The Yemeni Coalition of Independent Women (CIY) revealed that Houthi militias have continue to brainwash children in order to recruit them to their fighting ranks.
CIY’s revelations came as a reminder of the thousands of violations carried out by the Iran-allied group against the children of Yemen.
During a virtual session, Dr. Wissam Basandouh, a political activist, pointed out that the number of indoctrinated child soldiers fighting for Houthis has reached over 30,000, all of whom are aged under 15.
In his opening remarks, Basandouh said that Houthis persuade poverty-stricken parents with money and then process the children through seminars that indoctrinate them into the Houthi sectarian agenda and ideology. After being brainwashed, child soldiers are sent to fight on the frontlines instead of going to school.
German counterterrorism expert, Dr. Yan St. Pierre drew parallels between Houthis and terrorist groups in how they recruit children during times of war, noting that the militias have recently exploited the coronavirus pandemic to close schools and recruit more minors.
US-based lawyer in the field of human rights and national security, Irina Toshkerman stressed the need for international organizations to play a greater role in fighting the child soldier phenomenon in Yemen and to bring the violations committed by Houthis to international courts.
Yemeni human rights activist, Dr. Arwa Al-Khattabi stressed the importance of the United Nations and specialized organizations to exert pressure on the militias to stop the recruitment of children.
Khattabi warned that if child recruitment continues, the international community will wake up to a major catastrophe, which is the establishment of a terrorist ideological army that is no different from ISIS and al-Qaeda.
In recent months the Houthis have mobilized their leaders in local communities under Houthi control to recruit more child soldiers, human rights sources confirmed.