Rabat - Saudi Arabia has refused humanitarian aid flights access to Yemen, where millions of people face starvation. The United Nations condemned the “catastrophic” blockade on Tuesday, urging Saudi Arabia to lift it.
Rabat – Saudi Arabia has refused humanitarian aid flights access to Yemen, where millions of people face starvation. The United Nations condemned the “catastrophic” blockade on Tuesday, urging Saudi Arabia to lift it.
Saudi Arabia closed all sea and land borders with Yemen on November 6 in a “temporary” blockade, one day after the Houthi rebels launched a missile attack on Riyadh’s airport.
The Saudi-led Arab coalition in Yemen said that the blockade aims to end the “smuggling of missiles and military equipment to the Houthi militias.”
While Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told his British counterpart Boris Johnson that the allegations by Saudi officials were “contrary to reality,” the Houthi rebels issued a statement on Tuesday threatening Saudi Arabia and UAE.
“All airports, ports, border crossings, and areas of any importance to Saudi Arabia and the UAE will be a direct target of our weapons, which is a legitimate right,” read the statement.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) said the missile launch was “most likely a war crime” but denounced the restrictions of Saudi Arabia to allow aid to access the war-torn country.
“This unlawful attack is no justification for Saudi Arabia to exacerbate Yemen’s humanitarian catastrophe by further restricting aid and access to the country,” said HRW.
Two UN humanitarian aid flights were refused access to the country on Monday.
“If these channels, these lifelines, are not kept open it is catastrophic for people who are already in what we have already called the world’s worst humanitarian crisis,” a spokesman for the UN humanitarian office OCHA, Jens Laerke, said.
The UN rights office said that it will inspect whether the sealing of borders constitutes “an unlawful collective punishment,” adding that it hopes that the measure is indeed for a short term.
On the same day, the humanitarian organization held talks with the Arab coalition to negotiate permission for the flights to deliver aid to Yemen.
“There were no flight clearances granted to our flights today,” said UN spokesman Farhan Haq. “We expected to have two flights going, and those are on hold for now.”