In an annual UN report on the involvement of children in armed conflicts, the Yemeni government and the country’s armed forces have been delisted from a list of children’s rights violators in war-torn countries, after making a pledge to exert more efforts to protect children from war.
“In Yemen, the government forces, including the Yemen Armed Forces, have been delisted for the violation of recruitment and use of children owing to progress in the implementation of their action plan, and to the significant decrease in the number of cases of this violation,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Monday.
“The delisting is conditional upon the finalization of all pending action plan activities and the continued decrease in the recruitment and use of children by government forces, including the Yemen Armed Forces.”
The internationally recognized government of Yemen on Tuesday praised the UN for removing the Yemeni army from a list of children’s rights violators in war-torn countries, pledging to exert more efforts to protect children, it said in a statement.
“The Yemeni government affirmed its full keenness to protect children and preserve the rights of children in Yemen, and to make efforts and measures to end the recruitment of children in armed conflicts,” the government said, according to the official news agency SABA.
The country’s leaders also ordered the end of child enlistment practices in the war and launched nationwide campaigns to raise awareness of children’s rights, the statement added.
At the same time, the report renewed the blacklisting of the Iran-backed Houthis for committing grave violations against children, including killing, wounding, recruitment and sexual assault.
Last year’s report confirmed 2,748 violations against 800 children in Yemen, compared to 209 violations against 164 children in previous years.
The Houthis topped the list of violators in Yemen after the movement’s increased involvement in recruiting children, turning schools into military sites, attacking civilian facilities such as schools and hospitals, sexually assaulting children and blocking the distribution of life-saving humanitarian assistance to families.
The Houthis were involved in recruiting 131 children, compared to 28 cases of recruitment by Yemen’s army.
Five cases of sexual violence against children were committed by the Houthis, compared to two by the Yemeni army and one by the Security Belt Forces.
The Houthis also attacked 15 schools and hospitals, and used 46 schools and hospitals for military purposes.
“I urge the Houthis and all parties to abide by their obligations under international humanitarian law and international human rights law, and to allow and facilitate safe, timely and unimpeded humanitarian access to children across the country,” the UN chief said.
“I urge all parties to step up the clearance of mines and explosive remnants of war, as well as mine risk education,” he added.
“The Houthis have been listed for the recruitment, use, killing and maiming of children, and for attacks on schools and hospitals, following engagement with the UN and the signature of an action plan on grave violations.” (Source: Arab News)