Geneva – The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor and Geo Expertise delivered a speech at the United Nations Human Rights Council 46th session (held virtually due to the limitations related to the COVID-19 pandemic), responding to the wide-spread child recruitment in Yemen by the warring parties. Delivered by Euro-Med Monitor researcher Taim Alyousef, the speech is as follows:
“For the fifth year in a row, the warring parties in Yemen have been widely recruiting children into their ranks, forcing them into hostilities without any regard for their childhood or the international agreements that prohibit child recruitment no matter what the circumstances.”
Last month, Euro-Med Monitor and SAM for Rights and Liberties released a report documenting the Houthis’ recruitment of more than 10,000 children aged between 10-17 years in the areas of their control.”
“The Houthis use complex strategies to recruit children, most dangerously ideological mobilization where children’s simple minds are fed with violent and extremist ideas.”
“During recruitment periods, children are subjected to many violations, including food deprivation, imprisonment, physical and sexual assault, and death threats.”
“Likewise, the Saudi-led Arab coalition also involves child recruitment. Several reports documented the kingdom's recruitment of thousands of children from Sudan and transporting them to Yemen to fight on the front lines.”
Many of these children recruited by both sides were killed in the fighting while many others injured or went missing.
“We, Euro-Med Monitor and Geo-Expertise, believe that child recruitment in Yemen should be at the top of the United Nations' priorities. The UN must compel the two sides to immediately stop this dangerous practice, which may amount to a war crime under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.”
“We affirm the need to impose appropriate penalties, in accordance with international law, on entities and individuals involved in this heinous crime that either ends the lives of children or distorts their future.”
Since 2014, the parties to the conflict in Yemen have been involved in the widespread recruitment of children. Both have used several strategies, such as; intimidation, misinformation and giving money to the children or their families.
However, despite the pledges made by the warring parties to stop this dangerous phenomenon, they continue to implement it on a large scale. As a result, while hundreds of Yemeni children have lost their lives, and thousands of others were injured or went missing; those who survive need long-term rehabilitation programs to help them overcome the psychological effects of the horrors they went through.