Saudi Arabia has stressed its determination to take all necessary measures to protect children in Yemen’s armed conflict, referring to the child protection unit established within the Joint Forces Command of the Arab Coalition in line with an agreement with the United Nations.
Its stance was announced on Friday by Saudi Arabia’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Abdullah Al-Maalami, during a day-long open debate on children and armed conflict at the Security Council.
He said one example of the deliberate killing and maiming of children is the abuses committed by Israel in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
Its forces arbitrarily detain and torture children, recruit and train them in barbarous camps and use them as human shields.
Another example is Iran, which supports sectarian militias in Syria, including Hezbollah that indoctrinates children in military marches and makes them chant slogans and carry weapons, as well as the Houthi militias in Yemen, said the diplomat.
Commending the efforts by the Arab Coalition in Yemen to reduce the number of child casualties in that country’s armed conflict, he said data mentioned in Secretary General Antonio Guterres’ report attributed to the Coalition forces are overstated and were all taken from Houthi-controlled areas.
Pointing out that United Nations monitors were not able to verify some of those figures, he stated: “In the absence of that information, all these figures are just guesswork.”
In contrast, Coalition members have closely studied child casualty figures and taken steps to prosecute the perpetrators, in full cooperation with the UN and Yemeni authorities, Al-Maalami added.