Yemen— A Forgotten Nation

The Humanitarian crisis in Yemen, which I spoke of in the service on January 24th, affects 24 million people. My friend, Mostafa, lives in Taiz City. He is on the ground working for Save the Children to bring much needed nutrition and medical aid to young children, pregnant and nursing mothers. People are starving and it is heartbreaking work. 

Early in January, before Trump left office, the U.S. Secretary of State designated the Houthis a Foreign Terrorist Organization and Specially Designated Global Terrorist. These are very strict designations that prohibit any U.S. company or individual from doing business or providing aid in Houthi controlled Yemen.  70% of Yemen’s population lives in the territory affected, and the entire country imports 88% of their food through two ports, both in Houthi controlled territory.  The designations make it harder for non-US aid agencies to do their work, Oxfam International, for example, receives millions of dollars towards their work from US organizations and individuals. 

Globally there is more money in weaponry and arms going into the war in Yemen than food and aid to the millions of people affected.  Canada provides both aid to Yemen and weapons to Saudi Arabia which are fueling the conflict.  

What Can We Do?

  1. Personal Connections.  When I asked Mostafa, he says what he wants most is to immigrate to Canada to be able to work here and help his family.  If you can help me in this endeavor, please email Kiersten Moore.  He is unable to apply for UN refugee status from within Yemen.
  2. The immediate need of the people of Yemen is food and medical aid. Organizations that are actively involved in this work include:
    1. Islamic Relief Canada:
    2. Muslim Hands Canada
    3. Save the Children—Yemen response (84% direct to programs)
    4. Oxfam:
    5. Red Cross:
  3. Petition your MP and the Trudeau government to halt arms sales to Saudi Arabia. The main reason the government gives for continuing to supply arms is that Canadians will lose money, and potentially jobs, if we pull out of the contract put in place by the Conservative government. The Saudi’s have been over 3 billion dollars behind on their payments and Canada is on the hook to the U.S. manufacturer supplying the light armored vehicles out of London, OT. You can read the available news on this issue to support your petition to your MP:
    1. Canada’s role in the Yemeni civil war, by McGill International Review, Nov 2020
    2. CBC April 9, 2020 Canada Strikes New Deal with Saudi Arabia
    3. Radio Canada International, Feb 2020 on the Canadian-Saudi LAV contract
    4. CBC Oct, 2019. Saudi Arabia $3.4B behind on payments
    5. Defense News, May 2020 on the company contracted to supply LAV’s in Canada
    6. Globe and Mail, June 2020, “Ottowa’s lifeline to Saudi-LAV maker”
  4. History and News releases on the Yemen crisis from Oxfam International


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