Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com & Michelle Nichols / Reuters – 2016-06-03 00:51:45
Saudi Coalition Blacklisted by UN for Killing Children in Yemen
Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com
(June 2, 2016) — The annual “name-and-shame” blacklist of children’s rights violators was released today by the United Nations, with a conspicuous addition to the usual suspects. The new list included the Saudi-led coalition currently engaging in a war in Yemen.
The Saudi forces launched the war in Yemen in March of last year, and have killed massive numbers of civilians in airstrikes. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said “grave violations against children increased dramatically” in Yemen because of the Saudi coalition’s involvement.
The UN report from last year already included the Shi’ite Houthis, along with the pro-Saudi Hadi government and al-Qaeda’s Yemen affiliate. All were present again, and are all “persistent perpetrators,” being listed for at least five consecutive years.
Other governments named directly in the list were Afghanistan, DR Congo, Somalia, Myanmar, South Sudan, Sudan, and Syria. A large number of other “warring parties” were named in the list across several continents as well.
The US was named only indirectly, with the report faulting the US attack on a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, but conspicuously only blaming it on “international forces.” The US has admitted to the attack, but denies it was a war crime. The US is also a party of the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, though once again not singled out in the report.
As usual, the report did not include Israel or Hamas. The inclusion of one or both of those factions is a subject of hot debate each year, though recently Ban has sought to simply keep them off the list and fault specific actions by each side.
UN Adds Saudi Coalition to Blacklist for Killing Children in Yemen
Michelle Nichols / Reuters
UNITED NATIONS (June 2, 2016) — United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon slammed the Saudi Arabia-led coalition fighting in Yemen for killing and maiming children by adding it to an annual blacklist of states and armed groups that violate children’s rights during conflict.
The coalition was responsible for 60 percent of child deaths and injuries last year, killing 510 and wounding 667, according to Ban’s report released on Thursday, which also said the coalition carried out half the attacks on schools and hospitals.
The Saudi-led coalition began a military campaign in Yemen in March last year with the aim of preventing Iran-allied Houthi rebels and forces loyal to Yemen’s ex-President Ali Abdullah Saleh from taking control of the country.
“Grave violations against children increased dramatically as a result of the escalating conflict,” Ban said in the report.
“In Yemen, owing to the very large number of violations attributed to the two parties, the Houthis/Ansar Allah and the Saudi Arabia-led coalition are listed for killing and maiming and attacks on schools and hospitals,” he said.
The Houthis, Yemen government forces and pro-government militia have been on the UN blacklist for at least five years and are considered “persistent perpetrators.” Also appearing again on the list is al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
The Saudi Arabia mission to the United Nations was not immediately available to comment on the report.
The UN report blacklists groups that “engage in the recruitment and use of children, sexual violence against children, the killing and maiming of children, attacks on schools and/or hospitals and attacks or threats of attacks against protected personnel, and the abduction of children.”
The report cited a deadly US air strike on a hospital run by medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres in Kunduz, Afghanistan, although it said the attack was carried out by “international forces” and did not blacklist the United States.
Along with warring parties in Yemen, the United Nations named armed groups in Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, Iraq, Mali, Myanmar, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Colombia, Nigeria and the Philippines.
Government forces in Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, Myanmar, South Sudan, Sudan, and Syria were named on the blacklist.
Ban urged the 193 UN member states to ensure engagement in hostilities and responses to threats to peace and security comply with international law.
“It is unacceptable that the failure to do so has resulted in numerous violations of children’s rights,” Ban said.
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