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Risch, McCaul: Terrorism Designation in Yemen Must Include Mitigation of Humanitarian Impacts

WASHINGTON – The State Department has announced its intent to designate the Houthis as a Foreign Terrorist Organization beginning on January 19th. The Houthis have committed horrifying acts of violence, including rampant human rights violations, kidnappings, missile and drone strikes, and threats to international freedom of navigation. However, this designation must be paired with sufficient steps to mitigate negative impacts on Yemeni civilians. Below is a statement from Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jim Risch (R-Idaho) and House Foreign Affairs Committee Lead Republican Michael McCaul (R-Texas):

“The Iran-aligned Houthis have caused significant harm to the Yemeni people and their neighbors in the Arabian Peninsula through their violent actions, and we fully support efforts to compel the Houthis to end their dangerous and destabilizing behavior. However, we are concerned designating them as a Foreign Terrorist Organization, without mitigation measures in place, will have devastating humanitarian impacts. For example, Yemen imports 90 percent of its food. In light of near-famine conditions that have already existed in Yemen, this designation will have a devastating effect on Yemen’s food supply and other critical imports unless the executive branch acts now to issue the necessary licenses, waivers and appropriate guidance prior to designation. Good intentions must not be eclipsed by significant unintended consequences.”