Yemen: World’s largest man-made humanitarian crisis

Indian Media, the mystical orb through which we all get our news is too obsessed with ISIS and Kim Jong Un to see the human rights abuses in Yemen.

In old mythological Kannada movies, we would see villains trying to destroy their enemies and rivals using an orb (aakashakaya in kannada) and black magic. In May 2017, American president Trump, a big fan of theatrics, along with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Egyptian President Abdul Fateh al-Sisi held their hands on an orb and launched Riyadh’s ambitious Global Centre for combating extremist ideology. It would be comical if it wasn’t so tragic!! Their so-called terror intervention in Yemen has led to the largest man-made humanitarian crisis we know of. 

Yemen is located south of Saudi Arabia is the poorest country in the Middle East. It had a population of 2.8 crores before the present conflict that started in 2015. Saudi Arabia, the richest country in the Middle East shares border with Yemen in the south. Years of Unemployment, Poverty, rising prices and discriminations amongst Muslim factions have aggravated the present-day crisis. Shia Houthis after suffering historic discrimination and exclusion led a rebellion against the government. In 2004, this group led a series of rebellions in Yemen for legitimate power share.

After Arab spring that started in 2011 president, Saleh stepped down from power and under the supervision of Saudi Arabia and other powerful Gulf countries, the transition government under Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi was elected as president in 2012. Houthis rejected this transition and led a march towards Capital Sana´a and took over the capital in September 2014. President Hadi escaped from Sana´a to Aden ( a stronghold of Sunni Muslims) and after the further escalation of the conflict eventually flees Yemen. Since then there has been sustained violence unleashed by Saudi Arabia led coalition in Yemen. 

After three years of the civil war, the Yemeni population is facing the world’s worst humanitarian crisis with 50 lakh children at risk of starvation. Much of the countries key infrastructure is destroyed and the country’s cultural heritage is lost including the destruction of one of the oldest cities in the world and the present Yemen Capital Sana´a and Sadah. Though the civil war in Yemen is seen as a proxy war between Saudi and Iran the actual reasons for it is more complex. Though, both sides are guilty of abuses what stands out is the number of weapons supplied by the UK, US, France, and Canada. Yemeni civilians are worst affected with very little media attention from the mainstream media.

The Saudi led coalition has launched air raids across the Houthi rebels, killing and destroying properties indiscriminately. This coalition consists of mainly Saudi Arabia and UAE with the arms, military training and support from the US, UK, Canada, and France. Though Netherlands, Norway, and Germany have stopped providing weapons last year after UN blacklisting it dues to crimes against children, other countries are pressurized by Saudi to provide weapons through its geopolitical clout. The UN blacklisting report says the Saudi led coalition has targeted over 10 Hospitals, Weddings, Funerals, Refugee camps, and Food trucks, Factories, Transport Routes, Agricultural Land, Residential Areas, and Schools. None of these are terrorist hubs, these are where children go, common pubic works. Mohammed bin Salman who is the crown prince of Saudi Arabia has been reportedly said to their defence team after UN blacklisting them “Do not care about international criticism. We want to leave a big impact on the conscience of Yemeni generations. We want their children, women and even men to shiver whenever the name of Saudi Arabia is mentioned”.

The coalition airstrikes have killed more than 10,000 civilians including more than 1000 children, 30 lakh Yemenis displaced from their homes.  According to the latest report from Oxfam, the War ravaged Yemen has been pushed closer to total Famine. It describes the humanitarian condition of the country as the worst on the planet. An estimated 1.7 crore people, more than half the population have no reliable access to food and water; and almost 70 lakh people are one step away from Famine. People are forced to eat leaves and grass. The coalition forces have blocked all humanitarian aid to Yemen by attacking and closing Hodeidah port through which 80% of Humanitarian aid in the forms of Medicines and Food supply.

Indian Media, the mystical orb through which we all get our news is too obsessed with ISIS and Kim Jong Un to see the human rights abuses in Yemen. Even Palestine and Syria gets headlines even though only on the issue of refugees, Yemen is being blanked out completely. Nobody cares for Yemen. And Yemen doesn’t deserve it. Ironically, despite the reports of several international agencies and UN blacklisting report, Saudi Arabia continues to be the head of the UN human rights council. 

Also read: Yemen: The end of Saudi´s illegitimate war?




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June 2024


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