New York, NY, July 6, 2021 — The U.S. Administration announced today it will extend and redesignate Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Yemen, protecting the 1,500 TPS holders that arrived since 2015 when Yemen was first designated. The IRC welcomes the decision by the U.S. government to extend protection for Yemenis located in the US but calls on the Biden Administration to fulfill its commitment to create a permanent, sustainable pathway to safety in the U.S. for the vulnerable population of Yemenis who have lived in American communities for years. The conflict in Yemen, now entering its seventh year, has resulted in the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. According to the UN, more than 20 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance.
“As the situation in Yemen continually gets worse with no foreseeable resolution in sight, the country is in no shape for anybody to return," said Tamuna Sabadze, Yemen Country Director at the International Rescue Committee. "The current level of access to the country is not sufficient to effectively respond to the humanitarian needs of the people of Yemen, who need relief immediately. There is wide-spread desperation as conditions steadily worsen due to ongoing conflict, forced displacement, the collapse of public services, and economic crisis in a country facing the risk of famine. The US must continue to work toward an end to the conflict in Yemen, extend TPS protection for the Yemeni population in the US, and create pathways of protection to all Yemenis there so that no one is left in uncertainty - sending people back to Yemen before peace is reached would be unjustifiable.”
The IRC has provided essential services to conflict-affected populations in Yemen since 2012. In 2015, the IRC rapidly scaled up its humanitarian response to the current crises caused by the conflict and complete economic collapse leading to widespread food insecurity. As a major provider of humanitarian assistance in the country, the IRC delivers lifesaving services, which includes health services for 13,000 individuals, rehabilitation of water points for access to clean water, nutrition assistance and treatment to 540 children, and support to 250 women in safe spaces each week. The needs in Yemen continue to increase as the war enters its 7th year, and resources are far from sufficient to reach all those in need.
The U.S. must uphold its tradition of leadership in protecting those fleeing persecution and violence, and Congress must step in to legislate a pathway to permanent status so that TPS holders are not left in uncertainty.
The situation in Yemen continues to unravel as the country enters its seventh year of conflict, with civilians bearing the brunt due to the warring parties’ disregard for international humanitarian law. Economic warfare by all parties chokes the import of food, fuel, and medicines as prices soar due to the collapse of the local currency. Three in five Yemenis surveyed by the IRC could not afford basic items and many are resorting to child labor and child marriage to ease expenses. Humanitarian action is constrained due to access challenges and funding shortages, forcing humanitarians to scale back in the face of spiraling need. The result - the world's worst humanitarian crisis is on track for its worst year yet.