Taxation is one of life’s few certainties, American polymath Benjamin Franklin said.
Taxation and death.
But in the Middle Eastern country of Yemen an intended 2% tariff levied by the rebel Houthi government on aid meant for people in extreme distress has received such a strong rebuke by the United Nations that the gun-wielding rulers have scrapped – for now – their intention to generate revenue from what is essentially a war zone tax.
It was instituted by the Iran-backed rebel rulers’ own aid body, SCMSCA, and was announced as an official regulation that could sever a lifeline of necessary aid meant for sick and starving citizens unless the UN paid a tax toward Houthi coffers.
However, during crisis talks in Brussels over the weekend, the human rights of people in dire need took centre stage, persuading Yemen’s militia government not to proceed with the aid tax. The decision came after EU crisis management commissioner, Janez Lenarčič, insisted that international humanitarian law be upheld and that safe and unimpeded passage be granted to organisations trying to bring relief to a region where aid workers were harassed and often killed. – Eugene Goddard.