Yemenis arrange online campaign to highlight Houthi violations against children

Yemenis arrange online campaign to highlight Houthi violations against children
Children work at a stonecutting workshop in Yemen's third city of Taez, on November 20, 2021, marking World Children's Day amid dire economic conditions in the war-torn country. (AFP)
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Updated 22 November 2021

Yemenis arrange online campaign to highlight Houthi violations against children

Yemenis arrange online campaign to highlight Houthi violations against children
  • Millions of youngsters ‘deprived of their right to education, health care and a normal life as a result of militia’s terror’

AL-MUKALLA: Yemenis, including human rights activists, journalists and government officials, have organized a campaign on social media to call attention to continuing Houthi crimes against children in Yemen. 

Coinciding with World Children’s Day, campaigners said that the Iran-backed Houthis had recruited large numbers of children into the war and indoctrinated many others, while thousands of children were killed or wounded due to land mines planted by the militia. 

Mohammed Jumeh, Yemen’s permanent delegate to UNESCO, said that the continuing bloody military operations by the Houthis in the central province of Marib had forced Yemeni children to sleep in the desert without shelter or food.

Houthis indoctrinated, trained and armed thousands of Yemeni children and later sent them to the battlefields to fight their opponents, he said.

“While free nations celebrate the #ChildrenDay2021, Houthis caused the displaced infants to sleep on the sand with no shelter in the northeastern province of Marib. Moreover, they have been arming tens of thousands of children and sending them to fronts,” the Yemeni official said on Twitter. 

Yemen’s Information Minister Muammar Al-Eryani said that since the Houthi military takeover of power in late 2014, millions of children had been unable to attend school, receive health services or enjoy a peaceful life. 

“The world is silent in the face of Iranian-backed Houthi militia crises against millions of children in Yemen who have been deprived of their right to education, health care and a normal life, as a result of the war triggered by the coup.”

Yemeni activists say that the online campaign targets not only local and international rights groups and the world in general, but seeks to educate the public in the Houthi-controlled areas about the militia’s crimes. 

Zafaran Zaid, a Yemeni human rights activist and lawyer, who was sentenced to death in absentia by a Houthi-run court in June, participated in the campaign by sharing graphic images of child amputees who lost legs after walking on land mines laid by the Houthis.

“Disclosing the (Houthi) crimes could influence the general people who follow this Iranian project due to media disinformation,” Zafaran told Arab News, arguing that the campaign would also correct information disseminated outside Yemen about the nature of the war in Yemen.

“Many people think of it as a war between Yemen and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. They do not know that this is a terrorist organization that destroyed the state,” she said. 

The online campaign to highlight Houthi abuses is happening as Yemen’s Joint Forces on Monday announced moving into new Houthi-controlled districts in the provinces of Hodeidah and Taiz.

A local military official from the Joint Forces told Arab News that their units had pushed into Al-Jarahi district in Hodeidah province for the first time since the beginning of the war after clashes with the Iran-backed Houthis.

Other forces reportedly clashed with the Houthis in Maqbanah district in Taiz province. 

Backed by air support from the Arab coalition, the Joint Forces, an umbrella term for three major military units in the country’s western coast, have been making rapid progress in the two provinces since Friday when they launched an offensive to seize control of strategic highlands in Taiz and Hodeidah. 

In the central province of Marib, local military officials said on Monday that army troops and allied tribesmen repelled several Houthi attacks in flashpoint sites south of Marib.

Appeal 

The UN Security Council’s five permanent ambassadors to Yemen on Monday urged the pro-independence Southern Transitional Council to constructively work with the internationally recognized government for the sake of quick and unhindered implementation of the Riyadh Agreement that could end hostilities in southern Yemen.

The heads of the P5 missions said in a joint statement that they discussed with the STC leader Aidarous Al-Zubaidi in Riyadh the implementation of the Riyadh Agreement and major developments on the ground.

“The P5 Heads of Mission encouraged the STC to be a constructive partner as part of the Yemeni government for the sake of the Yemeni people,” the P5 said in the statement.


Israeli president to make first-ever state visit to UAE

Israeli president to make first-ever state visit to UAE
Updated 26 January 2022

Israeli president to make first-ever state visit to UAE

Israeli president to make first-ever state visit to UAE
  • The visit comes some 16 months after the wealthy UAE broke with decades of Arab consensus and forged diplomatic ties with Israel

JERUSALEM: Israel’s President Isaac Herzog will make a historic visit to the UAE at the end of the month, his office said Tuesday, in the latest high-profile diplomatic trip since the countries normalized ties.
Herzog’s office said the president, who will travel with the first lady, will meet United Arab Emirates’ Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan during the January 30-31 trip.
“We have the privilege of making history by making the first visit of an Israeli president to the United Arab Emirates,” Herzog said in the statement, adding that the countries were “laying the foundations of a new shared future.”
Herzog is also scheduled to meet with the ruler of Dubai and senior government officials, and visit the Dubai Expo, his office said.
The visit comes some 16 months after the wealthy UAE broke with decades of Arab consensus and forged diplomatic ties with Israel.
The move was part of a series of US-brokered deals known as the Abraham Accords, pacts that have angered the Palestinians.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett made history last month when he became the first Israeli head of government to visit UAE, in a trip that partly focused on international talks on Iran’s nuclear program, a top Israeli security priority.
Herzog, whose position is largely ceremonial, will be the first Israeli head of state to officially visit the UAE.
He vowed “the bold new partnership” between the countries “will transform the Middle East,” with Israel keen to expand the list of Arab nations that sign on to the Abraham Accords.
The deals were negotiated under former US president Donald Trump but endorsed by President Joe Biden’s administration.
Bahrain and Morocco have also normalized ties with Israel under the accords.
Sudan has agreed to do so but formal diplomatic relations have not emerged amid roiling instability in Khartoum.


Yemen army liberates land, hits Houthi targets

Yemen army liberates land, hits Houthi targets
Updated 26 January 2022

Yemen army liberates land, hits Houthi targets

Yemen army liberates land, hits Houthi targets
  • On Tuesday the coalition launched a series of attacks against Houthi targets overnight, destroying a communications system and weapons depot in Marib

DUBAI: Government forces in Yemen liberated a large swathe of land in the Taiz governorate, after heavy clashes with the Iran-backed Houthis as coalition forces struck more militia sites across the country.

Backed by air cover from the coalition, government troops pushed deeper into Houthi-controlled territy and liberated Azla and Khouloud.

Meanwhile, battles continue raging south of the city of Marib between the government-backed forces and the Houthi militia.

Dozens of Houthis were killed in heavy fighting with government troops west and south of Marib amid intensifying coalition airstrikes, according to state-owned news agency SABA.

On Tuesday the coalition launched a series of attacks against Houthi targets overnight, destroying a communications system and weapons depot in Marib.


Qatar emir to meet with Biden in Washington Jan 31: White House

Qatar emir to meet with Biden in Washington Jan 31: White House
Updated 26 January 2022

Qatar emir to meet with Biden in Washington Jan 31: White House

Qatar emir to meet with Biden in Washington Jan 31: White House
  • The two sides will discuss ‘ensuring the stability of global energy supplies’

WASHINGTON: US President Joe Biden will receive Qatar’s emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad at the White House on Jan. 31, his spokeswoman said Tuesday.
Biden and the Gulf state leader will discuss security in the Middle East and “ensuring the stability of global energy supplies,” Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement.
The meeting comes as Washington and its European allies are seeking to shore up energy contingency plans should Russia squeeze supplies due to tensions with the West over Ukraine.
The US and its EU allies accuse Russia of seeking to upend European stability by threatening invasion of neighboring Ukraine, a former Soviet republic striving to join NATO and other Western institutions.
The European Union sources about 40 percent of its supply from Russia, and Washington and its European allies have been scouring global markets for alternative energy sources.
Qatar, a close US ally, has huge gas reserves and is the world’s biggest exporter of liquefied natural gas.
Psaki said Biden will also thank the emir for Qatar’s support to the United States in safely transporting US citizens, permanent residents and Afghan partners out of Afghanistan in the wake of the US withdrawal last year.
Qatar has played a significant role both in diplomacy and evacuations at the end of nearly 20 years of war in Afghanistan.


UN Security Council condemns Iraq terror attack, urges all nations to help seek justice

UN Security Council condemns Iraq terror attack, urges all nations to help seek justice
Updated 25 January 2022

UN Security Council condemns Iraq terror attack, urges all nations to help seek justice

UN Security Council condemns Iraq terror attack, urges all nations to help seek justice
  • At least 11 Iraqi soldiers were shot dead in their sleep on Friday by suspected Daesh gunmen

NEW YORK: The UN Security Council has unanimously condemned “in the strongest terms” a recent terrorist attack in Iraq’s Diyala Province, and called for all “perpetrators, organizers, financiers and sponsors of these reprehensible acts of terrorism” to be brought to justice.
At dawn on Friday, Jan. 21, at least 11 Iraqi soldiers were shot dead in their sleep during an attack on their barracks by suspected Daesh gunmen, according to reports citing Iraqi security officials. It happened in the Al-Azim district, a mountainous area more than 70 miles north of the capital, Baghdad.
The Security Council urged all states to actively cooperate with the Iraqi Government in seeking to hold the perpetrators to account, in line with their obligations under international law and the council’s resolutions. It reiterated that terrorism is one of the most serious threats to international peace and security.
In a joint statement, council members reaffirmed that “any acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable, regardless of their motivation, wherever, whenever and by whomsoever committed.”
They highlighted the need for all states “to combat by all means, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and other obligations under international law, including international human rights law, international refugee law and international humanitarian law, threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts.”
Council members also shared “their deepest sympathy and condolences to the families of the victims and to the government of Iraq, and they wished a speedy and full recovery to those who were injured.”


Refusal of nations to repatriate children from Syria ‘beggars belief,’ says UN rights expert

Refusal of nations to repatriate children from Syria ‘beggars belief,’ says UN rights expert
Updated 25 January 2022

Refusal of nations to repatriate children from Syria ‘beggars belief,’ says UN rights expert

Refusal of nations to repatriate children from Syria ‘beggars belief,’ says UN rights expert
  • More than 700 child citizens of 57 countries, including France, Germany, the UK and the US, are detained at Al-Ghuwayran prison, which holds Daesh militants and their families
  • Fighting continues at the prison, where almost 300 detainees have been killed since a deadly jailbreak attempt by hundreds of Daesh insurgents began last week

NEW YORK: A UN human rights expert on Tuesday voiced serious concern for the well-being of more than 700 children incarcerated at Al-Ghuwayran prison, in Al-Hasakeh in northeast Syria, and called on all countries to repatriate their young citizens held in the country.
The prison was the scene of a deadly attempted jailbreak by hundreds of Daesh insurgents last week.
“Boys as young as 12 are living in fear for their lives amid the chaos and carnage in the jail,” said Fionnuala Ni Aolain, the UN’s special rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights while countering terrorism.
“They are tragically being neglected by their own countries through no fault of their own except they were born to individuals allegedly linked or associated with designated terrorist groups.
“The treatment of hundreds of boys who have been detained in grotesque prison conditions is an affront to the dignity of the child and the right of every child to be treated with dignity.”
Almost 300 detainees have been killed during days of fighting at Al-Ghuwayran, which began last Thursday with the detonation of two car bombs. Clashes are continuing at the prison, which holds more than 5,000 alleged Daesh militants from almost 60 countries. The insurgents had seized control of the children’s section of the facility.
Fighters from the opposition Syrian Democratic Forces are said to be closing in on the final section of prison still held by Daesh attackers, as the situation becomes increasingly worrying for inmates.
Humanitarian groups have renewed calls for all governments to repatriate their citizens from Syria.
“The abject refusal of states to repatriate their children is a contributory factor in the security and human rights morass that has ignited in Al-Hasakeh in recent days,” said Ni Aolain, who last year sent official letters to 57 governments of countries believed to have citizens in Syrian camps. They include France, Germany, the UK, Finland and the US.
The failure of governments to repatriate detained children, who are victims of terrorism and in need of protection under international law, “beggars belief,” Ni Aolain said.
“Many of these boys, forcibly separated from their mothers and family members in recent years, have been denied their most fundamental human rights their entire lives,” she added.
“They have been held arbitrarily and never participated in any legal process that would justify depriving them of their liberty, and in conditions that constitute torture, cruel and degrading treatment under international law.
“Treating boys as a distinct class, refusing to recognize in practice their rights as children, is a form of gender discrimination that has had horrific consequences for these children now caught up in the violent confrontation at Al-Hasakeh prison.”
Ni Aolain called on all states and other entities active in northeastern Syria to ensure that civilians are protected, and for those involved in regaining control of the prison to protect the children held there and prevent further harm coming to them.
Special rapporteurs are independent experts who serve in individual capacities, and on a voluntary basis, on the UN’s Human Rights Council. They are not members of UN staff and are not paid for their work.