Outrage over the recent comments of a Houthi minister advocating the recruitment of children for the war in Yemen continued, with a minister from the legitimate government comparing the rebels to terrorists.
Human rights minister in the legitimate cabinet Dr. Mohammed Askar told Asharq Al-Awsat: “I do not know what the difference is between organizations such as al-Qaeda and ISIS and between Houthi militias.”
“The United Nation must label these militants as terrorists,” he added.
Last week, Houthi minister Hassan Zeid said that children must abandon their studies and join the battles raging in their countries. He went to so far as to say that the children will be able to sway the war in the militants’ favor.
This drew condemnation from UNICEF, whose regional media officer Juliette Touma expressed her deep concern over child recruitment.
She told Asharq Al-Awsat that children belong in the classroom, not the battlefront.
Commenting further on Zeid’s statement, Askar said: “This is a crime of crimes. Most violations stem from such criminal demands.”
He added that Zeid’s call will cost Yemen its future.
“We are in constant contact with prisoners and their loved ones, as well as various civil society institutions, to urge them to stand against such calls,” he continued.
Yemeni Information Minister Moammar al-Eryani said: “These statements confirm that the Houthi insurgents are still recruiting children and exploiting them in their battles against Yemenis.”
They have completely disregarded international laws and norms that bar the abuse of children, he continued.
He therefore called on the UN and international organizations to firmly intervene to pressure the Houthis in a manner that ensures that children are protected against the war.