Yemen, UNICEF Set Up Joint Committee to End Child Recruitment

Yemen, UNICEF Set Up Joint Committee to End Child Recruitment

Wednesday, 7 November, 2018 - 14:15
A boy holds a large piece of exploded artillery shell, which landed in the village of Al Mahjar, a suburb of Sanaa, the capital of Yemen. Photo: UNICEF/Mohamed Hamoud
Jeddah- Asmaa al-Ghaberi
Yemen’s Minister of Human Rights Mohammed Askar inaugurated a joint technical committee with UNICEF on Tuesday to prevent the recruitment of children.

In its session on Monday, the cabinet approved the formation of the committee, which represents the Yemeni government and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).

During the inauguration, which was attended by Minister of Social Affairs and Labor Dr. Ebtihaj al-Kamal, Askar said the recruitment of children poses a threat to Yemen’s present and future.

He stressed that this phenomenon, if left unaddressed, will be a time bomb and will lead to high rates of violence in the society.

Askar also reviewed the efforts exerted by the Yemeni government with UNICEF to reactivate the work of the joint UN-governmental plan that was signed between the Yemeni government and the United Nations in 2014.

He urged members of the plan to transform the concepts being discussed into concrete action for the benefit of children and their reintegration into society.

Kamal, for her part, stressed the need to implement wide-scale social solutions for this phenomenon in terms of finding suitable projects and bringing recruits back to education in a child-sensitive manner.

"The recruitment of children is an accumulating problem within the Yemeni society, which is known for its complex tribal structure," said Riyad al-Dabbi, the official responsible for the Monitoring and Documentation Unit of the Yemeni Coalition for Monitoring Human Rights Violations.

He explained that many tribes consider the participation of children in the fighting a great pride for them and that no one can deviate from tribal customs and traditions or rebel against them."

In his statements for Asharq Al-Awsat, Dabbi said that Houthi militias took advantage of traditions and involved children in the fightings after organizing the so-called “cultural courses.”

The government's decision promised a step on the right path to end the recruitment process and the demobilization of children recruited into hostilities.

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