News & events

Letter to UK Foreign Secretary urging against attack on Hodeidah

12 June 2018

The Rt Hon. Boris Johnson MP
Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
King Charles Street
SW1A 2AH      

11 June 2018

Dear Foreign Secretary,

We are writing to express our alarm at the rapidly deteriorating crisis in Yemen and to urge you to do more to press the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia to ensure that the port city of Hodeidah is not attacked.

According to credible reports, including an email received by operational agencies from the UK’s Department for International Development, an attack of the city now looks imminent.

We are aware that the UK has worked hard to discourage an attack through private diplomatic channels. Given the imminence of the threat, we now appeal to you to send a clear public statement that the UK cannot continue to support any party that attacks the port of Hodeidah, and that all parties will be held accountable for any violations against civilians. We urge the UK to redouble its efforts, bilaterally and at the UN Security Council, to push all parties to engage with the UN Special Envoy’s peace process.  

We share the concerns of the UN Humanitarian Coordinator Lise Grande that “as many as 250,000 people may lose everything— even their lives,” if there is a military attack on Hodeidah port, and of the UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths that such an attack could “in a stroke, take peace off the table”.

If an attack does take place, casualties on all sides will be high with a likely catastrophic impact on the civilian population. Large parts of the Yemeni population will be at risk of entrapment, displacement, disease and worsening food insecurity, including possible famine.

As you are aware, the current situation in Yemen is untenable – we recognise the security concerns of Yemen’s neighbours, but without a rapid and radical shift in course the country faces a catastrophic humanitarian crisis.

The UK, as a key ally of states in the Saudi Arabia-led Coalition, has a vital role to play in preventing this attack and working toward a ceasefire and lasting peace deal.

Yours sincerely,

CARE International UK 
Christian Aid 
International Rescue Committee (IRC)
Islamic Relief UK
Mercy Corps
Norweigan Refugee Council (NRC)
Save the Children
United Nations Association – UK 
War Child