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For Immediate Release

Contact

Iman Saleh and Monica Isaac, Yemeni Liberation Movement, yemeniliberationmovement@gmail.com
Danaka Katovich, CODEPINK Yemen campaign coordinator, Danaka@codepink.org

Press Release

Yemeni-Americans Launch Hunger Strike in Washington D.C. to Protest U.S. Support for the Saudi-led Blockade on Yemen

WASHINGTON -

Yemeni-American organizers led by the grassroots group Yemeni Liberation Movement (YLM) will launch a hunger strike in Washington D.C. on Monday, March 29. The hunger strikers will demand an end to any U.S. support for the blockade — including military, intelligence, diplomatic, or other support — and call for President Biden to use all diplomatic tools to pressure Saudi Arabian dictator Mohammed bin Salman to end it.

Following a groundbreaking CNN investigation showing that the Saudi blockade could kill hundreds of thousands of Yemeni children, humanitarian organizations including the Nobel-winning World Food Programme have called for it to be lifted immediately

Despite Biden’s pledge to end U.S. support for the war in Yemen, Al-Jazeera reported in early March 2021 that "the U.S. military is reported to be increasing its assistance to the Saudis, claiming such help is defensive and not offensive". 

“With the lives of hundreds of thousands of Yemeni children hanging in the balance, we have to do whatever it takes to finally bring this cruel blockade to an end,” said Iman Saleh, general coordinator of the Yemeni Liberation Movement. 

During their hunger strike, the Yemeni-American activists and their supporters will hold vigils, a day of solidarity, and rally outside of the White House. 

“It’s important to remember the length of time this war has been going on, and that we are on the third administration perpetuating this war,” said Monica Isaac, an organizer with the Yemeni Liberation Movement. “We won’t rest until the U.S. ends all support to the Saudi-UAE coalition.”

Calls for an immediate end to the blockade have become widespread after CNN aired a groundbreaking report on March 10, entitled “CNN investigation finds the U.S.-backed Saudi blockade is leading to deadly fuel & food shortages in Yemen, where hospitals are full of starving children.” 

The following day, World Food Programme Executive Director David Beasley corroborated CNN’s reporting on the Saudi fuel blockade in a speech to the UN Security Council, stating that “most hospitals only have electricity in their intensive care units because fuel reserves are so low. I know this first hand because I walked in the hospital and the lights were off.” Beasley described Yemen as “hell on earth in many places...” and pleaded with Saudi Arabia that the “blockade must be lifted, as a humanitarian act. Otherwise, millions more will spiral into crisis.” 

According to a joint statement by four leading United Nations agencies in February 2021, nearly 2.3 million children under the age of five in Yemen are projected to suffer from acute malnutrition, with 400,000 expected to suffer from severe acute malnutrition that will lead to death. A nearly 25 percent increase since the escalation of the conflict in 2015.

Brookings Senior Fellow Bruce Riedel describes the ongoing Saudi blockade as “an offensive military operation that kills civilians.” As reported by Reuters, the U.S. was participating militarily in at least some aspects of the blockade as recently as July 2020. 

“Calls by humanitarian organizations for an end to the blockade were ignored by the Trump Administration but we are hopeful that President Biden will listen,” said Dr. Aisha Jumaan, President of the aid organization Yemen Relief and Reconstruction Foundation. “Yemen needs peace, but we cannot wait for a political agreement that may take months or years to allow basic necessities to reach millions of innocent Yemeni families. I am so grateful that these activists are making this sacrifice to draw attention to this unfathomable and avoidable tragedy.”

For more information: https://t.co/A7LrJ557nL?amp=1

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