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Nobel Women laureates urge Saudis to end blockade on Yemen

The Saudi-led blockade on Yemen has brought the country to the brink of famine [Getty]

Date of publication: 28 November, 2017

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A group of Nobel Peace Laureates on Monday urged the Saudi-led coalition fighting rebels in Yemen to end their blockade on the Arab world’s poorest country.
A group of Nobel Peace Laureates on Monday urged the Saudi-led coalition fighting rebels in Yemen to end their blockade on the Arab world’s poorest country that has deprived it of much-needed aid and squeezed it to the brink of famine.

The Nobel Women’s Initiative said in a statement said that the blockade “rendered access to humanitarian assistance impossible for the people of Yemen,” and “denies millions of vulnerable and innocent civilians access to food, fuel and medical supplies.”

The letter was signed by Mairead Maguire of Northern Ireland, Rigoberta Menchú Tum of Guatemala, Jody Williams of the United States, Shirin Ebadi of Iran, Leymah Gbowee of Liberia, and Tawakkol Karman of Yemen.

“It further aggravates what the United Nations has called the world’s ‘worst humanitarian crisis’ to date,” they wrote, where over 20 million people lack needed life-saving humanitarian assistance in what amounts to “collective punishment.”

The Saudi-led coalition went to war against the rebels, known as Houthis, in March 2015 on behalf of Yemen’s internationally recognised government. But the coalition has made little progress, and the rebels still control much of northern Yemen, including the capital, Sanaa.

The US-backed coalition tightened a land, sea and air blockade November 6 after a missile attack by rebels on the Saudi capital Riyadh. Saudi Arabia said on Monday the coalition would lift the blockade.

Over the past two years, the war in Yemen has killed more than 10,000 people and left over three million displaced amid the coalition’s air campaign.

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