The Yemen Peace Project is proud to endorse a letter to UN Secretary-General António Guterres requesting greater scrutiny on the Saudi Arabia-led coalition’s violations of the rights of children in armed conflict. The YPP was one of 24 organizations to ask that Secretary-General Guterres recognise the insufficiency of coalition measures to protect children, and to place the coalition within Section A of Annex 1 of the forthcoming 2018 Annual Report of the Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict. This move would explicitly identify the coalition as a party that has not taken measures to protect children.
The war in Yemen has taken its toll on the civilian population, in particular children, with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) attributing 61% of civilian casualties since March 2015 to Saudi-led coalition airstrikes. Despite Saudi Arabia’s “Child Protection Unit,” and efforts by the coalition’s Joint Incidents Assessment Team (JIAT) to investigate and mitigate these incidents, the measures taken have largely been insufficient and ineffective. In accurately addressing violations in a conflict that drives the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, we expect and ask for more expansive measures to be taken by the Saudi-led coalition to protect children in Yemen.
Until then, we join the signatories of this letter in asking the United Nations Secretary-General to recognise the insufficiency of the coalition’s measures to protect children in conflict, and to move the coalition from Section B of Annex 1, “Listed parties that have put in place measures during the reporting period aimed at improving the protection of children,” to Section A, a move that will more accurately reflect coalition activity in Yemen and bring needed scrutiny to the coalition’s violations against children in the conflict.