Humanitarian aid organizations accuse Saudi Arabia and its UAE ally of hypocrisy for donating aid to Yemen and killing Yemenis at the same time.
The Swiss city of Geneva is hosting on Tuesday a meeting of international donors to help Yemen, a country ravaged by nearly four years of war led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to restore to power the fugitive former president Abdu Rabu Mansur Hadi.
Riyadh and Abu Dhabi are expected to provide a significant portion of the money needed to meet the needs of the Yemeni population suffering the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, according to the United Nations (UN).
While these donations can alleviate people’s suffering, humanitarian agencies blame Yemen’s oil-rich neighbors (Saudi Arabia and the UAE) for countless war crimes in the impoverished Arab country, including shelling of villages, massacre of civilians and use of child soldiers.
Jan Egeland, who previously served as coordinator of UN emergency operations, criticized the “hypocrisy of countries exchanging arms or dropping bombs on Yemeni civilians” in a very strong statement on Monday.
Egeland, head of the Norwegian Refugee Council, said 60 percent of last year’s aid to Yemen came from Saudi Arabia, the UAE and the U.S. However, the first two countries led a campaign that led to the destruction of Yemen and the third promoted war by supplying arms to their Arab allies.
“They have contributed to the war that has produced 24 million Yemenis in urgent need of help. That’s more than three-quarters of the entire Yemeni population,” Egeland denounced.
Geert Cappelaere, director of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in the Middle East, in turn attacked Riyadh and Abu Dhabi for “continuing to kill and maim children” and destroying “schools and health centres” in Yemen, and at the same time donating aid to this population.