UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – A confidential draft United Nations blacklist seen by Reuters on Tuesday names a Saudi Arabia-led military coalition for killing and maiming children in Yemen, though it notes that the alliance has put in place measures to improve child protection.
In an effort to dampen controversy surrounding the annual children and armed conflict report, the draft blacklist – contained in an annex to the full report – is split into “listed parties that have put in place measures during the reporting period to improve the protection of children” and those which have not.
“In Yemen, the coalition’s actions objectively led to the listing for the killing and maiming of children, with 683 child casualties attributed to this party, and, as a result of being responsible for 38 verified incidents, for attacks on schools and hospitals during 2016,” according to a draft explanation of the blacklist seen by Reuters.
The draft U.N. annex blacklists the Houthis, Yemen government forces, pro-government militia and Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula for violations against children in 2016 as it did in last year’s report covering violations in 2015.
The Saudi U.N. ambassador, Abdallah Al-Mouallimi, declined to comment until the report is officially issued. In August, the Saudi U.N. mission said there was “no justification whatsoever” for including the coalition on the blacklist.
U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said the United Nations does not comment on leaked documents.
The coalition was briefly added to the blacklist last year and then removed by then-U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon pending review. At the time, Ban accused Saudi Arabia of exerting “unacceptable” undue pressure after sources told Reuters that Riyadh threatened to cut its U.N. funding. Saudi Arabia denied threatening Ban.