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Oxfam applauds the reintroduction of the Saudi Arabia Accountability and Yemen Act, a bipartisan measure led by Sens. Menendez, Young, Reed, Graham, Shaheen, Collins and Murphy.
This bill is one of the strongest rebukes yet of the Saudi-led coalition’s deadly and illegal conduct in Yemen, and severely restricts the US role in fueling the world’s largest humanitarian crisis. By suspending arms sales and transfer until September 2020, Congress is using the US’ most powerful leverage to save lives.
This is a sweeping but targeted attempt to truly hold Saudi Arabia accountable for its violations of international law and builds on the momentum of the past few months, with Congress standing up and loudly declaring that we will no longer be complicit in the Saudi-led coalition’s role in Yemen’s deadly war. This and recent legislation have a clear positive influence to help push all parties towards peace.
The peace talks still hold promise, but are fragile, and this outspoken criticism from Washington is sending a loud and clear message that the parties to the conflict must negotiate in good faith for peace, and live up to those commitments.
Oxfam urges all Senators to co-sponsor this bipartisan initiative and for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to promptly consider and pass this bill. As each day passes, Yemenis are struggling to survive the hunger, disease, fear and death that war brings. Strong public pressure and Congressional action tells them that Americans see their suffering and another reason to hope that this war can end.
Notes to Editors:
Among other things, the bill:
- Most significantly, suspends the transfer and sale of a broad swatch of offensive arms until Sep 30, 2020. This is far and away the most powerful leverage point the US has to push the parties toward a political solution.
- Demands reporting on civilian harm, war crimes and violations of human rights, with an emphasis on attacks on civilian infrastructure and obstruction of humanitarian aid and access.
- Demands reporting on efforts by the US and all parties to the conflict for the furtherance of a political settlement.
- Codifies a policy prohibiting the US from mid-air refueling of Saudi-led coalition planes.