US Blacklisting of Ansarullah Worsens Humanitarian Crisis in Yemen: HRW

US Blacklisting of Ansarullah Worsens Humanitarian Crisis in Yemen: HRW

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – A Yemen researcher at Human Rights Watch warned that the Trump administration’s designation of Ansarullah in Yemen as a “foreign terrorist organization” would threaten humanitarian response and worsen crisis in already impoverished country.

Afrah Nasser, a Yemen researcher at Human Rights Watch, has warned in a series of tweets about how the Trump administration’s designation of the Houthi Ansarullah group in Yemen as a “foreign terrorist organization” would threaten humanitarian aid on which millions of Yemenis rely for survival.

“The designation would have a devastating effect on the humanitarian response in Yemen, in the short & long terms. As if the current death toll wasn't enough! With such designation, the US would risk complicity in hundreds of thousands of preventable civilian deaths in Yemen,” she wrote in one of her tweets.

Referring to UN Relief Chief Mark Lowcoc's comment, she also added that the food crisis in Yemen has already been caused by the Saudi-led coalition and its Western allies such as the US.

“Yemenis are not going hungry. They are being starved,” she wrote, noting, “Such designation would lead to exacerbating an already shocking level of hunger in Yemen.”

She also urged the US to realize that this action would harm civilians more and would threaten humanitarian aid on which millions of Yemenis rely on for survival.

“It’s brutal what’s happening against civilians in Yemen. I don’t know how much more suffering civilians can tolerate. Life is already hell in Yemen. The designation would have disastrous ramification on the already dire economic & humanitarian crisis in Yemen.”   

Human Rights Watch also warned last month that designation of the Ansarullah group as a foreign terrorist organization by the US, could prevent numerous nonprofit groups and humanitarian aid organizations from operating in the most populated parts of the country that are under control by the group.

The material support restrictions could also create serious obstacles for outside mediators involved in peace negotiations between the Houthis and other parties by making it a criminal offense to provide any property or service – including expert advice or assistance – to a designated organization.

According to Human Rights Watch, over 20 million people in Yemen – nearly two-thirds of the population – require food assistance.

International aid groups have said that a US terrorism designation would “cause even greater suffering.” Members of the US Congress said that the designation would have “a disastrous impact on the ability of aid organizations to provide relief to millions of Yemenis who depend on their assistance for survival.”

Since March 2015, the US has supported the Saudi and United Arab Emirates (UAE)-led coalition with weapons transfers and other assistance. Human Rights Watch has documented more than 90 apparently unlawful coalition airstrikes, which have hit homes, markets, hospitals, schools, and mosques. Some of these attacks may amount to war crimes. According to the Yemen Data Project, which compiles estimates using open-source data, at least 18,400 civilians have been killed or injured since the beginning of the war.

Saudi Arabia launched a devastating military aggression against Yemen in March 2015 in collaboration with a number of its allied states, such as the UAE, and with arms support from the US and several Western countries.

The aim was to return to power the Riyadh-backed regime of former president Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi and defeat the Houthi Ansarullah movement that has taken control of state matters.

Since then, over 100,000 people have been killed, according to the US-based Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED).

The war has failed to achieve its goals, but killed tens of thousands of innocent Yemenis and destroyed the impoverished country’s infrastructure. The UN refers to the situation in Yemen as the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

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