UN must list Saudi Arabia-led coalition for violating child rights in Yemen

Sunday 23 April 2017

UN must list Saudi Arabia-led coalition for violating child rights in Yemen - report




·         New report calls for UN to add Saudi Arabia-led coalition to list of perpetrators of grave violations against children

·         At least 160 attacks on medical facilities and personnel by all warring parties over past two years, including deadly airstrike on children’s hospital


·         The children torn apart by airstrikes in Yemen: *Raw & social video, stills & testimony available here*


April 20, 2017


A military coalition led by Saudi Arabia in Yemen must be named in the UN’s annual list of perpetrators of child rights violations for carrying out repeated attacks on medical facilities and personnel, a new report says today.


The report, by Save the Children and Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict, documents a series of deadly attacks on hospitals and medics over the past two years – and calls on UN Secretary General António Guterres to add the Saudi Arabia-led coalition to his list of those responsible for grave violations of children’s rights in conflict.


In 2016 then-UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon briefly listed the coalition for killing children and attacking schools and hospitals in Yemen, only to later remove it after pressure from Saudi Arabia. This year’s UN report on Children and Armed Conflict is due to be published in the coming months.


Appearing on the list is an international embarrassment for states and non-state actors, which can usually only be removed after meeting UN-verified benchmarks for ending and preventing violations.


All warring parties in Yemen have been implicated in at least 160 attacks on medical facilities and personnel over the past two years, including destroying and damaging hospitals.


In one documented case, two infants in incubators reportedly died from a lack of oxygen after a paediatric hospital in Sana’a was damaged in an airstrike by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition.


Repeated violations by the coalition have been verified in multiple UN reports and by credible human rights organisations.


The conflict has also forced more than half of Yemen’s medical facilities out of action. Even those that remain now face severe shortages of medicine and equipment in the face of a de facto maritime blockade imposed by the coalition on Yemen’s main port of Hodeidah, the country’s lifeline for food and essential supplies. Warring parties have detained aid workers and hampered the delivery of food and medicine by land.


Christine Monaghan, Research Officer at Watchlist, said:


“The UN Secretary-General cannot bow to pressure from Saudi Arabia, but must hold the Saudi Arabia-led coalition responsible for repeated attacks on medical facilities and staff. They are leading to the closure of hospitals, compromising children’s access to treatment, and increasing rates of injury and disease.”


Grant Pritchard, Interim Country Director for Save the Children in Yemen, said:


“For two years bombs have been landing on hospitals, homes, and schools. On the ground our teams are helping children who have been physically and mentally scarred, and are supporting hospitals that are now forced to hold damaged incubators together with sticking tape. All parties have been responsible for the unnecessary deaths of children in Yemen, and the Saudi Arabia-led coalition is among them. Those responsible must be held to account.”