Addis Abeba – The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee unanimously passed bipartisan Senate resolution on Thursday “condemning the use of starvation and hunger as weapons of war,” according to a statement from the Committee.
Where appropriate, the resolution calls on the U.S. government to ensure that the use of hunger as a weapon of war is “considered within the employment of tools to hold individuals, governments,militias, or entities responsible such as the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act (22 U.S.C. 2656),” as well as “taking into consideration the need for humanitarian exemptions and the protection of life saving assistance.”
Sponsored by Senator Jim Risch, ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, who joined Senators Jeff Merkley, Todd Young, Cory Booker, John Thune, and Bob Menendez, the resolution condemns the use of hunger as a weapon of war through: “starvation of civilians; intentional and reckless destruction, removing, looting, or rendering useless objects necessary for food production and distribution such as farmland, markets, mills, food processing and storage areas, foodstuffs, crops, livestock, agricultural assets, waterways, water systems, drinking water installations and supplies, and irrigation works; denial of humanitarian access and the deprivation of objects indispensable to people’s survival, such as food supplies and nutrition resources; and willful interruption of market systems to affected populations in need in conflict environments by preventing travel and manipulating currency exchange.”
“From Ethiopia to Ukraine, the ongoing disruption of supply chains, obstruction to or halting of food production, and shutting down of key ports and other transport hubs are actively pushing millions of people towards famine”Senator Bob Menendez
“Conflict is a major driver of food insecurity, and warring factions in Ethiopia, South Sudan, Syria, and Yemen continue to engage in the willful destruction of agricultural goods and infrastructure, manipulate markets, and impose security and bureaucratic barriers upon humanitarians – culminating in the deliberate starvation of civilians,” said Republican Senator Jim Risch.
Ethiopia is also mentioned as a case in point by another Republican Senator, Jeff Merkley, who commented after the passage of the resolution: “from Ukraine to Syria to Ethiopia, we are watching with horror as bad actors destroy agriculture, deny humanitarian access, and disrupt markets for crucial commodities in a twisted effort to achieve their geopolitical aims through starvation.”
democrat Senator Bob Menendez, added to the bipartisan resolution in mentioning Ethiopia. “From Ethiopia to Ukraine, the ongoing disruption of supply chains, obstruction to or halting of food production, and shutting down of key ports and other transport hubs are actively pushing millions of people towards famine by limiting their access to basic goods.” AS
Read the joint statement by six of members of the Senate Foreign Relations committee.