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US-based rights group announces hunger strike to urge end to Yemen war

A young girl holds shrapnel in the Yemeni city of Ta'izz, March 2021. (File photo by MEE)

A US-based human rights advocacy group says it will organize a hunger strike starting later this month in Washington DC to urge the United States to end all support for the Saudi-led coalition’s blockade and war against Yemen.

The Yemeni Liberation Movement made the announcement in a statement in which the group introduced itself as a “grassroots, volunteer-led organization working to mobilize our communities for an end to the Yemen war, and bring liberation and sovereignty to all of Yemen.”

“The US must end ALL support to the Saudi coalition’s blockade on Yemen!” the group said in its statement, which was issued to mark the sixth anniversary of the Saudi-led war against Yemen.

Yemeni Liberation Movement also said it was working in a coalition with other organizations, including Just Foreign Policy, Yemen Relief and Reconstruction Foundation, Friends Committee of National Legislation and Yemeni Alliance Committee, while it was itself based in Detroit. 

According to the group, they will be on a hunger strike in Washington DC starting on March 29 to protest the war coalition’s intensification of a fuel blockade, which has made it impossible for trucks to transport food and other necessities into Yemen.

"The US and Saudi coalition claim that they aren't breaking any humanitarian war crimes, because they are allowing food and other necessities to enter the country. However,  the fuel blockade has made it impossible for trucks to transport these essential items, that have been rotting for months," the group said.

“This has caused mass, wide-spread famine, with UNICEF expecting as much as 400,000 children to starve to death within weeks or months,” Yemeni Liberation Movement said, adding, “However, weeks and months have already passed and we believe many of them have already died.”

Saudi Arabia and a number of its regional allies waged the war on Yemen in March 2015 with the goal of bringing the former Saudi-backed Yemeni regime back to power.

However, the military campaign, which also intended to defeat the popular Ansarullah movement in a few weeks, has lasted six years without any prospect of an end to the Saudi-led aggression on the horizon.

In recent weeks, the Saudi-led forces have intensified their attacks against Yemen, but the raids have not remained unanswered by the Yemenis, who are on their way to gain control of all areas that are under the control of Saudi-backed mercenaries loyal to Yemen’s former president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi.

Yemen hit by 65,982 individual airstrikes in six years

A recently released report has estimated the number of air raids on Yemen throughout the war to be at least 22,766, with up to 65,982 individual airstrikes that have killed 8,759 civilians and injured 9,815 others.

The report, published on Thursday by the Yemen Data Project, said that on average, 1,459 civilians have been killed every year since 2015, while 2,336 children were among the dead.

More than a quarter of civilian fatalities were children, according to the report, which pointed out that the war has been backed by the US, Britain and France throughout the years.

“During the six years of the air war, medical facilities were bombed 86 times, killing and injuring 211 civilians. At least 293 civilians were killed and injured in 390 air raids on educational facilities including schools and universities,” the report explained.

“Ten percent of all air raids over the six years hit residential areas resulting in 40% of all civilian casualties. Water and electricity sites were bombed 150 times, markets 225, farms 703 times. 64 air raids hit food storage facilities,” it added.

It came days after a report by Save the Children similarly warned that at least a quarter of all civilian casualties from the Yemen war in two years have been children.

The report, released on Tuesday, revealed that in 2018, one in five civilian casualties were children, but emphasized that the number rose in 2019 and 2020 to one in four.

Currently, 1.8 million children under five years of age are suffering from moderate acute malnutrition while almost 400,000 children under five are suffering from severe acute malnutrition, Save the Children added.

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