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RESPONSE TO THE NEW CHILDREN AND ARMED CONFLICT REPORT

 

Save the Children welcomes the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ decision to add the Saudi Arabia-led Coalition in Yemen to the annual list of parties that commit grave violations against children in conflict. 

Friday, 6 October 2017 - 8:57am

The inclusion of the Coalition on the UN list means that all the parties to Yemen’s war will now be named for violations that include recruiting child soldiers, bombing schools and hospitals, and killing and maiming children.

In an advance copy of the final report, seen by Save the Children, the United Nations said it had verified 1,340 child casualties, with 502 children killed and 838 injured. 683 were attributed to the coalition, 414 to the Houthis and affiliated forces.

In the reporting period, airstrikes were the cause of over half of all child casualties, with at least 349 children killed and 334 injured.

Debra Jones, Director and United Nations Representative for Save the Children, said: 

“Every party fighting in Yemen has failed to respect international law, and continues to do so. Save the Children has seen no sign of effective measures to protect children from harm. Even as Yemen faces famine and disease, they continue to be bombed in their homes, schools and forced to fight on the front lines.

“This report identifies the darkest crimes against children in conflict. All parties in Yemen must sit up and take notice and take action, as must those countries that are supporting or arming them. The world must make sure the violations end.”

Save the Children, Global Citizen, and Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict sent a letter to the Secretary-General in August signed by more than 37,000 people, which asked him to protect Yemen’s children by naming and shaming all parties committing violations. 

The letter aimed to pre-empt a repetition of last year’s decision by the former UN Secretary General to remove the Saudi Arabia-led Coalition from the list despite clear, UN-verified evidence of a pattern of grave violations against children.

The Saudi Arabia-led Coalition has been added to a new ‘B’ list of parties who have committed grave violations but have “put in place measures to improve the protection of children in the reporting period.”

Save the Children asks for these measures to be publicly documented and carefully monitored.

This year, we have seen that all parties in Yemen have continued to kill and maim children, and bomb schools and hospitals with impunity amid a devastating cholera outbreak. 

In one week last August there were 58 civilian casualties, including children, which the UN Human Rights Office mostly attributed to airstrikes by the Saudi Arabia-led Coalition. This week saw unconfirmed reports of four children killed by an airstrike in the northern province of Sa’ada.

The UN Secretary-General’s annual list of parties to armed conflict that commit grave violations against children has been published since 2001, as an annex to the Children and Armed Conflict report.

To be removed from the list parties must prepare and implement concrete, time-bound action plans to end their violations, in close collaborations with UN observers.

For more information or to arrange interviews with spokespeople, please contactr.villar@savethechildren.org.uk or +442070126841