Association for Defending Victims of Terrorism – The Yemen conflict killed or maimed 2,600 children as hostilities intensified in 2019 and 2020; that’s according to a new report of the UN Secretary-General on Children and Armed conflict in the country.
the report detailed how these youngsters were victims of the indiscriminate use of mortar and artillery shelling, ground fighting, anti-personnel landmines and other explosive remnants of war.
In total, more than 3,500 children suffered one or more grave violations; chief among these was the denial of humanitarian access, killing and maiming, and the recruitment and use of children.
Issuing the findings, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Virginia Gamba, said that “the atrocities and immense suffering” would likely leave a generation of Yemeni children “scarred for life”.
“It is urgent for all parties to actively work towards a political solution of the conflict if they hope to save children from further harm”, she said. “Boys and girls are the future of Yemen. Parties to conflict must protect them from use and abuse and start treating children as the precious asset they are”,
The Special Representative said that children should be considered primarily as victims, “and depriving them of their liberty should only be used as a last resort and for the shortest period, in accordance with international juvenile justice standards”, the report added.
Ms. Gamba called on the international community to continue to support the reintegration of released children, including through the Global Coalition for Reintegration of Child Soldiers.
“Considering the rights and needs of children into the discussions will also be critical for sustainable peace and for the future of the country,” said Ms. Gamba, adding that the Practical Guidance for Mediators to Protect Children in Situations of Armed Conflict issued by her office, is an important and useful tool in the context of Yemen.
“The terrible toll that the war in Yemen takes on children must end. Peace is the only solution and child survivors need our support to heal and rebuild their lives,” she stressed.