Saudi Ambassador to US Calls for Action to Combat Child Recruitment in Yemen

Saudi Ambassador to US Calls for Action to Combat Child Recruitment in Yemen

Friday, 4 January, 2019 - 08:45
A Yemeni boy loyal to the Houthi militias. (AFP)
Asharq Al-Awsat
Saudi Ambassador to the United States Prince Khalid bin Salman condemned on Thursday the Iran-backed Houthis’ recruitment of children in Yemen as a “heinous crime that we can no longer tolerate.”

Saudi Arabia “has proudly rehabilitated hundreds of Yemeni children. Kids often come in shocked by the horrors of war, where they find themselves between death, gunfire and bodily remains,” he said in a series of tweets.

Saudi-led Arab coalition forces “have often encountered child soldiers on the ground fighting for the Houthis,” he added.

The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center has started a number of initiatives to rehabilitate them, including bringing them back to school, offering psychological treatment and holding awareness sessions for parents.

“Houthis force recruitment from schools and playgrounds, threatening and terrorizing families who refuse, and proceed to use them as cannon fodder,” stressed Prince Khalid.

“We have repeatedly expressed the need for the international community to take a firm stand against this crime,” he continued.

“For too long, the international community and media have unfortunately ignored the Houthis’ daily violation of children’s rights. Saudi Arabia calls for a serious sustained global initiative to combat the recruitment of children in battles, especially in Yemen. It must end once and for all,” he demanded.

Moreover, the coalition has called out the Houthis’ theft of aid since their 2014 coup, said the ambassador.

Relying on information provided by the militias “has long misled the world on Yemen. Houthis must stop using starvation as a war tactic and allow the delivery of critical aid,” he urged.

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