Arab coalition, UN sign MoU to protect children in Yemen

Virginia Gamba, United Nations Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, speaks during a news conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia March 25, 2019. (REUTERS)
Updated 26 March 2019

Arab coalition, UN sign MoU to protect children in Yemen

  • The UN had launched a number of initiatives to end the recruitment and use of children in conflict

RIYADH: The Arab coalition to restore legitimacy in Yemen on Monday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the UN to protect children affected by the conflict.
The MoU was signed in Riyadh by Virginia Gamba, the special representative of the UN secretary-general for children and armed conflict, and Maj. Gen. Fahd bin Turki bin Abdul Aziz, the Arab coalition’s commander of the joint forces.
Speaking at a press conference, Gamba said that the Houthi militia had been involved in gross violations of using children in the armed conflict in Yemen.
Gamba added that the Iranian-backed militias had committed violations against children instead of taking action to protect them from the civil war. The MoU signed between the coalition and the UN reflected a strong commitment to strengthen the protection of children affected by the conflict as well as preventing them from being exploited by the rebels.
“The MoU consolidates the position of the two sides to strengthen efforts in protecting children affected by conflict in Yemen,” she said.
“This will give us best practices and understanding on how to prevent children from being used in armed conflict.”
“I am convinced that the coalition led by Saudi Arabia will play a significant role in serving the great purpose of keeping children away from the armed conflict,” she said.
She noted that the MoU is the first of its kind and expressed the hope that it will become a global campaign. The UN would conduct an international campaign on the dangers children facing in the armed conflict, she said.
She also expressed hope that the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) would be of great help with its rehabilitation program that served children who are used by the Houthi militias to act as combatants and human shields in the conflict.
The UN had launched a number of initiatives to end the recruitment and use of children in conflict. It believed that children should be armed with pens and textbooks, not guns, she said.
Gen. Fahd said that the MoU signed between the two sides deals with “noble humanitarian aspects” and these two sides will work to strengthen the goals toward the protection of children.
The press conference was also attended by permanent representative of Saudi Arabia to the UN Ambassador Abdallah Al-Mouallimi and Brig. Gen. Mubarak Al-Zahrani, head of the child protection unit in the coalition.


Recent archaeological discoveries highlight Saudi Arabia as ‘a cradle of human civilizations,’ Rome conference told

Updated 06 December 2019

Recent archaeological discoveries highlight Saudi Arabia as ‘a cradle of human civilizations,’ Rome conference told

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has become a leader in the field of archaeological research in the past five years, a major exhibition in Rome was told.

Abdullah Al-Zahrani, director-general of archaeological research and studies at the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage, said that 44 international archaeological missions had been carried out this year in the Kingdom.

He was speaking on the sidelines of the “Roads of Arabia: Masterpieces of Antiquities in Saudi Arabia Across the Ages” exhibition, which opened at the National Museum of Rome on Nov. 26.

The groundbreaking exhibition was inaugurated by Saudi Minister of Culture Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan and Italian Minister of Cultural Heritage and Activities Dario Franceschini.

Al-Zahrani said that the Kingdom “has become one of the most advanced countries in terms of archaeological disclosures.”

“Recent discoveries by local and international missions have highlighted the Kingdom’s historical status and cultural depth as the cradle of the beginnings of human civilizations,” he said.

Archaeological discoveries continue to “instil the civilized dimension of the Kingdom,” he said.

“The religious, political, economic and cultural stature that Saudi Arabia enjoys is an extension of its long cultural heritage, in addition to its distinctive geographical position as a bridge and hub of cultural interaction between East and West that made it a meeting point for international land and sea trade routes throughout all ages,” he added.