Saudi Arabia’s Prince Khalid pleads with international community to end child soldier recruitment

Yemeni children carrying weapons take part in a gathering organized by Houthis, in the capital Sanaa, June 18, 2017. (AFP)
Updated 04 January 2019
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Saudi Arabia’s Prince Khalid pleads with international community to end child soldier recruitment

  • Ambassador to the US, Prince Khalid bin Salman, said the Houthi militia's use of child soldiers in Yemen was a 'Heinous crime'
  • The militia have inducted 18,000 children into their ranks since  the conflict began

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia on Thursday called for a global initiative to combat the recruitment of child soldiers.

Ambassador to the US, Prince Khalid bin Salman, said the Arab coalition fighting in Yemen to support the internationally recognised government, regularly encountered children who had been recruited by the Houthi militia. 

In a series of heartfelt tweets, Prince Khalid said the international community and media had ignored the Houthis’ daily violation of children’s rights.

“The recruitment of children by the Iran backed Houthis is a heinous crime that we can no longer tolerate,” he said.

“Houthis force recruitment from schools and playgrounds, threaten/terrorize families who refuse, and proceed to use them as cannon fodder.”

“KSA calls for a serious sustained global initiative to combat the recruitment of children in battles; especially in Yemen. It must end once and for all.”

The Iran backed Houthis, who sparked the Yemen conflict when they seized the capital Sanaa in 2014, have routinely used child soldiers during the war. 

The militia have inducted 18,000 children into their ranks since the conflict began, a senior Al Houthi military official told AP recently.

The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre has run a series of initiatives to help rehabilitate the children and return them to school.

“Kids often come in shocked by the horrors of war, where they find themselves between death, gunfire, and bodily remains,” Prince Khalid said. 

He added that Saudi Arabia had helped treat hundreds of young Yemenis. 

 


Saudi ministry: More than 3 million Umrah visas issued so far

The Vision 2030 reform plan aims to attract more than 30 million Umrah pilgrims, and provide them with excellent services and an outstanding experience. (SPA)
Updated 20 January 2019
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Saudi ministry: More than 3 million Umrah visas issued so far

  • Developing Hajj and Umrah organizations and services in the Kingdom is among the top priorities of the Saudi government

JEDDAH: The number of Umrah visas issued this year has reached 3,024,272, of which 2,561,541 pilgrims have arrived in the Kingdom, according to data provided by the Hajj and Umrah Ministry.
There are 399,479 pilgrims still in the Kingdom, with 277,372 in Makkah and 122,107 in Madinah.
Most pilgrims — 2,288,789 — came to the Kingdom by air, while 257,266 entered by land and 15,486 arrived by sea.
The largest number of pilgrims are from Pakistan (681,392) followed by Indonesia (447,450), India (306,470), Yemen (146,067), Malaysia (142,290), Algeria (92,752), Turkey (86,925), Egypt (85,438), Bangladesh (53,131) and the UAE (62,927).
The weekly data also included the number of Saudi staff within Umrah companies and institutions. They are 9,983 Saudis including 8,259 males and 1,724 females.
Developing Hajj and Umrah organizations and services in the Kingdom is among the top priorities of the Saudi government.
The Vision 2030 reform plan aims to attract more than 30 million Umrah pilgrims, and provide them with excellent services and an outstanding experience.