Save the Children is extremely concerned by the findings of the Report of the Group of Eminent Experts on Yemen released today, in addition to their official report for the Human Rights Council which was released a few weeks ago in Geneva.
Grave violations against children range from killing and maiming, recruitment and use of children as young as seven, abduction, sexual abuse, the denial of access to humanitarian aid and attacks on schools and hospitals. The report shows that over the past year, there was a high rate of child casualties in several instances of unlawful attacks against civilians, including in airstrikes the GEE was able to investigate. Further data from the CIMP highlighted by the report shows that children make up almost one in three of the civilians killed or maimed in the armed violence in the first half of 2020. With the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the fate of Yemeni children is growing even bleaker.
“The evidence presented by the Group of Eminent Experts is clear. Children and their families are not only being killed by bombs and bullets, but countless are also dying silently because they are denied food, access to clean and safe water, and medicines”, said Xavier Joubert, Country Director for Save the Children in Yemen.
“These horrific violations show how vulnerable children are during armed conflict. One in three of all casualties is a child – these are horrifying numbers. It must stop and perpetrators should be held accountable. We must break the cycle of impunity – for too long people who have been targeting children in this terrible conflict have gotten away with it. In particular, we share the concern raised by the Group on the de-listing of parties to conflict from the UN Secretary’s annual ‘list of shame’ whilst this report shows that children continued to be killed or maimed by airstrikes.”, Xavier added.
The recommendations provided by the Group of Eminent Experts on Yemen, including the call to refer the situation in Yemen to the International Criminal Court, serve as a stark reminder that the international community can and must do more to bring justice for victims and survivors in Yemen, the charity added.
Save the Children is calling on the Human Rights Council to renew and strengthen the mandate of the Group of Eminent Experts on Yemen, to boost its investigative capacity and to ensure that it is resourced to focus on crimes and violations affecting children. Children should also be provided support with psychosocial support, and access to justice, reparations, and reintegration.