Sectarian Mobilization and Fighter Recruitment
Houthi Summer Centers
  • 02/05/2023
    SAM |

    Geneva - SAM Organization for Rights and Liberties warned of the danger of the summer centers the Houthi group announced to launch this year in order to target more than one and a half million children from school students. The organization stressed that these camps are time bombs because of the dangerous practices they include, such as sectarian mobilization and attracting children to fight, which in turn will lead to prolonging the conflict and creating a generation with poisonous ideas.

    The organization said in a statement issued today, Sunday, that the appearance of "Yahya Badr al-Din al-Houthi," the brother of the group's leader, who was appointed as Minister of Education in the (unrecognized) government of Sana'a, in the middle of a crowd of children inside a summer center was an affirmation of the mobilization of summer camps. This matter has become highly regarded in the group's policy, which aims at practicing cultural brainwashing of children, inculcating extremism and hatred in their minds for the sake of this war and ensuring future fighters.

    SAM confirmed that the total number of those targeted in these camps, according to media outlets affiliated with the Houthi group, "reaches one million and 500 thousand students, in 9 thousand and 100 open and closed schools designated for this purpose, where there are 20,000 workers, principals and teachers who work in the governorates and districts."

    Tawfiq Al-Hamidi, head of the SAM Organization, said, “The insistence on these camps and the large spending in light of the stifling economic situation and the interruption of salaries confirms that the group attaches importance to the youth sector in its current battle, as it has established the camps, according to UN reports, to obliterate the true identity of the Yemeni people, spread a culture of violence, plant poisonous ideas, and tamper with the minds of the current generation.”

    He added, “Summer camps encourage hate and violence against specific groups. The children are instructed to chant the Houthi slogan, “Death to America, death to Israel, victory to Islam, and curse on the Jews.” In one camp, children as young as 7 were taught to clean weapons and dodge missiles.”

    The organization stated that the Houthi group was not satisfied with the sectarian charging and its intensive courses in those camps, but rather it asked parents and guardians to participate in courses designated for them in summer camps, so that they could help in the process of intellectual mobilization aimed at brainwashing children with extremist ideas and sectarian incitement.

    "SAM" highlighted that the establishment of these summer camps were accompanied by intense Houthi movements among the supervisors, neighborhood leaders, mosque officials and tribal sheikhs, to demand that parents and guardians enroll their children in these camps. Furthermore, the Houthi militia has adopted a media campaign in which TV channels and local radio stations participate, in addition to the huge propaganda billboards that were erected in the streets of cities and posters that were distributed on the walls in all neighborhoods.

    The organization pointed out that although the Houthi group signed an action plan with the United Nations aimed at preventing the Houthi militia from recruiting and exploiting children in wars, it started launching its summer camps, which are characterized by sectarianism, targeting thousands of students in the governorates under its control.

    The organization referred to what was stated in the briefing of the report of the expert group to the Security Council issued on 1/25/2022, which stated that summer camps and cultural courses targeting children and adults were part of the Houthi strategy to win support for their ideology and motivate people to join the fight with them.

    The organization stresses that such centers are time bombs with unpredictable results, as they contain dangerous practices such as planting poisonous and sectarian ideas and urging children to fight, in addition to hate speech, excluding the other party, involving them in combat operations, and creating a distorted generation whose goal is to kill and follow orders.

    "SAM" concluded its statement by calling on the international community and the Arab countries involved in the Yemeni conflict to exercise all pressure on the Houthi group to stop these sectarian summer centers and stop attracting children. It also emphasized that the international community was required to establish summer camps and centers supervised by the United Nations Childhood and Education Committees in order to elevate the children of Yemen rather than leaving them at risk of distorting ideas and engaging in fighting.

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