United Nations has revealed that Saudi Arabia-led coalition was responsible for more than half of 1,316 child killings and injuries in war-torn Yemen during 2017.
Qatar based Al-Jazeera network has claimed to see the UN’s annual “Children and Armed Conflict” report, which shines the spotlight on child victims around the world.
Saudi Arabia-led coalition launched a military campaign in 2015 in support of the virtually ousted internationally recognised Hadi government and crush Houthi Ansarullah Movement armed rebels after they controlled much of the country in 2014.
According to reports, most of the partner countries in the coalition have withdrawn their forces. Only Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are currently conducting attacks in Yemen. Severe war is continuing in different parts of the country, more recently in Hudaidah western port city situated on Read Sea coast.
The UN report on the impact of conflict on the children was compiled by the staff of Antonio Guterres, the Secretary-General and submitted to the Security Council on Monday night. It verified that out of the 552 children killed (398 boys, 154 girls), the majority – 370 – were attributed to the Saudi-led coalition, which was also blamed for 300 child injuries.
The UN report further said that Houthi rebels were responsible for the killings of 83 children and wounding 241children; the pro-government Popular Resistance group for 41 casualties; other international forces fighting for Yemen’s government for 19 casualties; al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) for 10 casualties; and the Yemeni Armed Forces, among other parties, for four casualties. More than half of the total 1,316 casualties were caused by air strikes.
The second leading cause was ground fighting, including shelling and shooting (136 killed, 334 injured), followed by explosive remnants of war and mines (27 killed, 119 injured).
Al Jazeera’s diplomatic correspondent James Bays, who is based in New York said that the report also condemns lots of different armed groups and some governments.
“What is most notable is that the Saudi-led coalition is listed as one of the parties that commit grave violations affecting children in situations of armed conflict,” Bays said.
Moreover, he said, “Fifteen children were killed by Israeli security forces in 2017 but Israel does not significantly get a listing as one of those parties that should be put in this blacklist.”
Dozens of Palestinians, including children and women, have been killed by Israeli forces during the “Right to Return” protests commenced in March this year. Palestinians hit Israeli forces with stones, explosive kites and balloons while Israeli forces hit the protesters with rubber bullets and live ammunition.