Hunger used as a weapon of war in Yemen, experts say

Following the report released by United Nations experts on September 3, highlighting numerous violations and potential war crimes committed against civilians in Yemen by all parties to the conflict, Action Against Hunger urges Member States of the Human Rights Council and the UN Security Council to increase pressure on all parties to the conflict to respect international humanitarian law and to fully implement the report recommendations.

In the report, the Group of Eminent Experts – a group commissioned by the UN Human Rights Council to monitor human rights violations in Yemen – identifies the situation in Yemen as a “collective failure and collective responsibility” and calls for immediate cessation of all acts of violence. The Group maintains that “indiscriminate attacks against civilian infrastructure such as hospitals, water facilities, food transport, farms and market places, as well as the use of blockade- and siege-like warfare, impeding humanitarian access, and similar measures have exacerbated the disastrous humanitarian situation in the country.”

“This report recognizes the shocking level of violations committed in Yemen by all parties to the conflict. It is especially astonishing regarding the recognition of the use of starvation as a method of warfare in Yemen, which is a war crime. Actions must now be taken by all decision makers to stop these violations, insist on better protection of civilians, and ensure accountability for committed crimes,” says Lucile Grosjean, Humanitarian Crisis and Conflict Advocacy Advisor for Action Against Hunger.

Action Against Hunger fully supports the recommendations outlined in the report and especially calls on the responsibility of the UN Security Council who committed to act when hunger is used as a weapon of war in the Resolution 2417 unanimously adopted in 2018. 

More on the Crisis in Yemen
Five years into the conflict in Yemen, the economic situation is near collapse and 80% of the population is in need of humanitarian assistance and protection. Loss of jobs, income, and more than three years of total or partial non-payment of salaries has greatly affected people’s ability to buy food and other commodities vital for survival. With commercial imports no longer passing through the port of Hodeidah, food and other items need to travel long distances to reach those in need, limiting food availability and accessibility for the population. Access to markets is also limited in active fighting zones across Yemen. According to the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC), 69% of all districts in Yemen are at risk of famine and 3.2 million people require treatment for acute malnutrition.

Although international humanitarian law clearly prohibits denial of humanitarian access to civilians in need of aid, humanitarian organizations in Yemen continue to face daily obstructions and obstacles to deliver lifesaving assistance. 


Action Against Hunger is the world’s hunger specialist and leader in a global movement that aims to end life-threatening hunger for good within our lifetimes. For more than 40 years, the humanitarian and development organization has been on the front lines, treating and preventing hunger across nearly 50 countries. It served more than 17 million people in 2019 alone.