Bond reaction to UK activity in Yemen and the Red Sea

Following the Prime Minister’s address to Parliament on Tuesday (23 Jan) the sector recognises the need to avoid further escalation in the region. As part of these efforts, we believe it is critical that comprehensive humanitarian exceptions to any new sanctions are put in place to avoid risks to the Yemeni population and the humanitarian and critical commercial operations in the country.  

Yemen remains one of the world’s largest humanitarian crises, with an estimated 21.6 million people relying on vital humanitarian assistance or protection in 2023. The humanitarian crisis, primarily driven by continued conflict and economic collapse, has been exacerbated by critical humanitarian funding gaps, global inflation and access challenges, and the Red Sea crisis will only add to this hardship, as further escalation will have grave humanitarian consequences for the Yemeni people.  

US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, issued a clear statement on the importance of mitigating legal risks and humanitarian impacts of designations in Yemen, announcing, “We are rolling out unprecedented carve outs and licenses to help prevent adverse impacts on the Yemeni people. The people of Yemen should not pay the price for the actions of the Houthis. We are sending a clear message: commercial shipments into Yemeni ports on which the Yemeni people rely for food, medicine and fuel should continue and are not covered by our sanctions.” It is critical that the UK government follows suit in their approach.

The risks in Yemen highlight the need for the UK Government to bring forward its commitment in the recent International Development White Paper to introduce a tailored humanitarian exception across the UK’s financial sanctions.


Notes for editors

  • Bond is the UK network for organisations working in international development. Bond unites and supports a diverse network of over 350 civil society organisations from across the UK, and allies to help eradicate global poverty, inequality and injustice. 
  • For further information or interviews please contact Jess Salter at [email protected] or call 07493200979.