B013 Response to Yemen Humanitarian Crisis

Original version

Resolved, the House of _______ concurring, That the 79th General Convention of The Episcopal Church note with deep concern and dismay the ongoing conflict in Yemen, now in its fourth year, and the humanitarian crisis caused by the conflict, which has left 22 million people—three-quarters of the country’s population—in need of humanitarian assistance including food and clean water; and it be further

Resolved, That the Episcopal Church call upon the U.S. government: 1) to observe the embargo of arms sales to all parties in the conflict, as called for by the United Nations, and specifically to avoid supplying munitions, military equipment or technology that could be used in the conflict, as well as logistical and financial support for such transfers; 2) to call upon all parties to the conflict to allow unobstructed access in the conflict areas for humanitarian relief organizations, medical relief personnel, human rights investigators, and journalists; and 3) to express an urgent need for a politically negotiated solution; and be it further

Resolved, That The Episcopal Church and Episcopal Relief and Development be encouraged to undertake, in partnership with the Anglican Diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf, relief and long-term economic development projects in areas such as education, job creation, and health care, as well as sustainable solutions for the lack of access to water, a primary source of conflict across the Middle East region that is one of the drivers of conflict across the Middle East region.

Explanation

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres recently Yemen called “the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.” The statistics are staggering: 22.2 million people in Yemen need humanitarian assistance; 2.5 million children are out of school because of the conflict; 3 million people displaced from their homes. As well, 13 million people—half the population—struggle to secure clean water each day, and water-borne diseases kill thousands of children each year. The water crisis itself is driven by a regional drought and ultimately by climate change and is exacerbated by unequal distribution of water and failing water systems in the country, and the water crisis is understood to be one of the underlying causes of war and conflict in the Middle East as whole in recent years, including the deadly conflict in Yemen.
The conflict itself began in March 2015 when an international coalition led by Saudi Arabia (known as the Arab Coalition), in cooperation with the Yemeni government, launched airstrikes against the armed Houthi coalition within the country. Houthis belong to a branch of Shi’a Islam and are being armed by the Islamic Republic of Iran, whereas the majority of Yemenis are adherents of Sunni Islam, so this conflict can be seen as one part of the larger power struggle (too simplistically described as Sunni versus Shi’a and Saudi Arabia versus Iran) within the region as whole.
In response to the humanitarian toll of the war, the United Nations has called upon member states to refrain from arming any party to the conflict. However, the United States has continued to send arms to Saudi Arabia since the conflict began. Amnesty International stated in 2017 that bombs being used in the conflict are being manufactured in the United States, saying, “There simply is no explanation the USA or other countries such as the UK and France can give to justify the continued flow of weapons …. for use in the conflict in Yemen.” This resolution calls for The Episcopal Church to urge the U.S. government to observe the international arms embargo and to push, especially with U.S. strategic allies, for a political solution to the conflict.
This resolution also encourages The Episcopal Church and Episcopal Relief and Development to work in partnership with the Anglican Dioceses of Cyprus and the Gulf for relief of the humanitarian crisis and for long-term development solutions, to include finding sustainable water access solutions for a large portion of the population.


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