UN documents nearly 1,500 child soldiers in Yemen

A boy holds a flag as supporters of the Houthi movement attend a pro-Houthi rally in Sanaa, Yemen Feb. 17. (Reuters Photo)
Updated 28 February 2017
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UN documents nearly 1,500 child soldiers in Yemen

DUBAI: Nearly 1,500 children have been recruited by Yemen’s warring parties, mostly the Shiite Houthi rebels, since March 2015, the UN said on Tuesday.
The UN has verified the recruitment of 1,476 children, all boys, between March 26 , 2015 and Jan. 31, 2017, said a statement by the spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ravina Shamdasani.
“The numbers are likely to be much higher as most families are not willing to talk about the recruitment of their children, for fear of reprisals,” she said.
“Just last week, we received new reports of children who were recruited without the knowledge of their families,” she said, adding that children under 18 are either being “misled or attracted by promises of financial rewards or social status.”
The Iran-backed Houthis and their allies overran the capital Sanaa in 2014 before sweeping south, forcing the internationally recognized government to flee.
The war escalated in March 2015 when a Saudi-led Arab coalition began a military campaign against the rebels in support of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi.
“We remind all parties to the conflict that the recruitment and use of children in armed conflict is strictly forbidden by international human rights law and international humanitarian law,” said Shamdasani.
The recruitment of children under 15 “may amount to a war crime,” she added.
“We urge them to immediately release such children.”
Shamdasani said 4,667 civilians had been killed in the conflict since March 2015, while 8,180 others were wounded.
In total, the UN says that more than 7,500 people have been killed in the war and 40,000 others wounded.


Saudi Arabia, Kuwait slam UN for human rights report on Yemen

Updated 4 min 20 sec ago
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Saudi Arabia, Kuwait slam UN for human rights report on Yemen

  • Kuwait’s permanent delegate to the UN said that the report was “deeply flawed”
  • Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the UN also said the report has come away from “objectivity and characterized by haste”

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia and Kuwait on Wednesday slammed a report prepared by United Nations experts over alleged human rights violations in Yemen.

Kuwait’s permanent delegate to the UN, Ambassador Jamal Al-Ghunaim told the 39th session of the UN Human Rights Council that the report was “deeply flawed.”

“[The report] seems to hurl false accusations at the Saudi-led Coalition,” Al-Ghunaim said.

He said the UN experts singled out the coalition of Arab states fighting Yemen’s Iran-allied Houthi militia as accountable for the human rights violations in the war-torn country.

“The Arab Coalition never ceased to cooperate with the UN specialists in Yemen to ensure that civilian casualties are averted,” he said.

The Kuwaiti diplomat went on to give the Arab coalition credit for their “efforts to restore normalcy and hope to the lives of the Yemeni people.”

Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the UN, Abdulaziz Al-Waselthe, also said the report has come away from “objectivity and characterized by haste” in drawing conclusions and came full of errors in its approach and contents.

In a speech to the Human Rights Council, A-Waselthe said that the report ignored the information provided to the group of experts by the concerning agencies in the Arab Coalition.

The Kuwaiti envoy condemned the Houthis’ acts of aggression that violates international humanitarian laws.