A global network aimed at defending children during armed conflicts has called on UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to blacklist Saudi Arabia and Israel as grave violators of children’s rights.
The Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict made the call in its 2017 report released on Wednesday, in which it reminded that Saudi Arabia was removed from last year’s list by former Secretary General Ban Ki-moon after the Riyadh threatened to halt funding several UN programs.
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Saudi Arabia has been incessantly attacking Yemen since March 2015 in a bid to bring the former government back to power and undermine the Houthi Ansarullah movement.
“In 2015, the Saudi Arabia-led coalition forces carried out numerous incidents of killing and maiming of children and attacks against schools and hospitals that were documented in the secretary general’s 2016 annual report on children and armed conflict,” read the report.
Yemeni rescue workers search for victims amid the rubble of a destroyed building following Saudi airstrikes on the capital Sana’a on October 8, 2016.
It added that in order to remain off the 2017 list, Saudi Arabia was required to demonstrate a sustained commitment towards refraining from violations against children.
“It is clear the Saudi Arabia-led coalition has failed to do so,” stressed the report before presenting a lengthy list of the kingdom’s atrocities in 2016.
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The Saudi military campaign has claimed the lives of over 12,000 Yemeni civilians, according to the latest tally provided by Yemen’s Legal Center for Rights and Development, an independent monitoring group.
The report also lists a multitude of violations carried out by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank and the besieged Gaza Strip, noting that the Israeli troops were only kept off the list after lobbying by the US.
An Israeli trooper detains a Palestinian boy during a protest in the occupied West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, near Ramallah, August 28, 2015. (Photo by Reuters)
“In his August 30, 2016, report on the Israeli practices affecting human rights of the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territory, the Secretary General said an upsurge in violence started in mid-September 2015 and continued into 2016,” read the report, while noting that at least a total of 232 Palestinians, including 52 children, were killed during that period.