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Risch, Merkley, Young, Booker, Thune, Menendez Announce Bipartisan Senate Resolution Condemning Starvation as an Act of War

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, joined U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley (R-Ore.), Todd Young (R-Ind.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), John Thune (R-S.D.), and Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) in introducing a bipartisan Senate resolution condemning the use of hunger as a weapon of war, as well as recognizing the effect of conflicts on global food security and famine.

“Every human being needs food to survive. Yet, in too many places, like Yemen, Syria, and Ethiopia, deliberate deprivation of food is being used as a weapon against civilian populations,” said Senator Risch. “It is critical we use every tool at our disposal to ensure food assistance is not being manipulated or used against the civilians that so desperately need it. This bipartisan resolution affirms the Senate’s condemnation of using starvation as a weapon of war and encourages the administration to prioritize efforts to address food insecurity.”

“Protecting civilians in conflict is a cornerstone of international law,” said Senator Merkley. “Unfortunately, from Ukraine to Syria to Ethiopia, there are bad actors who destroy agriculture, deny humanitarian access, and disrupt market systems in a twisted effort to achieve their geopolitical aims through starvation. Today’s resolution calls out these atrocities and urges the Senate to condemn all forms of starvation as a weapon of war.”

“Innocent civilians often suffer the most in any armed conflict. With this resolution, we are making it clear that deliberately worsening conditions by targeting vital food supplies is unacceptable. We must use all the tools we have to hold those who commit such actions accountable,” said Senator Young.

“From the unjustified invasion of Ukraine, to the ongoing war in Yemen, to the brutal violence in parts of the Horn of Africa, worldwide conflicts are exacerbating a global food insecurity crisis and causing millions of vulnerable people around the world to go hungry,” said Senator Booker. “This bipartisan resolution condemns those who cruelly use starvation as a weapon of war against civilian populations and calls on the United States to hold them accountable for these atrocities. It also urges our nation to pursue robust diplomatic and humanitarian efforts to strengthen the global food supply and ensure it is resilient to future supply shocks.”

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

“Purposefully starving civilians as a weapon of warfare is a war crime. Period,” said Senator Menendez. “As Putin continues to show the world his depravity by cutting off Ukraine’s ports and disrupting farming in an attempt to starve those Ukrainians who have survived his indiscriminate bombings, I am proud to join my colleagues in introducing this resolution to reaffirm our commitment to support humanitarian and crisis response efforts, confront global supply chain challenges, and hold accountable any despot who insists on using hunger as a weapon of war.”

A bipartisan House version of this resolution was introduced by U.S. Representatives Sara Jacobs (D-Calif.), Peter Meijer (R-Mich.), Bobby L. Rush (D-Ill.), and Tracey Mann (R-Kan.) earlier this year.

Full text of the resolution can be found here.