SAM Organization for Rights and Liberties issued a report on the International Day against the Use of Child Soldier, Sunday, February 12, 2023, titled "THEY ARE STILL AT THE FIGHT". The report sheds light on the exploitation of children as soldiers during the prolonged conflict in Yemen. The parties used a number of conditions and factors that led many children and their families to become victims of such exploitation.
The organization stated in its report that international and UN figures and reports condemned all parties to the conflict in Yemen and confirmed their direct and indirect involvement in the recruitment of children and the exploitation of some of them in hostilities. The parties to the conflict exploited some of these children in hostilities, taking advantage of many reasons such as the economic situation, the absence of the breadwinners, and the rhetoric of mobilization that is systematically and deliberately practiced in drawing children into recruitment, especially by the Houthi militia.
The report indicated that despite the lack of monitored and documented figures related to the recruited child soldiers, the real and estimated numbers reveal the enormity of the crime committed against children in Yemen by the parties to the conflict, mostly by the Houthi group. The organization monitored the Houthi group's recruitment of (10,649) child soldiers. While the internationally recognized government and its allies recruited (507) children, and (54) children were recruited by an extremist group such as Al-Qaeda.
The report discussed the factors that led to the growth of this phenomenon, most notably the cultural and tribal background, the economic situation the country is going through, the absence of the head of the family, the mobilization rhetoric practiced by the media of the parties, especially the Houthi group, and the exploitation of schools and summer centers by the Houthi group.
The organization confirmed that the report highlights the role of schools, summer centers and social figures in mobilizing children, which has become a tactic used by the Houthi group. The report mentioned many stories, in addition to the names of dozens of schools that were used for mobilization in the name of summer centers in a number of governorates.
The report also focused on criminal accountability, one of the main approaches to stopping the phenomenon of child exploitation, as it mentioned many names of potential leaders affiliated with all parties, as well as the names of potential camps used for mobilization and training.
At the end of the report, the organization called on all parties to the conflict in Yemen to adhere to international agreements and treaties that prohibit the recruitment of anyone under the age of 18 in hostilities, and to take a decision to stop the recruitment of children and their participation in any hostilities.