New York, NY, January 9, 2020 — The International Rescue Committee responds to the U.S. Administration’s announcement that it will extend Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Yemen without redesignation. This decision protects approximately 1,500 Yemeni TPS holders for another 18 months. At the same time, this decision arbitrarily excludes from protection as many as 3,000 Yemeni citizens arriving in the United States after January 2017 despite the fact that Yemen remains unsafe for return. Yemen is currently an active war zone and the location of the largest humanitarian crisis in the world.
“The situation here in Yemen continues to get worse with no end in sight,” said IRC Yemen Country Director Frank Mc Manus. “The people of Yemen need humanitarian relief now. Current humanitarian access is neither efficient nor effective. As recent as September a high level UN report detailed ongoing potential war crimes in Yemen, including arbitrary killings of civilians, rape, torture, the use of child soldiers and deliberately denying food in a country facing famine. The US must extend TPS protection to all Yemenis there - Deliberately subjecting more innocent lives to endure the conditions they would face in Yemen is unjustifiable, and adds to the increasing doubt over American humanitarian leadership.”
More than four years since the outbreak of war, Yemen continues to be home to the largest humanitarian crisis in the world with 80 percent of the country’s population in need of assistance. Warring sides indiscriminately target civilians and civilian infrastructure and a cholera outbreak has killed thousands. Currently 60 percent of civilians are facing food insecurity with 10 million on the brink of starvation.
Since October 1, 2017, the US has accepted only five Yemeni refugees.
The IRC has been a monitor and major provider of humanitarian assistance in the country since 2012, continuing to deliver lifesaving services. Each week, the IRC delivers health services for 10,000 individuals, rehabilitates water points for access to clean water, offers nutrition assistance and treatment to 500 children, provides cash transfers and vouchers for food to 5,000 families, and supports 250 women in safe spaces.
The IRC urges the Administration to ensure that all Yemenis have access to protection and to reconsider its decision and re-designate TPS for Yemen. We continue to call on Congress to enact a permanent solution for those who are left behind by this and previous TPS decisions.