MEDIA ADVISORY: CONGRESSMAN LIEU JOINS TOM LANTOS HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION TO HOLD HEARING ON HUMANITARIAN CRISIS IN YEMEN

November 16, 2016
Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MEDIA ADVISORY: CONGRESSMAN LIEU JOINS TOM LANTOS HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION TO HOLD HEARING ON HUMANITARIAN CRISIS IN  YEMEN


November 17, 2016
10:00 AM – 12:00 Noon
2200 Rayburn House Office Building

Please join Congressman Ted Lieu and the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission for a hearing on the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, and the options and dilemmas confronting policymakers concerned with civilian protection.

A year and a half after the escalation of conflict between the northern Yemeni Houthi movement in alliance with forces still loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, and an international Coalition led by Saudi Arabia seeking to restore the government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour al Hadi, with support from the United States government, the humanitarian situation in Yemen continues to deteriorate. Before the outbreak of conflict, the country already faced a protracted crisis characterized by widespread poverty, food insecurity, poor governance, and weak rule of law, including widely reported human rights violations. The escalation has amplified that crisis, as the parties to the conflict have failed to take adequate steps to protect civilians or fulfill their obligations under international humanitarian law.

Since the collapse of a cessation of hostilities in August of 2016, Yemenis have endured near-daily attacks on civilians, civilian institutions and public infrastructure. In August, the Coalition inadvertently bombed an MSF-supported health facility and school in Sa’ada. In October, a Coalition attack on a funeral gathering in Sana’a left at least 140 people dead and 550 injured. Houthi-Saleh forces have indiscriminately shelled Taizz and other locations, as well as towns and installations inside Saudi Arabia, reportedly using ballistic missiles. Armed Houthi and Saleh forces routinely intimidate, delay and harass humanitarian workers. More than 3 million people are internally displaced, and Yemen is at risk of famine: over 14 million people are food insecure.

Witnesses will discuss the strategic environment in which the conflict is taking place, update the humanitarian situation as it has been exacerbated by the conflict, and offer recommendations to ensure civilian protection. This hearing will be open to members of Congress, congressional staff, the interested public, and the media. The hearing will be livestreamed via YouTube on the Commission website: https://humanrightscommission.house.gov/.

Panel I

  • James E. Jeffrey, Philip Solondz Distinguished Fellow, Washington Institute
  • Scott Paul, Senior Policy Advisor, Oxfam USA
  • Michael Bowers, Vice President for Humanitarian Policy and Practice, Mercy Corps
  • Krista Zimmerman, Associate Director for International Humanitarian Policy, Save the Children
  • Sunjeev Bery, Advocacy Director, MENA, Amnesty International USA (AIUSA)

Congressman Lieu’s Prior Actions:
Mr. Lieu has repeatedly raised concerns regarding this issue. Last year, he sent a letter to General Joseph F. Dunford, the incoming chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, requesting further information about civilian deaths as a result of Saudi Arabian led coalition airstrikes in Yemen. A month later, Mr. Lieu joined Representatives Dingell and Ellison to lead a letter to President Obama on the Yemen airstrikes. In March 2016, Mr. Lieu sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Ash Carter expressing his deep concern over the tragic civilian deaths. In August 2016, Mr. Lieu led a bipartisan group of 64 Members of Congress in sending another letter to President Obama urging him to postpone the sale of new arms to Saudi Arabia. Most recently, he sent a letter to Secretaries Ash Carter and John Kerry seeking clarity regarding the statement made by a senior U.S. Administration official about U.S. support of the Saudi-led military coalition in Yemen. The official stated that U.S. support of the Coalition does not include “target selection and review.” He also introduced House Joint Resolution 90 to provide limitations on the transfer of air-to-ground munitions from the United States to Saudi Arabia. Senators Chris Murphy (CT) and Rand Paul (KY) introduced Senate Joint Resolution 32, the Senate companion to Mr. Lieu’s bill.

###