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New UN group report on Yemen underscores ‘grave violations against children’

Children in Yemen have suffered shocking levels of violence and abuse [Getty]

Date of publication: 30 September, 2020

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Children in Yemen are in "grave danger" according to the findings of a new report by a UN group, and charities are voicing serious concerns about the war-torn country.


Rights groups are "extremely concerned" by the findings of the Report of the UN Group of Eminent Experts on Yemen released today, after it found grave violations committed against children including abduction and sexual abuse.

The report found that over the past year children as young as seven were killed and maimed, and suffered "abduction, sexual abuse, the denial of access to humanitarian aid and attacks on schools and hospitals".

Children under the age of 15 were also found to have been recruited to fight in the brutal conflict.

Over the past year, the report found, there was a high rate of child casualties, along with unlawful attacks against civilians.

One of the most shocking findings of the report was that almost one in three of the civilians killed or maimed in the armed violence in the first half of 2020 were children.

"The evidence presented by the Group of Eminent Experts is clear. Children and their families are not only being killed by bombs and bullets, but countless are also dying silently because they are denied food, access to clean and safe water, and medicines," said Xavier Joubert, Country Director for Save the Children in Yemen.

"These horrific violations show how vulnerable children are during armed conflict. One in three of all casualties is a child – these are horrifying numbers. It must stop and perpetrators should be held accountable. We must break the cycle of impunity – for too long people who have been targeting children in this terrible conflict have gotten away with it."

"In particular, we share the concern raised by the Group on the de-listing of parties to conflict from the UN Secretary’s annual ‘list of shame’ whilst this report shows that children continued to be killed or maimed by airstrikes," Xavier added.

Millions of Yemenis are internally displaced and many are currently facing danger due to the Houthi offensive in Marib.

Yemen's internationally recognized government has called for UN action to stop the Houthi offensive. It says that approximately three million Yemenis are at risk from fighting there.

"Yemen remains a tortured land, with its people ravaged in ways that should shock the conscience of humanity," said Kamel Jendoubi, the Chairman of the Group of Eminent Experts.

"The international community has a responsibility to put an end to this pandemic of impunity, and should not turn a blind eye to the gross violations that have been committed in Yemen," he added.

"After years of documenting the terrible toll of this war, no one can say ‘we did not know what was happening in Yemen’. Accountability is key to ensure that justice is served to the people of Yemen and to humanity."

Yemen has been left in ruins by six years of war. Yemen's internationally recognised government has been battling the Houthis since 2014, when the latter seized most of the north of the country and the capital, Sana'a.

A Saudi-led military coalition intervened on the side of the government the following year.

More than 100,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed and millions more displaced. The United Nations has called Yemen's conflict the world's worst humanitarian disaster.



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