the White House, and other U.S. government entities should apply strong political and financial pressure on Saudi Arabia to open the Sana’a airport for civilian travel, and representatives of the United Nations, in accordance with the Stockholm Agreement, should lift restrictions on air travel to and out of Yemen and within Yemen, including all Yemeni airports.
  3. UN agencies such as the World Health Organization, UNICEF, and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees should continue to highlight and address the humanitarian crisis in Yemen. In addition, the UN General Assembly, as well as international nongovernmental organizations including the International Committee of the Red Cross, Oxfam, Doctors Without Borders, Save the Children, and CARE, should express strong opposition to the Saudi-led blockade on the Yemeni people.
  4. Health professional associations in the United States should immediately adopt resolutions opposing the war and the blockade imposed by the Saudi-led coalition on Yemeni ports, supporting the opening of the Sana’a airport, and allowing the unhindered entry of food, medicine, and essential goods into the country.
  5. Public health practitioners should increase awareness in their own professional organizations of the humanitarian effects of U.S. collaboration with the Saudi-led coalition blockade on Yemen and urge these groups to take a stand in opposition to it.

C. The UN to lead robust efforts to provide and monitor immediate relief, reconstruction, and sustainable and meaningful recovery support in Yemen, with assistance from the United States and other parties to the war. The U.S. State Department, the U.S. Department of Defense, the White House, and other U.S. government entities, along with members of the Saudi-led coalition, should support efforts to rebuild destroyed or damaged health centers as well as government and civilian infrastructure, including homes, offices, water and sanitation facilities, and food processing plants in Yemen; assist with resettlement support for displaced individuals; and assist with other efforts to reverse the damage resulting from U.S.-supported military actions, in accordance with The Responsibility to Protect.

References
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