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. 

 


PWD-friendly infrastructure rebuilds completed in Two Holy Cities, Saudi Arabia tells UN

Updated 22 March 2019
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PWD-friendly infrastructure rebuilds completed in Two Holy Cities, Saudi Arabia tells UN

  • Infrastructure upgrades included public transport facilities
  • Centers for disability rehabilitation are growing across the Kingdom

JEDDAH: Major infrastructure rebuilds to aid disabled people have been completed in Makkah and Madinah, the United Nations heard on Thursday.

Dr. Bandar Al-Aiban, president of the Saudi Human Rights Commission (HRC), made the announcement in Geneva during the 21st session of the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

He said that the move came as part of a wider range of programs aimed at empowering the disabled in Saudi Arabia, to provide them with a suitable education, tools and the employment opportunities to ensure their independence and maintain a good quality of life. 

He added that the infrastructure updates included public transport facilities that were disability friendly, and easy access to government buildings and important historical and religious sites across the two cities.

“The Saudi government is keen to serve the Two Holy Mosques and other holy sites, and harness the necessary resources to serve pilgrims, and this includes the completion of major infrastructure targets that take into account the needs of people with disabilities,” Al-Aiban said.

“The government’s financial support for associations and NGOs for people with disabilities amounted to more than SR70 million ($18.7 million) in 2018. People with disabilities are also members of the Shoura Council, and hold leadership positions in various sectors. 

He also mentioned the recent establishment of the Saudi Commission for Persons with Disabilities and Special Needs, noting the growing number of centers for disability rehabilitation across the country, and the exemplary standards they set for disabled services in the Gulf.