News of clashes between U.S. workers on hunger strike in Yemen

Iman Saleh did not eat anything in 17 days.

The 2-year-old Yemeni American and his younger sister Muna came to Washington DC last month from the U.S. state of Michigan to draw attention to the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, where one The war has been going on for six years.

Fasting was a symbolic choice, Saleh told Al Jazeera that millions of Yemenis were living under it. The threat of widespread famine In the ongoing conflict

“We feel that the world is not listening to what is happening in Yemen,” said Saleh, general coordinator of the Yemeni liberation movement. He said six workers had initially joined the hunger strike, but now only he and his sister are there. They are just drinking water and water with electrolytes.

“We feel that showing the world how the body will go after starvation … will not only bring attention and awareness to what is happening in Yemen, but will also help people understand the situation that Yemenis have been dealing with for years.”

The war in Yemen began in late 2014 when the country’s Houthi rebels seized large swathes of the country, including the capital Sanaa. This was exacerbated in March 2015 when Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates rallied a US-backed military coalition in an effort to restore the government of Riyadh-backed President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

A naval and air blockade imposed by the Saudi-led coalition has exacerbated the humanitarian crisis during the war, international aid agencies and staff say, and the United Nations Be careful That 16 million Yemenis will starve this year.

US support is over

Saleh said the main demand of the leaders was for the United States to stop all support for the Saudi-led blockade of Yemen. “It simply came to our notice then [hunger strike] Until the Biden administration responds, ”he said.

The announcement was made by US President Joe Biden in February US support plans to end The Saudi-led coalition’s “offensive operation” in Yemen and any related arms sales are off, but have remained in place for months. It is unknown at this time what he will do after leaving the post. The Biden administration has also promised to continue helping Saudi Arabia defend itself against elephant attacks.

U.S. lawmakers have appealed to the administration for clarification on its plans, but some details have not been released. April 2, US lawmaker Call Ending Washington’s support for the blockade, Biden said, “It has long been the leading driver of the humanitarian catastrophe in Yemen, greatly reducing the energy crisis, inflation and access to food, water and transportation.”

Officially recognized government of Yemen, supported by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates Rejection Rejection The ports of Hodeidah and Salif have a blockade that “disrupts any food and commercial transport.”

One monitor Report No fuel shipments were unloaded at Hodidah or Salif ports in February. And last month, David Beasley, executive director of the UN World Food Program (WFP), Dr. The fuel blockade has led to a crisis in Yemen’s hospitals, most of which were forced to supply electricity only to their intensive care units.

“I know this first hand because I set foot in the hospital. And the lights were off. The electricity was off. The people of Yemen deserve our help. That blockade should be lifted, as a humanitarian act. Otherwise, a few million more will turn into a crisis, ”Basley told the UN Security Council.

Martin Griffiths, the UN secretary general’s special envoy to Yemen, also arrived in March Call The parties to the conflict have called for a nationwide ceasefire, reopened Sanaa airport and allowed fuel and other goods to flow freely through the port of Hodeidah.

UN Monitor Report Only 38,300 tons of fuel was supplied in March, less than half of the 80,854 tons that arrived in January, and a fraction of 144,6 a0 since November 2020.

‘More children will die’

Meanwhile, aid groups continue to warn that millions of Yemenis are being affected.

In February, four UN agencies reported that about 2.3 million Yemeni children under the age of five would suffer from severe malnutrition this year – and that about 400,000 of them would suffer from severe malnutrition and die without assistance.

“The growing number of hungry children in Yemen should push us all to action,” said Henrietta Four, executive director of the UN Children’s Fund. Dr. In a statement. “Every day more children die without any action. Significant predictive resources of humanitarian organizations and uninterrupted access to these communities are needed to be able to save lives.

Washington, D.C. back, hunger strike backed by progressive U.S. lawmakers, including Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar – The first two Muslim women were elected To the U.S. Congress – who met with both leaders this month.

Iman Saleh, a Yemeni-American activist, made a statement with Congresswoman Ilhan Omar at a news conference in Washington DC on April 20, 2021. [Courtesy of Laura Albast]

Speaking at a protest camp outside the White House during a live-streamed surveillance on Facebook on Tuesday evening, the club called on President Biden to help end his protest. “I wish he hadn’t done this,” Taleb said.

“Help him to end this hunger strike. Please help him, President Biden. “

Saleh said he hoped his protest would inspire others to talk about the situation in Yemen. “It’s time for everyone to stop. It’s gone too far. “

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