WASHINGTON – Following a report mandated by the United Nations that found that the conflict in Yemen is violating international law, U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), a member of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on Tuesday called on the United States to withdraw its participation in the military campaign in Yemen.
“The UN Panel of Experts on Yemen says it’s likely war crimes are being committed with U.S. weapons and supervision, and yet Washington is taking zero actions in response. How can Congress continue to fund this war in the face of U.S.-supported war crimes?” said Murphy. “There is simply no way our participation in this cataclysm of civilian deaths is making our country safer. The world is seeing what we are doing in Yemen, and they wonder what America stands for anymore”
“I hope this report is a huge wake up call for Congress and the administration,” Murphy added. “This isn’t who we are.”
According to the report, the Group of Regional and International Eminent Experts on Yemen strongly suggest that parties to the armed conflict in Yemen have violated and continue to perpetrate crimes under international law, with the Saudi-led coalition responsible for a majority of documented civilian casualties. Coalition airstrikes have hit residential areas, markets, funerals, weddings and medical centers – not to mention the horrific bombing of a school bus that killed 44 children, followed by another attack last week that killed women and children fleeing violence near the city of Hudaydah. The group estimates that since March 2015, at least 16,706 civilians have been killed, but the actual number is likely significantly higher. Furthermore, the Coalition’s interference with food and other imports has increased the price of goods in markets, making them unaffordable for the majority of the population and contributing to the massive humanitarian crisis unfolding in Yemen. Their report, which was conducted over a four-year period, concludes that in the Government of Yemen and the Saudi/UAE-led coalition, which is being armed with weapons by the United States, have committed acts that may amount to international war crimes.
Murphy introduced an amendment last week to the FY 2019 Department of Defense Appropriations bill that would cut off United States’ support for the Saudi Arabia-led coalition’s war in Yemen until the Secretary of Defense certified that the coalition’s air campaign is not violating international law and US policy related to the protection of civilians. Senate Republicans objected to voting on Murphy’s amendment.
Murphy has been a vocal critic of U.S. support for the Saudi-led military campaigns in Yemen that has led to devastating humanitarian consequences and a security vacuum that has empowered terrorist groups. Murphy has repeatedly expressed concern that U.S. participation in Saudi Arabia’s military actions against Houthi rebels in Yemen threatens our own national security interests. Murphy introduced a bipartisan resolution with U.S. Senators Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) to end unauthorized U.S. military involvement in Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen. Murphy introduced similar legislation last year. In June, Murphy and colleagues sent a letter calling on the Trump administration to take action before an attack on the port of Hudaydah.