Effective tomorrow 19 January 2021: US sanctions on Yemen will fuel the flames of war and starvation for millions

Published 18. Jan 2021
Statement by the Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council, Jan Egeland:

“This decision will fuel the flames of war and starvation for millions of Yemenis. Incoming U.S. President Joe Biden must make Yemen a top priority and reverse these sanctions immediately. To jeopardise aid and supplies for a population already engulfed in the world’s largest humanitarian crisis is irresponsible, indefensible and inhumane.

These designations were rushed through, against the advice of key UN officials, diplomats and analysts, and major aid agencies working in Yemen. For months we have warned Secretary of State Pompeo that such a decision would sabotage aid, paralyse the pipeline of lifesaving food, fuel and medicine, and possibly tip the country into full-blown famine.

Importers and financial service providers have been thrown into chaos and aid agencies don’t know if they can continue operating. The US simply cannot produce exemptions to the sanctions wide-ranging enough to shield the country from a major shock, at a time when people are already starving and struggling to make ends meet.

Incoming president Joe Biden must reverse this decision immediately and help avert a crisis of unprecedented proportions in Yemen. What Yemen needs is not sanctions, but a rapid scale-up of aid, economic support and political commitment to help end the war and save Yemeni lives.”

Notes to editors:
  • NRC has spokespeople available in Yemen.
  • NRC is one of the largest humanitarian agencies operating on the ground in Yemen, providing critical food, water, sanitation, education, shelter, legal, protection and emergency assistance.

For more information or interviews please contact:

  • NRC's global media hotline on +47 905 623 29 or media@nrc.no