Saudi Arabia’s KSRelief discusses children, humanitarian crisis in Yemen in Geneva

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Updated 09 March 2019

Saudi Arabia’s KSRelief discusses children, humanitarian crisis in Yemen in Geneva

JEDDAH: King Salman Humanitarian Aid And Relief Center (KSRelief) held a seminar on Saturday entitled “Children and the Humanitarian Crisis in Yemen,” on the sidelines of the 40th session of the UN Human Rights’ Council in Geneva.
The delegation was headed by Dr. Abdullah bin Saleh Al-Moallem, director of KSRelief Health and Environmental Aid Department. 
Al-Moallem highlighted the center’s international relief and humanitarian programs and said that more than four million women and six million children in Yemen suffer from a severe humanitarian crisis due to the continuous human rights violations, while the humanitarian situation has become more difficult and bitter.
Al-Moallem reviewed the center’s humanitarian contributions in alleviating the suffering of the most affected groups in Yemen, in line with international laws, that aim to reduce the effects of the violations committed by the Iran-backed Houthi militia, which have affected millions of children and women for nearly four years.
“One of the most prominent projects presented by the Kingdom and represented by the center, which is the largest donor in Yemen, is the rehabilitation center for children recruited by the Houthi militia under the age of 18 to integrate them into society and provide them with psychosocial and educational services by specialized experts,” he said.
Al-Moallem said that “we attended to convey the message of the suffering Yemeni citizens, especially the most vulnerable groups such as the women and children, from the terrorist practices of the Houthi militia,” adding that the militia uses child recruits in contradictions with all international conventions, including the Geneva Convention, the Rome Statute on War Crimes and the International Labor Law.
The international health expert Astrid Steckelberger said: “The humanitarian crisis in Yemen is one of the biggest crises in the world and the King Salman Relief Center has done a great job in Yemen, where about 328 projects worth $2 billion, the largest humanitarian contribution to Yemen, have been carried out.”
The international organizations in the symposium accused the Iranian-backed Houthi militia of recruiting and forcing children to fight and carry weapons, which is a clear violation of international conventions on the protection of the rights of children. They demanded the international community and the Human Rights Council to protect the children in Yemen.
The seminar reviewed the humanitarian situation in Yemen and assessed the international community’s position on the humanitarian crisis.
It also discussed the obstruction of humanitarian access by the Houthi militia, which controls 60% of the various relief items, and the impact of the humanitarian crisis on the children in Yemen.

Arab coalition working to protect region’s security, says spokesman

Coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki at a press briefing. (SPA file photo)
Updated 42 min 18 sec ago

Arab coalition working to protect region’s security, says spokesman

  • Houthis want to disturb peace, says coalition spokesman
  • Stockholm peace agreement under strain

RIYADH: The Arab coalition supporting the internationally recognized Yemeni government is committed to protecting regional and global security, a spokesman said Monday.

Coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki was asked at a press briefing about Houthi militias threatening to target the capitals of Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

“This is their way to disturb peace,” Al-Maliki replied. “Previously the Houthis targeted Riyadh with a ballistic missile, violating all international laws by attacking a city that has more than 8 million civilians. We take all precautions to protect civilians and vital areas. The coalition works to protect regional and international security.”

Al-Maliki said Houthis had targeted Saudi border towns several times, the most recent incident taking place in Abha last Friday.

But the Saudi Royal Air Defense Force had shot down a drone that was targeting civilians, he added.

He said four Saudi nationals and an Indian expatriate were injured in the attack because of falling debris.

The drone wreckage showed the characteristics and specifications of Iranian manufacturing, he said, which proved Iran was continuing to smuggle arms to the militias.

He warned the Houthis to refrain from targeting civilians because the coalition, in line with international humanitarian law, had every right to counter such threats.

He said the coalition was making efforts to neutralize ballistic missiles and dismantle their capabilities, as the coalition’s joint command would not allow the militia to possess weapons that threatened civilian lives and peace.

Al-Maliki reiterated that the Houthis were targeting Yemeni civilians and continued to violate international laws. 

He also urged Yemenis to try their best to prevent children from being captured by Houthis, who were using them as human shields and child soldiers.

His comments came as the UN tried to salvage a peace deal that was seen as crucial for ending the country’s four-year war.

The Stockholm Agreement was signed by the Yemeni government and Houthi representatives last December.

The main points of the agreement were a prisoner exchange, steps toward a cease-fire in the city of Taiz, and a cease-fire agreement in the city of Hodeidah and its port, as well as ports in Salif and Ras Issa.

Militants triggered the conflict when they seized the capital Sanaa in 2014 and attempted to occupy large parts of the country. An Arab coalition intervened in support of the internationally recognized government in March 2015.

The World Health Organization estimates that nearly 10,000 people have been killed in Yemen since 2015.

Earlier this month US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that President Donald Trump’s administration opposed curbs on American assistance to the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.

“The way to alleviate the Yemeni people’s suffering isn’t to prolong the conflict by handicapping our partners in the fight, but by giving the Saudi-led coalition the support needed to defeat the Iranian-backed rebels and ensure a just peace,” Pompeo said at a news conference in Washington.