The continued targeting of children with mines requires urgent action
  • 06/07/2023
    SAM |

    Geneva - SAM Organization for Rights and Liberties said that children in Yemen were subjected to systematic violations. Last week witnessed a number of grave violations committed by the Houthi militia, as many Yemeni children were injured by the explosion of camouflaged mines in Taiz. Additionally, five other children were wounded in the Hays district of Al-Hodeidah Governorate by Houthi-fired mortar shells. Therefore, SAM organization called for urgent international action and a decisive stance regarding the continued deaths and injuries of children as a result of mines and explosive devices planted by the Houthi group in the areas it controls.

    In a statement issued today, Thursday, the organization indicated that it had monitored several separate incidents that resulted in the death and injury of a number of children by the explosion of camouflaged objects and mines in civilian areas. It also referred to the killing of the 14-year-old child, "Hamza Ahmed Al-Ghurbani", and the injury of two other children, one of whom was seriously wounded, as a result of the explosion of a camouflaged explosive device (juice box) near their homes in the Al-Jahmaliya neighbourhood in the city of Taiz.

    “SAM” pointed out that another child victim was killed in a similar incident, where an 8-year-old child was injured in the explosion of a military object in the Salh district of Taiz.

    The organization highlighted the UN mission's condemnation of the injury of five children in the bombing of a residential neighbourhood in Hodeidah by the Houthi group, referring to the numbers documented by the United Nations of violations against children as follows: 1596 grave violations were committed against 637 children (522 boys and 115 girls), including 26 children who were victims of multiple violations. The United Nations also verified the recruitment of (77) children by the Houthis (Ansar Allah), (12) by the Belt Forces, (10) by the Shabwani Elite Forces, (4) by the Yemeni forces, one by the Giants Brigades and one by an unknown party.

    The United Nations verified the killing of 158 and the maiming of 544 children, 432 boys and 112 girls by unknown perpetrators, 357 of them in the exchange of fire, whereas the Houthis committed 88 cases. As for the legitimacy supporting forces, the coalition was involved in 43 cases, the Yemeni Armed Forces in 26 cases, the Security Belt forces in 21 cases, and the Giants Brigades in 9 cases.

    The figures monitored and documented by SAM from 2014 until the end of 2020 showed that the ongoing conflict in Yemen has led to more than 30,000 violations committed against children distributed to the following: the Houthi militia 70%, the Arab coalition 15%, the legitimate government 5%, and other parties 10%.

    “SAM” said that the number of children killed during that period amounted to more than 5,700 children, the largest number of whom were killed in the city of “Taiz” with 1,000 children, followed by “Amran” (404), “Hajjah” (368), and “Saada” (262), and "Sana'a" (260).

    “SAM” stated in its statistics that 1,300 children were killed as a result of lethal shrapnel by the Houthi militia, and 190 others were killed by direct bullet wounds. 175 were killed by direct sniper fire, 250 children were killed as a result of being hit by mine shrapnel, and 3,000 children were killed on the frontlines. While 800 children were killed by the airstrikes of Saudi Arabia and the Emirates.  American drones killed 21 children, and extremist groups killed 41.

    The number of injured children reached 8,170, the largest percentage of whom was in the city of "Taiz", with a number of 4,000 injured. The biggest reason for the injury of children was the indiscriminate shelling, as the number of its victims reached 2,500 children. Another 690 children were shot, while 280 children were sniped by Houthi snipers. 140 children were wounded by the government forces, while the Arab coalition air forces injured 520 children, and 40 children were injured by extremist groups. There is no accurate information on the number of injured child soldiers on the frontlines

    For his part, Tawfiq Al-Hamidi, president of SAM Organization for Rights and Liberties, said, “The continued escalation of violations against children by the parties to the conflict, especially the Houthi group, reflects the negative role of the international community and its failure to implement its obligations to protect the rights of individuals, especially children, as guaranteed by international conventions.”

    Al-Hamidi stressed that “the lack of criminal accountability against the perpetrators of these violations gave the perpetrators an implicit cover to continue their serious violations and practices against children, which calls for serious international action to stop these repeated crimes.”

    “SAM” stresses that the international agreements, starting with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the two international covenants, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, the Geneva Conventions and the Hague Rules have collectively emphasized the importance of the protection that must be provided to children in conflict and war zones.

    The organization concluded its statement by calling on the international community to assume its moral and legal obligations and responsibilities and pressure the Houthi group to stop its violations against children, and the need to provide the names of those involved in committing grave violations against children in order to ensure that they are held accountable before the International Criminal Court for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

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