July 21, 2022

Bipartisan Resolution Condemning Starvation as a Weapon of War Passes Senate

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Jim Risch (R-Idaho), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Jeff Merkley (R-Ore.), Todd Young (R-Ind.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), John Thune (R-S.D.), and Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) announced their bipartisan Senate resolution condemning the use of starvation and hunger as weapons of war has passed the Senate unanimously.

In May, the senators introduced their resolution not only condemning the use of hunger as a weapon of war, but also recognizing the effect of conflict on global food security and famine, which was then swiftly voted out of the Senate Foreign Relations committee less than a month later.

“From Russia’s war in Ukraine to Ethiopia, South Sudan, and Yemen, bad actors are deliberately destroying agricultural goods and infrastructure, manipulating markets, blocking access by humanitarians, and ultimately starving innocent civilians to death in a callous attempt to advance political or military objectives,” said Risch. “This appalling practice cannot stand. Senate passage of our resolution should send a clear message to Putin and others that the United States will use every tool at our disposal to ensure our food assistance is not being manipulated and that those who use hunger as a weapon will be held accountable.”

“From Ukraine to Syria to Ethiopia, we have and continue to watch with horror as bad actors destroy agriculture, deny humanitarian access, and disrupt markets for crucial commodities in a twisted effort to achieve their geopolitical aims through starvation,” said Merkley. “Today’s passage of our resolution by the full Senate reaffirms our united stand that civilians everywhere must be protected during war and that hunger should never be used as a weapon to turn civilians into pawns.”

“It is time for the United States to hold those who use food as a weapon of war accountable for their horrific action,” said Young. “From Yemen to Ukraine, the world’s most vulnerable are suffering in unspeakable ways. Today’s Senate passage of our resolution sends a clear message that the United States will use all of the tools and authorities at our disposal to end these abuses.”

“Today, the Senate sent a strong bipartisan message to condemn all those who use hunger as a weapon of war,” said Booker. “With conflicts around the world such as Russia’s unjustified invasion of Ukraine, violence in the Horn of Africa, and continued unrest in Afghanistan and Yemen, millions of people are currently at risk of hunger and starvation. As this resolution lays out, the United States has a moral responsibility to extend urgent humanitarian assistance to vulnerable populations globally, bolster the global food supply chain, and hold individuals and governments accountable if they perpetrate these atrocities.”

“Hunger and famine must not become weapons of war,” said Thune. “This bipartisan resolution reinforces the United States’ and its partners’ responsibility to work together to restore global stability and hold individuals and governments accountable for conflicts that drive global hunger and jeopardize food security.”

“I am honored to bear witness as the Senate speaks today with one voice: we cannot stand by as despots from Russia to Ethiopia continue to exploit hunger to advance wartime goals,” said Menendez. “Ongoing and exacerbated disruptions in supply chains, obstructions to food production, and transport hub blockades are shaking vulnerable communities to their cores, with millions worldwide losing access to basic and necessary goods. Today’s passage must serve as a powerful call to action for the United States and broader international community. Our efforts to halt this callous manipulation of civilians and to hold perpetrators to account has never been more critical.”

This resolution is also cosponsored by Senators Chris Coons (D-Del.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), and Michael Bennett (D-Col.).

Full text of the resolution can be found here.

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