Saudi coalition attacks killed children in Yemen — UN chief

Henrietta Strickland
August 18, 2017

Saudi Arabia denied threatening Ban.

Children are bearing the brunt of the two-year war in Yemen and the new UN Secretary-General has an opportunity to signal to all parties to conflict that the global community will not tolerate grave violations against children.

A Saudi-led coalition, composing a number of Arab states, intervened to back Yemen's pro-legitimacy forces to regain control over the war-torn country and counter the foreign agenda militias are believed to promote.

Former Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon included the coalition in his 2016 report based on incidents occurring in 2015 but removed it several days after publication, pending review, following pressure by Saudi Arabia, including threats to pull funding from United Nations agencies.

Yemen was hit more more airstrikes in the first half of this year than in the whole of 2016, increasing the number of civilian deaths and forcing more people to flee their homes, global humanitarian agencies reported.

The draft report said the Houthi rebels and affiliated forces were responsible for almost a third of the total 1,340 child casualties verified by the United Nations. It is produced at the request of the U.N. Security Council.

In this annual document on children and armed conflict, seen by AFP, are listed in the countries and organizations accused including the recruitment and use of children, killing, mutilating, removing or committing acts of sexual abuse against them.

The report, which officials say is likely to be published next month, is issued in Guterres' name but was drafted by his special envoy for children and armed conflict, Virginia Gamba.

United Nations deputy spokesman Farhan Haq told reporters on Thursday that Secretary-General Antonio Guterres hasn't seen the draft report that was leaked.

Saudi Arabia's United Nations mission said in a statement on Wednesday that there was "no justification whatsoever" for including the coalition's name on the blacklist. "It's still a work in progress", Haq said.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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