Save the Children Statement on UN Secretary-General's Children and Armed Conflict Report

FAIRFIELD, Conn. (October 4, 2017) — Save the Children today welcomes unconfirmed reports in the media that the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is set to add the Saudi Arabia-led Coalition in Yemen to his annual list of parties that commit grave violations against children in conflict.

The latest draft shared by media, which is not the final version of the report, splits the list into two sections for the first time, A and B. Section B is for parties which have "put in place measures during the reporting period to improve the protection of children". The Saudi Arabia-led Coalition is in this section, alongside groups in Mali, Afghanistan and several other states.

But Save the Children has seen few signs of improvement on the ground in Yemen. All parties have continued to kill and maim children, and bomb schools and hospitals with impunity amid conditions close to famine and a devastating cholera outbreak. Just one week in August saw 58 civilian casualties, including children. Forty-two of the casualties were a result of attacks by the Saudi Arabia-led Coalition, according to the UN Human Rights Office.

The inclusion of the Coalition on the UN list means that all the parties to Yemen's war will now be named for violations that include recruiting child soldiers, bombing schools and hospitals, and killing and maiming children.

Save the Children, Global Citizen and other organizations sent a letter to the Secretary-General in August signed by more than 37,000 people, which asked him to protect Yemen's children by naming and shaming all parties committing violations.

The letter followed the former UN Secretary General's decision last year to remove the Saudi Arabia-led Coalition from the list despite clear, UN-verified evidence of a pattern of grave violations against children. The decision was reportedly due to threats from Saudi Arabia to withdraw funding from the UN.

Carolyn Miles, President & CEO of Save the Children, said:
"All sides in Yemen's war have failed to respect international law, and children have paid a terrible price. As a cholera epidemic continues to infect thousands of children every day, they are also being bombed in their homes and schools, denied humanitarian relief and forced to fight on the frontlines.

"The Secretary-General has stood up for Yemen's children and for the rights of all children in conflict with this decision. Now the UN and wider international community must make sure the violations by all parties to the conflict end. Being added to this shameful list should act as a wake-up call to every party in Yemen's conflict — and countries that are supporting or arming them."

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