Grind­ing war in Ye­men kills or wounds 4,000 chil­dren

Crit­ics want coali­tion on UN child rights black­list

The Hamilton Spectator - - COMMENT - JESSE CHASE-LUBITZ AND BETHANY ALLEN-EBRAHIMIAN Jesse Chase-Lubitz is an Amer­i­can So­ci­ety of Mag­a­zine Ed­i­tors in­tern at For­eign Pol­icy. She is cur­rently study­ing his­tory and evo­lu­tion­ary bi­ol­ogy of the hu­man species at Columbia. Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian

More than 90 civil­ians, in­clud­ing 25 chil­dren, died in a March 2016 Saudi airstrike on a mar­ket in Ye­men. Months later, 10 more chil­dren per­ished in an­other strike on a school in Saada. The next day, five chil­dren were killed when a bomb smashed into a hos­pi­tal in Ha­j­jah.

Th­ese are just three of the 23 “grave vi­o­la­tions” that have been com­mit­ted against chil­dren in the Saudi-led in­ter­ven­tion in Ye­men, ac­cord­ing to a new re­port by Save the Chil­dren and Watch­list. Re­leased on Thurs­day, the re­port puts the to­tal num­ber of chil­dren killed or wounded by all sides in the con­flict at about 4,000.

The grind­ing civil war in Ye­men had al­ready claimed civil­ian vic­tims by the time the Saudis in­ter­vened with sev­eral other re­gional gov­ern­ments in March 2015, to back Ye­meni Pres­i­dent Ab­drab­buh Man­sour Hadi against Ira­ni­an­backed Houthi rebels.

The Saudi-led in­ter­ven­tion has added a new di­men­sion to the con­flict, turn­ing it into a proxy war be­tween re­gional ri­vals, Saudi Ara­bia and Iran. Since the in­ter­ven­tion be­gan in March 2015, 7,600 peo­ple have been killed and 42,000 in­jured in the bomb­ings. The U.S. has sup­plied Saudi Ara­bia with many of the lethal mu­ni­tions dropped by Saudi and Emi­rati jets, in 2015 ap­prov­ing more than $20 bil­lion in mil­i­tary sales, Hu­man Rights Watch re­ported.

In ad­di­tion to the mas­sive ca­su­al­ties, the war has led to an out­break of cholera. More than 1,614 peo­ple have died of it, with about 96,000 cases since 2014. Chil­dren are es­pe­cially sus­cep­ti­ble.

Last year, the UN Of­fice of the Spe­cial Rep­re­sen­ta­tive for Chil­dren and Armed Con­flict ini­tially in­cluded the Saudi-led coali­tion on its an­nual child rights black­list, which lists coun­tries that have com­mit­ted crimes or vi­o­la­tions against chil­dren, cit­ing the deaths of 510 chil­dren. But Ban Ki-moon, then UN Sec­re­tary­Gen­eral, re­moved the coali­tion from the list af­ter Saudi Ara­bia com­plained — a move that earned him fierce crit­i­cism from hu­man rights groups.

This is not the first time hu­man rights ad­vo­cates have pushed for the coali­tion’s in­clu­sion on the black­list, which comes in re­sponse to doc­u­mented cases of airstrikes on funer­als and mar­kets.

Hu­man­i­tar­ian aid such as food and med­i­cal sup­plies are fun­nelled mostly through a sin­gle port, Hodeida, which the Saudi coali­tion has threat­ened to take by force. The en­tire con­flict has forced mil­lions from their homes on a vast scale, with an es­ti­mated 3.27 mil­lion peo­ple dis­placed by 2016, ac­cord­ing to a re­port pub­lished by Amnesty In­ter­na­tional.

This year’s UN child rights black­list is ex­pected to be re­leased in Au­gust. The re­port by Save the Chil­dren and Watch­list urges the United Na­tions to put the Saudi-led coali­tion back on the list, and add the Is­lamic State, al-Shabaab, and Boko Haram.

Apart from Riyadh, the Saudi-led coali­tion is now com­prised of Bahrain, Kuwait, the United Arab Emi­rates, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Su­dan. Qatar was ex­pelled from the group last month amid a feud with other Gulf pow­ers.

The en­tire con­flict has forced mil­lions from their homes on a vast scale, with an es­ti­mated 3.27 mil­lion peo­ple dis­placed by 2016.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.