WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), a member of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, released a statement on Thursday calling on Saudi Arabia to immediately lift a blockade in Yemen that has prevented aid from flowing into the country. The blockade threatens to starve millions of Yemini civilians. 

“I call on Saudi Arabia to immediately rescind the air, land and sea blockade on Yemen and facilitate humanitarian access in all areas of the country.  Houthi attacks on Saudi Arabia are unacceptable but do not justify collective punishment of an entire population.

“The blockade is a death sentence for millions of innocent men, women and children. There is not enough food, fuel or medicine inside the country for Yemenis to survive. Yemen is already facing more than 600,000 cases of cholera and there are not enough vaccines in the country to stop new disease outbreaks. Fuel prices have skyrocketed, forcing the closure of hospitals and other institutions.

“If the United States continues to support the Saudi-led coalition as they enforce the blockade, we will be enabling starvation as a weapon of war. The UN’s top humanitarian official warned that unless access is granted soon, Yemen will experience the largest famine the world has seen in many decades, with millions of victims. Secretary Mattis and Secretary Tillerson must make clear to our Saudi partners that U.S. military and diplomatic support cannot be used to intentionally starve a country into submission. A partial lifting of the blockade is not enough. Only allowing access through Aden means that aid delivery will take longer and cost more – which means more will die waiting for help to arrive.” 

Murphy has been a vocal critic of U.S. support for military campaigns in Yemen that have led to devastating humanitarian consequences and a security vacuum that has empowered terrorist groups. Murphy introduced bipartisan legislation to limit U.S. support for Saudi Arabia’s military campaign in Yemen and called on the Saudi government to take action to address the humanitarian crisis in Yemen.