Yemeni official condemns international silence on Houthi violations of children’s rights

Yemeni children accompanied by their fathers hold weapons during a gathering in Sanaa to show support for the Houthis on September 27, 2018. (File/AFP)
Updated 29 November 2018
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Yemeni official condemns international silence on Houthi violations of children’s rights

  • He claimed that silence of the international community on violations committed by the militia encouraged the Houthis to kidnap children and put them on the front lines
  • Meanwhile, Yemeni Vice President Ali Mohsen Al-Ahmar met with the Ambassador of the United Kingdom to Yemen, Michael Aron, to discuss the latest developments

DUBAI: Yemen’s Minister of State, General Abdul Ghani Jamil, has criticized the international community for what he said was its silence over crimes and violations committed against children by the Houthi militia.

During his speech at a human rights conference held in Marib on “The Role of Media and Human Rights Organizations in Reducing Child Recruitment,” he said the Houthis violated international laws and the humanitarian rights of children by recruiting them as child soldiers in their “losing war.” 

He claimed that silence of the international community on violations committed by the militia encouraged the Houthis to kidnap children and put them on the front lines.

The seminar dealt with the role of the media in raising awareness about the dangers of recruiting children and the importance of exposing those who recruit them.

The Houthi militia, under the guise of educational institutions, change the curricula in order to recruit children to fight in their ranks, according to Jamil.

Since the Houthi militia overthrew the internationally recognized government in Sanaa, Yemen has faced what the United Nations has called the worst humanitarian crisis since World War II.

The conflict has had a severe effect on children’s education, wellbeing and health. The aid group, Save the Children, says 85,000 children, younger than five, might have died of hunger or disease in the war.

2019 Relief Plan

In response to the on-going suffering Yemeni people, officials and international aid organizations have discussed ways of bringing relief to the war-torn country. 

Yemen’s Minister of Local Administration and Chairman of the Higher Commission for Relief, Abdulraqeeb Fatah, discussed the relief plan for Yemen in 2019 with the Deputy Executive Director of the World Food Program (WFP) Amir Abdulla and the WFP’s Yemen Country Director Stephen Anderson.

The Yemeni minister stressed the importance of relief work and livelihood projects, as well as sustainable development programs and enhancing stability in Yemen’s provinces.

Fatah discussed the possibility of transferring part of the plan’s financial assistance through the Central Bank of Yemen, stressing the importance of strengthening monitoring and follow-up mechanisms to ensure aid is received by those in need.

Abdulla stated that WFP is committed to providing emergency food assistance to address the humanitarian situation in Yemen and to ensure that the spread of famine is averted.  He said the relief plan aimed to provide food assistance to 12 million people per month.

Sustainable Peace

Meanwhile, Yemeni Vice President Ali Mohsen Al-Ahmar met with the Ambassador of the United Kingdom to Yemen, Michael Aron, to discuss the latest developments and efforts to achieve lasting peace.

The vice president said his government would grant the Houthi militia a new opportunity to make the right judgement and to serve Yemen and the interest of its people instead of Iran.

The British ambassador reiterated his country’s support for the internationally recognized government and efforts of the UN envoy, stressing the UK’s keenness to achieve a just and sustainable peace in Yemen.


Beirut praises ‘progress’ on maritime border dispute

Updated 21 May 2019
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Beirut praises ‘progress’ on maritime border dispute

  • Israel and Lebanon both claim ownership of an 860-square-kilometer area of the Mediterranean Sea.
  • Lebanon insists that the area lies within its economic zone and refuses to give up a single part of it

BEIRUT: Lebanon has hinted that progress is being made in efforts to resolve its maritime border dispute with Israel following the return of a US mediator from talks with Israeli officials.

US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs David Satterfield returned to Lebanon following talks in Israel where he outlined Lebanese demands regarding the disputed area and the mechanism to reach a settlement.

The US mediator has signaled a new push to resolve the dispute after meetings with both Lebanese and Israeli officials.

Israel and Lebanon both claim ownership of an 860-square-kilometer area of the Mediterranean Sea. Lebanon hopes to begin offshore oil and gas production in the offshore Block 9 as it grapples with an economic crisis.

A source close to Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, who met with Satterfield on Monday after his return to Lebanon, told Arab News that “there is progress in the efforts, but the discussion is not yet over.” He did not provide further details.

Sources close to the Lebanese presidency confirmed that Lebanon is counting on the US to help solve the demarcation dispute and would like to accelerate the process to allow exploration for oil and gas to begin in the disputed area.

Companies that will handle the exploration require stability in the area before they start working, the sources said.

Previous efforts by Satterfield to end the dispute failed in 2012 and again last year after Lebanon rejected a proposal by US diplomat Frederick Hoff that offered 65 percent of the disputed area to Lebanon and 35 percent to Israel. Lebanon insisted that the area lies within its economic zone and refused to give up a single part of it.

Satterfield has acknowledged Lebanon’s ownership of around 500 sq km of the disputed 850 sq km area.

Lebanon renewed its commitment to a mechanism for setting the negotiations in motion, including the formation of a tripartite committee with representatives of Lebanon, Israel and the UN, in addition to the participation of the US mediator. Beirut also repeated its refusal to negotiate directly with Israel.

Two months ago, Lebanon launched a marine environmental survey in blocks 4 and 9 in Lebanese waters to allow a consortium of French, Italian and Russian companies to begin oil and gas exploration in the area.