The Al-Saud-led coalition in its war on Yemen continues to violate everything on the ground from killing, imprisoning and shelling. Children and civilians have not been spared this cruel war.
The failure to include the Saudi Alliance in the United Nations ” list of shame” of child abuse has drawn widespread international criticism.
The United Nations has included the Saudi Alliance among other lists in the annex to countries that are working seriously to prevent child casualties during conflict, although figures on the ground indicate a rise in the number of violations by States against children in conflict areas.
The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Virginia Gamba, gave no convincing answers at a press conference held at United Nations Headquarters in New York on her recent report on the failure to include the Saudi alliance in the “list of shame”.
In response to questions from journalists in New York about the non-inclusion of the alliance on the list, which also included the Houthis, but also on the list of countries making serious reforms, although the coalition committed flagrant violations. “We have observed a decrease in specific violations that we have referred to in previous reports,” Gamba said. “We get information every three months, not just once a year, and see if there is any improvement.”
“The Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, has only included States and officials responsible for violations in conflict zones,” said Joe Baker, director of the Children’s Rights Division of Human Rights Watch.
“By simply refusing to hold all parties committing violations in areas of conflict against children responsible, it undermines efforts to protect children in conflict and ignores the evidence of the United Nations itself,” he said.
The UN session is expected to have a heated debate on the issue, with Gamba presenting its official report to the Security Council.
The report puts Afghanistan on the list of countries with the highest number of violations, killing 927 children and wounding 2135.
Syria recorded 1,854 deaths among children, of whom 1,106 were killed and 748 injured.
The report also noted that 2756 Palestinian children were injured and 59 were killed by Israeli occupation forces and settlers, the youngest of whom is 18 months old.
In Yemen, the report monitors the investigation of 1,689 Yemeni children between 576 and 1113 in 2019.
As for Libya, the report said 30 children were killed and 44 injured, without specifying the responsible party.
He stressed that it is not possible at the moment to verify and investigate independently what is happening because of the security situation in Libya.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a report to the UN Security Council that the Saudi-UAE alliance in Yemen killed or injured 729 children in 2018, accounting for about half of the total number of child victims.
The report does not impose procedures against blacklisted parties, but it exposes the parties to the conflict, hoping to push it to implement measures to protect children.
The report has long been debated. Diplomats say both Saudi Arabia and Israel have exerted pressure in recent years to try not to list them.