UN asks Saudi to prove prevention of Yemen child deaths

A boy walks past the a house damaged by a Saudi-led air strike in Yemen's capital Sanaa, September 12, 2015. REUTERS/Mohamed al-Sayaghi - RTSQOG

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has asked Saudi Arabia to provide convincing proof that could concretely back up Riyadh’s claims that its military coalition is adopting measures to prevent the killing and wounding of children in Yemen.

Ban told Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir in New York on Thursday that he hoped “the coalition would be able to provide information on the concrete actions they have taken” ahead of a UN Security Council meeting on August 2 to discuss aerial attacks against Yemen, the UN chief’s spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, said.
“Where mistakes are made, they are acknowledged and rectified, but in general we are conducting our operations with great care in order to avoid damages to civilians and in particular children,” Jubeir claimed after the meeting with Ban.

He added, “We are committed to international humanitarian laws and committed to adhering in all of our operations to those laws.”
On June 6, the UN gave in to a Saudi demand to remove the oil-rich kingdom from its annual blacklist of child rights violators, less than a week after it blamed Riyadh for the killing of hundreds of Yemeni children.

The Children and Armed Conflict (CAAC) report, published on June 3, said the Saudi coalition was responsible for 60% of child casualties in Yemen last year, during which 510 children were killed and 667 others injured.

Both Saudi Arabia and the UN drew international criticism after Ban acknowledged that he had expunged Riyadh from the blacklist under “undue pressure.”

Saudi Arabia launched its military aggression against Yemen on March 26, 2015 in a bid reinstate Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi — who has resigned as Yemen’s president and is a staunch ally of Riyadh — and defeat the Houthi Ansarullah movement.

More than 9,400 people have been killed and at least 16,000 others injured since the onset of the aggression.

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