Aid leaders expressed their deep concern about the large cash donations provided by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to Yemen, in conjunction with their fierce military campaign, which has taken many lives.
James Reinl, in an article published on the Middle East Eye website, referred to Saudi and UAE double standards providing assistance in Yemen.
Riyadh and Abu Dhabi are expected to commit a large drive of financial aid before a 4.2$ billion fund-raising campaign on Tuesday in Geneva for food, medicine and other aid for 24 million Yemenis.
In this regard, the former head of the United Nations aid operations, Jan Egeland, in an issued a strongly worded statement yesterday against the so-called “hypocrisy of nations trading in arms or raining down shells and bombs on Yemeni civilians.”
Egeland, who is also president of the Norwegian Refugee Council, said 60 percent of aid to Yemen last year came from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States.
Egeland added that the US administration has contributed to strengthening the war efforts of its Arab allies with weapons and intelligence, and aerial refuel. He stressed that the alliance between these countries, in addition to a number of other countries, has starved and terrorized more than three-quarters of the Yemeni people.
UNICEF Middle East Regional Director Geert Cappelaere said that the agency had decided to continue taking cash from the UAE and Saudi Arabia because it paid for vaccination drives and other life-saving schemes.
Generosity and brutality
Cappelaere said that although UNICEF had received financial assistance from those countries, which expressed their strong generosity and desire to help the Yemeni people, the organization remains committed to its view on the ongoing conflict and the brutality of the war that has resulted killing children and destroying schools and health facilities.
Manuel Bessler, aid chief for the government of Switzerland, which is co-hosting this week’s meeting, said the fundraising goal was “astronomical” and that cash from the Middle East and Asia was needed to supplement Western donations.
Donations do not grant immunity to donors
He added that it is important to obtain financial resources from the regional powers, even those involved in the conflict, noting that this aid does not give the parties the right to kill civilians or bomb schools and hospitals and grant them immunity against international monitoring.
According to the United Nations Financial Tracking Service, of the 5.2$ billion in aid granted to Yemen last year, the UAE provided 38.3 percent, Saudi Arabia 22 percent, and the United States 11.5 percent.