ADHRB at HRC40: the impact of the war in Yemen on access to food

1 March 2019 – Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB) takes this opportunity at the 40th Session of the Human Rights Council, during the Clustered Interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on food and Independent Expert on foreign debt to raise concerns about the impact of the war in Yemen on the access to food. In the intervention the ADHRB discusses the effect that Saudi- and Emirati- led coalition on the closure of Yemen’s ports and Sana’as airport and the effect of the move of the Central Bank of Yemen on salaries and restrictions on food importation. All of this has led to a humanitarian crisis. Please continue reading for the full text of the statement, or click here for a PDF of his remarks.


Madame Rapporteur,

ADHRB would like to raise concerns about the impact of the war in Yemen on access to food. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and their coalition partners, including Egypt and Bahrain, have blockaded Houthi-held areas of the country, preventing the smooth flow of goods into ports. These efforts have caused a sharp spike in food costs in the Arab world’s poorest state, leading to a humanitarian crisis.

Before the war, Yemen imported 90 percent of its food. In 2015, when Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and their coalition partners intervened in Yemen, they established a naval blockade of the Houthi-held coast line and an aerial blockade of Sana’a’s international airport. These blockades,coupled with slow inspection mechanisms, have led to congestion at ports. Combined with airstrikes targeting infrastructure like port cranes, these hurdles have caused a rise in food prices. The Hadi government’s decision to move the Central Bank of Yemen to Aden from Sana’a has resulted in the non-payment of salaries to public employees, which has compounded this problem, leaving many Yemenis unable to purchase food.

The increase in food prices, non-payment of salaries, and hurdles in importing food has left 80 percent of Yemen’s population, around 24 million people, in need of humanitarian assistance. According to the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, some 20 million people need help securing food, and nearly 10 million people are a step away from famine. A quarter of a million people are facing catastrophic levels of hunger.

Madame Rapporteur, what steps must all parties to the conflict take to address and solve the lack of food in Yemen?

Thank you