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  • Houthis sign UN plan to end recruitment of child soldiers

Houthis sign UN plan to end recruitment of child soldiers

The Houthis, backed by Iran, have long used children as soldiers in the conflict against forces of the internationally-recognized government. (AFP/File Photo)
The Houthis, backed by Iran, have long used children as soldiers in the conflict against forces of the internationally-recognized government. (AFP/File Photo)
Kahlan, a 12-year-old former child soldier with the Houthis, demonstrates how to use a weapon at a camp for displaced persons where he took shelter with his family in Marib, July 27, 2018. (AP Photo)
Kahlan, a 12-year-old former child soldier with the Houthis, demonstrates how to use a weapon at a camp for displaced persons where he took shelter with his family in Marib, July 27, 2018. (AP Photo)
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19 Apr 2022 10:04:50 GMT9
19 Apr 2022 10:04:50 GMT9
  • Nearly 10,000 children have been killed in Yemen since war began in 2015
  • Iran-backed militia has committed to identify, release children from its ranks within 6 months

Ephrem Kossaify

NEW YORK: Yemen’s Houthi militia has signed an action plan with the UN to end and prevent the recruitment and use of children in armed conflict, the killing and maiming of boys and girls, attacks on schools and hospitals and other grave violations, a UN spokesman said on Monday.

Stephane Dujarric added that the Houthis have committed to identify and release children from their ranks within six months.

“As of today, the main parties to the conflict have all signed commitments to end and prevent grave violations against children,” he said.

Nearly 1,500 children recruited by the Iran-backed militia died in combat in 2020, and over 500 hundred more the following year, a UN report revealed in January. More than 10,000 children have been killed in the war that began in 2015.

UN experts have repeatedly said the Houthis were recruiting children, using summer camps and mosques to indoctrinate them and teach them how to handle weapons.

Virginia Gamba, UN special representative for children in armed conflict, signed the action plan as a witness from New York and welcomed the measure to protect children in Yemen.

She called on all parties to the conflict to “use the opportunity of the current truce to prioritize the rights of children and their needs.” She reiterated the UN’s willingness to support the Houthis in implementing the agreement.

The truce between the Houthis and the internationally recognized government came into effect on the first day of the holy month of Ramadan. It is meant to last two months, with a possibility for renewal.

The parties had agreed to halt ground, air and cross-border strikes, allow oil tankers to enter Hodeidah port, reopen Sanaa airport for commercial flights and lift the siege of Taiz.

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