A new draft report by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has warned that the Saudi-led coalition committed “grave violations” of human rights against Yemeni children in 2016, killing 502 and injuring 838 others during their brutal military campaign there.
“The killing and maiming of children remained the most prevalent violation” of children’s rights in Yemen, the 41-page confidential draft report obtained by Foreign Policy said.
“In the reporting period, attacks carried out by air were the cause of over half of all child casualties, with at least 349 children killed and 333 children injured,” the draft report said.
According to Foreign Policy, the chief author of the new UN draft report, Virginia Gamba, intends to recommend the Saudi-led coalition be added to a list of countries and entities that kill and maim children. Guterres, who will make the final report public in late August, will make the final decision about the issue.
Saudi officials, under US support, are privately lobbying the UN to hold high-level meetings before publishing the report, calling on the world body not to list the Saudi-led coalition in the report, Foreign Policy said.
The Saudi mission to the UN refused to respond to a request for comment.
In 2016, Saudi Arabia was included on the list which said that the Riyadh-led coalition was responsible for over half of the 1,953 child casualties in the Yemen war.
In response, Saudi Arabia threatened to stage a walk-out by Arab countries from the UN and cut hundreds of millions in aid to the international organization if the coalition was not omitted from the rogues list.
The then UN chief, Ban Ki-moon, agreed to temporarily delist the coalition, citing concerns that the loss of donations by Persian Gulf kingdoms could harm the UN’s anti-poverty programs.
The Saudi-led war is aimed at reinstating the former president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, a staunch ally of Riyadh, and undermining the country’s Houthi Ansarullah movement.
The Houthi movement has been running state affairs since 2014, when Hadi resigned and fled to Riyadh before returning to Aden later. The movement has also been defending the country against the Saudi-led offensive.
The protracted war, which has also been accompanied by a naval blockade, has already killed over 12,000 Yemenis, according to the latest figures released by a local monitoring group.
More than two years in the Saudi war, Yemen is now dealing with “the largest humanitarian crisis in the world.”
On Monday, the World Health Organization (WHO) said in a report that over half a million Yemenis have been affected by cholera since the epidemic broke out in late April, as the waterborne disease has killed nearly 2,000 others in the impoverished nation during the past four months.