Marco Rubio calls for greater accountability to Iranian-backed Houthis in Yemen

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On Monday, USA Senator Marco Rubio, R-Fla., Joined the Republican US Sens. Jim Risch and Mike Crapo from Idaho and the US Senator Todd Young from Indiana while sending a letter to Permanent Representative of the USA to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield – calling on them to draw international attention to the violent human rights abuses committed by the Iranian-backed Houthis in Yemen.

Rubio is the senior Republican in the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee that monitors human rights. Risch is the top Republican of the Foreign Relations Committee.

The letter is below.

Dear Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield:

We write to express serious concern about the systematic and widespread human rights violations perpetrated by the Houthis supported by Iran in the Yemen. For too long the international community has ignored the atrocities committed by the Houthi. This lack of international attention has created a culture of impunity, and as a result, the Houthis today are less willing to negotiate in good faith.

As the Houthis continue their offensive in Marib, we ask that you bring the international community’s attention to these serious and ongoing human rights violations. It is vital that attention be drawn to the actions of the Houthi in order to prevent any expansion of their de facto controlled territory, which would further undermine the prospects for peace in Yemen.

The Houthis are actively working to change the fabric of Yemeni society. As self-appointed guardians of the Yemeni state, the Houthis have participated in the mass indoctrination of the Yemenis. This presents a very serious and long-term regional security dilemma – one that will almost certainly keep Yemen stuck in a cycle of violence, war and regression.

Numerous human rights groups, including Human rights monitoring and Amnesty International, have documented the gradual expansion of the brutal, theocratic style of rule of the Houthis. In order to maintain power, the Houthis have developed a repressive intelligence apparatus that, like Iran’s Corps of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard, operates outside normal “state” control and reports directly to the movement’s senior leader, Abdulmalik al-Houthi. Reflecting the ubiquitous influence of Tehran and its “Axis of Resistance”, they exercise this control violently and use fear, repression and intimidation to suppress dissent. The UN report highlights that anyone who does not follow their extremist, sectarian worldview is subject to arbitrary arrest and detention, torture, sexual assault and rape.

In 2018, significant international pressure was exerted on the Saudi Arabia-led coalition to repel an impending attack on the port of Hodeidah. We now have a similar opportunity in Marib. By illuminating the reality of Houthi rule, we hope to prevent an impending humanitarian catastrophe in this strategically important government stronghold. For this purpose we ask you to use your vote and at the UN Security Council Ensure that Houthi human rights violations are included in meetings, declarations and resolutions on the Yemen conflict.

Thank you for your attention. I look forward to hearing about your plans to highlight this important issue.



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