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ICC Note:

Food is being used as a “weapon of war” in Yemen at a time when the impoverished country is susceptible to famine because of the ongoing civil war. Yemen’s constitution prohibits conversion, but most of the Christians who remain in the country are Muslim background believers. This puts them in a dangerous situation. If their conversion becomes known within their family, they are at risk of being shunned and cut off from what few resources are available. Using food as a “weapon of war” only increases the vulnerability of this demographic, making their survival all the more challenging.  

 

10/31/2017 Yemen (Kashmir Observer) –  The World Food Programme (WFP) has said food is being used as a “weapon of war” in Yemen at a time when millions of people face an impending famine in the conflict-ravaged impoverished Arab country.

“Yemen is on the brink of famine. Cholera is compounding a dramatic food crisis. Food is being used as a weapon of war,” Elisabeth Rasmussen, the WFP assistant executive director, said at a conference on aid to Yemen on Sunday.

The United Nations has already described the ongoing conflict in Yemen as the “largest humanitarian crisis in the world.” The war has left seven million people at risk of famine and an estimated 17 million, which amounts to about 60 percent of the overall population of the country, food insecure. Another 2,100 people have died of cholera since April as hospitals struggle to secure basic supplies across the country.

Saudi Arabia has been incessantly pounding Yemen since March 2015 in an attempt to crush the popular uprising and reinstate the former president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, who is a staunch ally of the regime in Riyadh.

Long the most impoverished country in the Arab world, the conflict in Yemen has left seven million people at risk of famine and an estimated 17 million — 60 percent of the overall population — food insecure, according to the United Nations.

Another 2,100 people have died of cholera since April as hospitals struggle to secure basic supplies amid blockades on ports and the country’s main international airport.

The Saudi-led coalition, which controls Yemen’s airspace and some ports, was this month added to a UN blacklist for the “killing and maiming of children”.

Aid groups have warned that the closure of Sanaa international airport is hampering the delivery of desperately needed supplies, which now have to go through the Red Sea port of Hodeida.

“All parties to the conflict must provide safe, rapid, unhindered and sustained humanitarian access to people in need, through all ports and airports, in particular through Hodeida port and Sanaa airport as well as by road,” said Mark Lowcock, UN under-secretary general for humanitarian affairs.

Earlier an independent UN human rights expert said, the deliberate starvation of civilians could amount to a war crime and should be prosecuted.

In a new report, the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Hilal Elver, examined the right to food in conflict situations and found a grim picture depicting the most severe humanitarian crisis since the UN was established.

“Contrary to popular belief, casualties resulting directly from combat usually make up only a small proportion of deaths in conflict zones, with most individuals, in fact perishing from hunger and disease,” she said.

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