image: The New York Times
Abrar of Yemen is starving.
December 5, 2018
Open Letter To Members of The United States Congress
From: Scholars and Activists from Across the Globe in the Fields of International Human Rights, Crimes Against Humanity, and Genocide
Topic: The Humanitarian Disaster in Yemen
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has deemed Yemen the world’s gravest humanitarian crisis, noting that some 22 million people are in dire need of food, water and medicine, as well as protection. The latter is due to a manmade famine. Concomitantly, six internationally renowned humanitarian organizations, all working in Yemen, believe that upwards of 11 million people now face imminent starvation if humanitarian aid does not reach them within the next one to two months.
Eleven million. That is nearly as many people who perished in the Holocaust. Eleven times as many as were killed in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.
In October, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child reported that at least 1,248 children have been killed since the start of the war. Save the Children reports that an average of 130 children are dying every single day from starvation and disease. To date, it is reported that approximately 85,000 children under five years old have starved to death since the outset of the war.
While the United States Government has a responsibility for what is taking place in Yemen, it is far from alone. Yemeni Government troops and the Houthi rebels share the greatest responsibility. War in Yemen erupted in early 2015 when Houthi rebels (a Shia group) captured Sana’a, the capital of Yemen, after overthrowing the U.S.-backed government of President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi.
Saudi Arabia and Iran, which are fighting a proxy war in Yemen, are also greatly responsible for the atrocities and ongoing severe malnutrition to starvation that the Yemeni people are suffering. The Saudis support the former government with systematic aerial bombardment of civilian targets such as schools and hospitals, while Iran supports the Houthi rebels. The United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, Sudan, Kuwait and Bahrain also have blood on their hands as they back the Saudis in their anti-Shi’a coalition. ISIS and al Qaeda have also seized the opportunity to attack Shi’a mosques, bombing Sana'a and Aden.
Millions of civilians are caught in the middle of this sectarian conflict, subjected to what reputable human rights groups describe as war crimes. Both the Obama and Trump administrations are implicated: they have supplied weapons and diplomatic cover for the Saudi-led military action in which non-combatants are paying an enormous price.
Until very recently, the United States supported the Saudi aerial attacks by providing for mid-air refueling of Saudi planes. Those aerial attacks are said to be responsible for 35,000 civilian casualties. It appears that the Saudi warplanes have deliberately targeted civilians in their homes and schools, on their farms and buses, and in their businesses. They have targeted petrol stations, killing scores of people with each air strike.
Not only have farms been bombed and prices for food in markets soared as a result of the war, but the Saudis, with the complicity of the United States, have virtually blocked food from entering all but one of the main ports in Yemen. They have also systematically prevented movement between the ports and cities, towns and villages, thus preventing aid from reaching those in dire need. Both sides in this genocidal civil war have murdered humanitarian aid personnel and erected barricades along the roads, where they extort bribes from ordinary citizens who have gone to buy food.
As individuals who have worked to support international human rights throughout our adult lives, who have conducted research into crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide, we have also actively advocated for early prevention and early intervention to stop such crimes. We are doing so once again.
In that regard, we respectfully make the following recommendations:
• The U.S. must withdraw all support for the Saudi Air Force, and the U.S. and all NATO countries must end all arms sales and military support to the Saudi monarchy.
• The U.S. must demand an immediate ceasefire, enabling the unimpeded delivery of humanitarian supplies to all communities, with aid convoys protected by UN peacekeepers with a Chapter 7 mandate.
• The U.S. Government must press the UN Security Council to continue its diplomatic effort to bring the Yemen war to an end.
• If an immediate ceasefire is not honored, then the U.S. Government must press for protected distribution of humanitarian supplies, including a no fly-zone during the periods of the distribution of relief aid. A precedent along this line was the implementation of Operation Lifeline Sudan (OLS) during the Second Sudanese Civil War. (See “Operation Lifeline Sudan” in The Congressional Record.)
These are short-term measures, but they are needed immediately.
Given the urgency of this situation, we look forward to your prompt response.
Dr. Samuel Totten Professor Emeritus University of Arkansas, Fayetteville email@example.com 1-479-927-0318 Author, Genocide by Attrition: Nuba Mountains, Sudan, and editor of Dirty Hands and Vicious Deeds: The U.S. Government’s Complicity in Crimes against Humanity and Genocide
Dr. John Roth Edward J. Sexton Professor Emeritus of Philosophy Claremont McKenna College Claremont, CA firstname.lastname@example.org Author, The Failures of Ethics: Confronting the Holocaust, Genocide, and Other Mass Atrocities
Dr. Taylor B. Seybolt Associate Professor Graduate School of Public and International Affairs Director, Ford Institute for Human Security University of Pittsburgh email@example.com Author, Humanitarian Military Intervention: The Conditions for Success and Failure
Ms. Rebecca Tinsley Human Rights Activist Founder of Network for Africa London, England TinsleyRC@aol.com Author, When the Stars Fall to Earth
Dr. Eyal Mayroz Department of Peace and Conflict Studies University of Sydney New South Wales, Australia firstname.lastname@example.org Author, Reluctant Interveners? America’s Failed Responses to Genocide, From Bosnia to Darfur
The Baroness Cox House of Lords UK Parliament London, Great Britain COXC@parliament.uk
Dr. Ervin Staub Professor Emeritus Founding Director, Doctoral Program in the Psychology of Peace and Violence University of Massachusetts at Amherst email@example.com Author, The Roots of Evil: The Origins of Evil and Other Group Violence
Dr. Edina Becirevic Associate Professor University of Sarajevo Sarajevo, Bosnia Herzegovina firstname.lastname@example.org Author, Genocide on the Drina River.
Dr. Maureen S. Hiebert Associate Professor Department of Political Science Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Military, Security and Strategic Studies] University of Calgary Calgary, Alberta, Canada email@example.com Author, Constructing Genocide and Mass Violence: Society, Crisis, Identity
Dr. Ernesto Verdeja Associate Professor Department of Political Science and Peace Studies University of Notre Dame & Executive Director Institute for the Study of Genocide firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Deborah Mayersen Research Fellow University of Wollongong Wollongong, NSW, Australia email@example.com Author, On the Path to Genocide: Armenia and Rwanda Reexamined.
Dr. Eric Weitz Distinguished Professor of History City College and Graduate Center City University of New York (CUNY) firstname.lastname@example.org
Author, A Century of Genocide
Dr. Carla Barqueiro Visiting Assistant Professor Department of International Relations Goucher College Towson, Maryland
Carla.Barqueiro@goucher.edu Author, Mobilizing the Will to Intervene: Leadership to Prevent Mass Atrocities
Dr. Israel W. Charny Professor Emeritus and Founder of the Institute on the Holocaust and Genocide Department of Psychology Hebrew University Jerusalem, Israel email@example.com Editor, Encyclopedia of Genocide
Dr. Debórah Dwork Founding Director Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies Clark University Massachusetts firstname.lastname@example.org Author, Holocaust: A History
Dr. Robert Melson Professor Emeritus Department of Political Science Purdue University email@example.com Author, Revolution and Genocide: On the Origins of the Armenian Genocide and the Holocaust
Dr. Victoria Sanford Professor & Chair Department of Anthropology Lehman College Director, Center for Human Rights & Peace Studies Doctoral Faculty, The Graduate Center City University of New York firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Roger Smith Professor Emeritus Department of Government College of William and Mary Williamsburg, VA email@example.com
Dr. Elisa von Joeden-Forgey Dr. Marsha Raticoff Grossnan Associate Professor of Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Richard Stockton University Galloway, New Jersey Elisa.firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Henry Theriault President, International Association of Genocide Scholars & Associate
Vice President for Academic Affairs Worcester State University Worcester, MA email@example.com Co-author, The UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide: A Primer
Dr. Hilary Earl Professor Department of History Nipissing University North Bay, Ontario, Canada firstname.lastname@example.org Author, The Nuremberg SS-Einsatzgruppen Trial, 1945-1958: Atrocity, Law, and History
Dr. Colin Tatz Professor Emeritus Australia National University Canberra, Australia email@example.com Author, With Intent to Destroy: Reflecting on Genocide
Dr. Alex Alvarez Professor President’s Distinguished Teaching Fellow Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice Northern Arizona University Flagstaff, AZ Alex.firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Joseph Nevins Professor Department of Geography Vassar College Poughkeepsie, New York email@example.com Author, A Not So Distant Horror: Mass Violence in East Timor
Dr. Alejandro Baer Associate Professor Department of Sociology Stephen C. Feinstein Chair in Holocaust and Genocide Studies University of Minnesota Minneapolis, MM firstname.lastname@example.org Co-author, Memory and Forgetting in the Post-Holocaust Era: The Ethics of Never Again.
Tanya L. Domi Columbia University Adjunct Professor of International and Public Affairs The Harriman Institute New York, New York TD207@columbia.edu
Dr. Gregory Stanton Founding President, Genocide Watch
Founder, The Cambodian Genocide Project
Professor of Genocide Studies
George Mason University
Arlington, VA email@example.com
Author, The Ten Stages of Genocide
UNSC Res. 955, 978 (ICTR)
Dr. Andrew Woolford Professor Department of Sociology and Criminology University of Manitoba Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada Andew.Woolford@umanitoba.ca
Dr. Herbert Hirsch Professor Department of Political Science Virginia Commonwealth University Richmond, VA Hirsch@vcu.edu Author, Genocide and the Politics of Memory
Dr. Adam Muller Professor and Director Peace and Conflict Studies University of Manitoba Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada First Vice-President, International Association of Genocide Scholars Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Author, Fighting Words and Images: Representing Wars Across Disciplines
Dr. Edward Kissi Professor Department of Political Science University of South Florida email@example.com Author, Revolution and Genocide in Ethiopia and Cambodia
Dr. Kai Thaler Assistant Professor of Global Studies University of California, Santa Barbara firstname.lastname@example.org Author, “Foreshadowing Future Slaughter: From the Indonesian Killings of 1965-66 to Genocide in East Timor” in Genocide Studies and Prevention.
Dr. Kurt Mills Professor Department of International Relations and Human Rights University of Dundee Dundee, Scotland email@example.com Author, International Responses to Mass Atrocities in Africa
Dr. Paul Mojzes Professor Emeritus Department of Religious Studies Rosemont College Rosemont, Pennsylvania firstname.lastname@example.org Author, Genocide in the Balkans: Holocaust and Ethnic Cleansing in the Twentieth Century
Dr. Rick Halperin Director SMU Human Right’s Program Southern Methodist University Dallas, Texas email@example.com
Dr. Kimberley Ducey Associate Professor Department of Sociology The University of Winnipeg Manitoba, Canada Treaty 1 Territory Homeland of the Metis Nation
Dr. Robert Skloot Professor Emeritus Department of Theatre Arts University of Wisconsin, Madison Author, If the Whole Body Dies: Raphael Lemkin and the Treaty Against Genocide
Dr. Matthew Krain Professor Department of Political Science The College of Wooster Wooster, OH firstname.lastname@example.org Author, “State-Sponsored Mass Murder: The Onset and Severity of Genocide and Politics.” Journal of Conflict Resolution.
Dr. Valentina Kuryliw Director of Education Holodomor Research and Education Consortium University of Alberta Author, Holodomor in Ukraine, The Genocidal Famine 1932-1933
Dr. Robert Hitchcock Professor Department of Anthropology University of New Mexico Albuquerque, NW Author, Genocides of Indigenous Peoples
Dr. John H. Weiss Associate Professor of History Cornell University email@example.com
Dr. C. Louis “PJ” Perrinjaquet, MD, MPH Medical Director, Doctors to the World firstname.lastname@example.org Author, "Medical Mission Work in the Nuba Mountains, Sudan, During Active Bombardment of Civilians” in Nuba Mountains People Under Siege: Accounts by Humanitarians in the Battle Zone
Dr. Elun Gabriel Associate Professor Department of History St. Lawrence University Canton, New York email@example.com
Dr. Kevin Simpson Professor Department of Psychology John Brown University’ Siloam Springs, AR firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Fred P. Cocozellelli Department Chair and Associate Professor Department of Government and Politics St. John’s University Queens, New York email@example.com
Author, War and Social Welfare: Reconstruction after Conflict.
Dr. Jamie L. Wraight Director, The Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive The University of Michigan-Dearborn firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. G. Jan Colijn Dean Emeritus Richard Stockton University Galloway, New Jersey email@example.com
Dr. James Brown Professor Global Studies Chapman University Orange, California firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Marcia Littell Emerita Holocaust & Genocide Studies Program Richard Stockton University Galloway, New Jersey email@example.com
Dr. Bill Younglove Instructor California State University, Long Beach firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. James R. (Dick) Bennett Professor Emeritus University of Arkansas, Fayetteville email@example.com Author, Political Prisoners and Trials
Dr. Linda Woolf Professor Psychology and Human Rights Webster University St. Louis, MO firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Betty A. Reardon Founding Director, Emerita International Institute on Peace Education Teachers College, Columbia University New York, New York
Dr. Stephen Zunes Professor of Politics University of San Francisco email@example.com
Dr. Paul Slovic Professor Department of Psychology University of Oregon Eugene, Oregon firstname.lastname@example.org Author, Psychic Numbing and Genocide
Dr. Michael Minch Professor Peace and Justice Studies Utah Valley University Orem, Utah email@example.com Co-author, Living Ethics
Dr. Armen T. Marsoobian Professor and Chairperson Department of Philosophy Southern Connecticut University New Haven, Connecticut
Dr. Christopher Powell Associate Professor Department of Sociology Ryerson University Toronto, Ontario, Canada firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Elihu Richter, MD Hebrew University Hebrew University Medical School Jerusalem, Israel email@example.com