Houthis agree to end recruitment of child soldiers, says UN


The Houthi rebels in Yemen have signed an action plan to end and prevent the recruitment and use of children in armed conflict, the United Nations announced on Monday.

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said the Houthis also agreed to end the killing and maiming of boys and girls, attacks on schools and hospitals and other grave violation.

Dujarric added that the Houthis have committed to identify and release children from their ranks within six months.

“As of today, the main parties to the conflict have all signed commitments to end and prevent grave violations against children,” he said.

Nearly 1,500 children recruited by the Iran-backed militia died in combat in 2020, and over 500 hundred more the following year, a UN report revealed in January. More than 10,000 children have been killed in the war that began in 2015.

UN experts have repeatedly said the Houthis were recruiting children, using summer camps and mosques to indoctrinate them and teach them how to handle weapons.

Virginia Gamba, UN special representative for children in armed conflict, signed the action plan as a witness from New York and welcomed the measure to protect children in Yemen.

She called on all parties to the conflict to “use the opportunity of the current truce to prioritize the rights of children and their needs.” She reiterated the UN’s willingness to support the Houthis in implementing the agreement.

The truce between the Houthis and the internationally recognized government came into effect on the first day of the holy month of Ramadan. It is meant to last two months, with a possibility for renewal.

The parties had agreed to halt ground, air and cross-border strikes, allow oil tankers to enter Hodeidah port, reopen Sanaa airport for commercial flights and lift the siege of Taiz. (Source: Arab News)