The UN secretary-general faces a critical decision over whether to blacklist Saudi Arabia for killing and maiming children in Yemen after an official report found it responsible for more than half of child deaths in the conflict. He called on the parties to conflicts around the world to do more to protect children, singling out the plight of Yemeni minors, where a Saudi-led Arab military coalition has stepped in on behalf of the government.
The Saudi-led air coalition was responsible for inflicting the largest number of child casualties, 683, with Houthi rebels killing or injuring 414. In a press release, saudi Arabia has countered that the Coalition to Restore the Legitimacy in Yemen "fully respected" its obligations in terms of global law and humanitarian law. And they have enlisted the support of the United States, which has urged the U.N. not to list the Saudi-led coalition, saying it's unfair to implicate all coalition members, like those who have not engaged in atrocities, according to two well-placed sources. It declined to comment on the findings in the draft report for 2016.
The chief author of the confidential report, Virginia Gamba, the United Nations chief's special representative for children abused in war time, informed top United Nations officials Monday, that she intends to recommend the Saudi-led coalition be added to a list a countries and entities that kill and maim children, according to a well-placed source.
UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O'Brien told the Security Council Friday that Yemen people's suffering has relentlessly intensified. If this Coalition has taken action by 2016 to limit the consequences of the conflict in their regard, "serious violations against children continued at a high level which is unacceptable", it is written in the document addressed to the security Council of the UN.
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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 includes a practical plan to hand over the port to a committee of respected Yemeni security and economic figures, working under United Nations oversight and guidance", he said.
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. "It's still a work in progress", Haq said.