Yemen’s internationally recognized government has condemned the destruction of the lives of thousands of Yemeni children as Iran-backed Houthi militias continue to step up their recruitment and deployment of school-aged minors.
Information Minister Muammar Al-Eryani, for his part, slammed the international community's silence over genocide committed by the Houthi group against childhood in Yemen.
“The Houthi militia's brainwashing of thousands of children with extremist, terrorist ideas imported from Iran and recruiting and sending them to frontlines represent unprecedented crimes of genocide against childhood amid shameful and unjustified international silence,” said Eryani.
“Specialized organizations say the militia has forcibly recruited and taken from homes and schools thousands of children since its coup against the state and coerced them into joining its war,” he noted, adding that most of those children have ended up dead, captive, and maimed.
The minister warned of further child recruitment against the backdrop of the Houthis desperately needing fighters to fill their depleted ranks, especially those staging an offensive against the oil-rich governorate of Marib.
“Houthis have incurred blowing defeats and are nearly out of fighters after having lost thousands of them in suicide attacks,” he said.
Eryani called on the international community and child rights organizations to take responsible stances and place pressure on the militia to stop child recruitment.
In February, the EU Mission to Yemen expressed concerns after child recruitment increased sharply across the country in 2020.
Hundreds of children living in Houthi-run areas in the governorates of Sanaa, Ibb, Dhamar, Amran, and Hajjah, have been subjected to nonstop targeting and organized Houthi recruitment since late January, sources confirmed to Asharq Al-Awsat.
Houthis have recently charged their all-female militia, Zaynabiyat, with the recruitment of child soldiers in areas under their control.
Women fighters mainly attract minors to join Houthi ranks by reaching out to their mothers. They try to enlist children by either selling the militia’s Iran-inspired agenda to their mothers or by threatening to cut off humanitarian aid reaching them.