Houthi militia ‘using children as human shields’

This file photo taken on June 18, 2017 shows Yemeni children carrying weapons as they take part in a gathering organised by Shiite Houthi rebels in the capital Sanaa. (AFP)
Updated 07 July 2018
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Houthi militia ‘using children as human shields’

  • Houthi militias’ looting more than 500 relief shipments, stopping the arrival of 65 ships loaded with relief items
  • Saudi Arabia's KSRelief has sent specialized medical teams to Hodeidah

RIYADH: Women and children are being coerced to join the fighting in Yemen for use as human shields, a meeting in Geneva organized by the Yemeni Ministry of Human Rights has been told.

The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) was invited as a leading organization in humanitarian assistance in Yemen. A delegation from the center took part in the meeting led by Yemeni Minister of Human Rights, Mohammed Mohsen Askar.
The KSRelief delegation was headed by Dr. Abdullah Saleh Al-Moallem, director of medical and environmental assistance at the agency.
In an exclusive interview with Arab News on his return from Geneva on Saturday, Al-Moallem said the Yemeni minister highlighted that the Houthi militias’ violations of international law, including denying children humanitarian assistance, looting more than 500 relief shipments, stopping the arrival of 65 ships loaded with relief items, destroying more than 180 hospitals and medical facilities, and detaining 489 children at checkpoints and coercing them to join the fighting.
Askar urged the international community to put pressure on the Houthi militants to begin peace negotiations and halt the “forceful recruitment of children and women for war purposes.”
Speaking at the meeting, Al-Moallem highlighted medical efforts by KSRelief to help women and children.
The agency recently launched rapid response efforts to help distressed people in war-torn Yemen with three specialized medical teams delivering treatment in Marib, Taiz and Aden.
The medical team included doctors, neurosurgeons, orthopedic surgeons, and specialists in spinal surgery, ENT and cosmetic surgery.
The medical assistance campaign began providing medical equipment, supplies as well as surgical theater equipment and sets to the hospitals in three places.
Al-Moallem said the medical mission would also train Yemeni doctors and support staff as well as upgrade the health system in Yemen.
KSRelief has sent specialized medical teams to Hodeidah.
“We are offering treatment to all without discrimination, but our priority is women and children,” Al-Moallem said. “We are funding government hospitals with $126 million to provide medical supplies and medicines,” he said.
Al-Moallem also highlighted the importance of the Saudi Project to Dismantle Mines in Yemen (Masam) launched recently.


Saudi Crown prince’s India visit will help expand ties beyond energy

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s visit to India will boost robust interactions that New Delhi has established with Saudi Arabia over the last few years. (Supplied)
Updated 20 February 2019
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Saudi Crown prince’s India visit will help expand ties beyond energy

  • New Delhi’s participation in Kingdom’s mega projects a major aspect of renewed ties: Talmiz Ahmad

NEW DELHI: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s first visit to India is a landmark development in bilateral ties between India and Saudi Arabia, according to Talmiz Ahmad, a former ambassador to Riyadh.

Saudi Arabia is India’s largest supplier of crude oil, but since taking office in 2014 Prime Minister Narendra Modi has sought to use India’s growing economy to attract more investment from Saudi Arabia beyond energy, and foster cooperation on trade, infrastructure and defense.

Ahmad, author of several books on the Arab world and twice India’s Ambassador to Riyadh, said that while the backbone of New Delhi’s relationship with the Kingdom is energy, the two sides had been discussing “how to give greater substance and longevity to the relationship on the basis of concrete projects.”

Reuters reported this week that India is expecting Prince Salman to announce an initial investment in its National Investment and Infrastructure Fund, a quasi-sovereign wealth fund, to help accelerate the building of ports and highways. Saudi Arabia has also suggested investing in India’s farming industry, with an eye on food imports to the Kingdom. 

Ahmad said Saudi Arabia’s NEOM project, a $500 billion smart city in Tabuk province on the Egyptian and Jordanian borders, would also provide great opportunities for Indian companies. 

He added that Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, the crown prince’s blueprint to fundamentally transform Kingdom’s economy, presents another opportunity for Indian businesses to prosper from the relationship.

“India is extremely well placed,” said Ahmad. “We are world leaders in small and medium enterprises and in the services sector. Saudi Arabia also has proposals to develop its tourism and leisure sectors, and I believe India is also well placed in those areas too.”

He also discussed how the strategic partnership had been initiated by former Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who visited Riyadh in 2010, but that Modi, who visited in 2016, had added “considerable substance” to the relationship.

He stressed, though, that Riyadh’s ties with India are independent of its relationship with Pakistan. He added India and Saudi Arabia were also working together to improve the security situation in Afghanistan, to resolve the 17-year conflict between government forces and the Afghan Taliban, as well as in the wider West Asia region. 

“India has excellent relations with all the countries in West Asia, and New Delhi is well placed to address some of the concerns that all the countries have with each other,” he said.