6 June 2016 – Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB) strongly condemns the United Nations politically motivated decision to remove the Saudi Arabia-led Arab coalition from its list of states and armed groups that violate children’s rights.
The General Secretary’s announcement came just 72 hours after the UN made the list public. The annual report by the U.N. special representative for children and armed conflict noted that aerial bombardments by the coalition were responsible for the majority of child casualties and injuries. In 2015, the Saudi-led Arab coalition’s war in Yemen against the Houthi militias resulted in six times more children killed and maimed compared to 2014. According to the UN report, the coalition is responsible for 60 percent of child deaths and injuries in Yemen.
“Ban Ki-Moon’s reprehensible choice to remove the Saudi-led coalition from the list places the UN’s credibility on the line,” said Husain Abdulla, Executive Director of ADHRB. “The UN’s pandering to Saudi diplomatic pressure directly affects families of the hundreds of children killed by the coalition.”
Yemen was already the poorest country in the region and relied heavily on humanitarian aid prior to the 2015 war. Because of the war and the Saudi-enforced blockade on Yemen, at least 80 percent of Yemenis are now in need of urgent humanitarian aid. More than 10 million Yemeni children are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance, with 320,000 of them facing life threatening malnutrition.
Previous UN reports have confirmed that the Saudi-led Arab coalition has been responsible for two-thirds of all civilian casualties in Yemen. Human Rights Watch documented the coalition’s repeated indiscriminate use of internationally banned cluster bombs in Yemen. Amnesty International has presented compelling evidence that indicates the Saudi-led Arab coalition has committed war crimes.
“The UN itself verified the Saudi-led Arab coalition’s role in violating children’s rights so Monday’s decision to backtrack illustrates a moral failure on the UN,” stated Husain Abdulla.
The international community must stop politicizing human rights, and the UN should reinstate the Saudi-led Arab coalition onto the list of violators of children’s rights.