The Spokesperson for The Coalition to Restore Legitimacy in Yemen Colonel Turki al-Maliki asserted that the coalition command takes any allegations concerning the participation of under-aged fighters with coalition member states seriously, adding that it conducts deep-dive investigations into all allegations, in accordance with legal obligations under International Humanitarian Law and related conventions on the protection of children.
Col. Al-Maliki affirmed that the coalition prevents the participation of persons under the age of eighteen years in all coalition member states. He underscored the coalition's efforts to rehabilitate children recruited by the Iran-backed Houthi militia, adding that (120) Yemeni children participated in the coalition's Rehabilitation Program for Child Soldiers in Marib city, in cooperation with the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief).
Col. Al-Maliki highlighted the partnership agreement the coalition signed with the United Nations to promote the protection of children in areas of armed conflict in Yemen through the Child Protection Unit led by Coalition Joint Forces. He pointed to reports by international organizations, and human rights organizations that prove the Houthi militia has recruited more than (23,000) Yemeni children, calling it a war crime under International Humanitarian Law.
Col. Al-Maliki concluded his statement by reaffirming the coalition command's commitment to the implementation of International Humanitarian Law and its customary rules regarding membership in the armed forces of coalition member states, by following proper procedures, recording vital data on fighters, and continuously reviewing them to ensure compliance with legal and operational standards, and international humanitarian law and customary rules.
Col. Al-Maliki called on the international community to take a firm stand against the recruitment of child soldiers by the Houthi militia in armed conflict, calling it a grave violation of International Humanitarian Law and conventions on the protection of children.