Effective 16th February 2021, the newly elected US Administration has revoked the “foreign terrorist organization” designation of the Houthi militia and has lifted the recent sanctions under the American Counter Terrorism Sanctions Program. Transactions and activities involving the Houthi de facto government are no longer prohibited, except for those with certain blocked individuals.
Lifting US Sanctions against the Houthi Militia
On 16th February 2021, the US Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) revoked the designation of Ansarallah, the official name of the Houthi militia, as a “foreign terrorist organization” (“FTO”) under section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act and as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (“SDGT”) under Executive Order (“E.O.”) 13224 (as amended by E.O. 13886). These measures had been introduced in a last-minute decision by the Trump administration and took effect as of 19th January 2021.
The new administration, which had initially suspended the sanctions for one month, has now finally announced their lifting. In a press statement dated 12th February, the US Secretary of State announced the revocation of the designation of Ansarallah as an FTO, citing warnings of the United Nations, among others, and humanitarian aid organizations as to the potential impact of the sanctions on the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Yemen.
What does this mean for International Development Organizations and Companies involved in Yemen?
All transactions and activities involving the Houthi militia and its de facto government in the northern parts of Yemen are no longer subject to US sanctions.
This does not, however, include transactions with and activities involving blocked individuals or entities, in particular individuals blocked under the Yemen Sanctions Program1 or the Global Magnitsky Sanctions Program2. These are mainly a handful of officers of the Houthi-controlled security and intelligence agencies accused of committing serious human rights abuses as well as Houthi’s key leaders, the former president of Yemen, Ali Saleh and his son, who are subject to the Yemen Sanctions Program for threatening the peace, security, or stability of Yemen.
1 Based on the authority of E.O. 13611 of 16th May 2012 on Blocking Property of Persons Threatening the Peace, Security, or Stability of Yemen.
2 Executive Order 13818 of December 20, 2017 Blocking the Property of Persons Involved in Serious Human Rights Abuse or Corruption.
|For further information, please contact:|
Dr. Kilian Bälz
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