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With no end to the humanitarian threat posed by the Houthi rebel militia, the Yemeni Ministry of Human Rights has published a Preliminary Report on the Human Rights Situation in Yemen. The comprehensive report, composed by the Ministry’s Leadership Council, details the extent of human suffering in Yemen in two years between January 2015 and January 2017, covering the Houthis’ countless breaches of international humanitarian law, be it the targeting of civilians, the recruitment, maiming and killing of children, the denial of education and healthcare or the oppression of basic freedoms.

Yemen’s legitimate President Marshal Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi, in his foreword to the report, condemns the Houthi and Saleh-supporting militia that have “taken Yemen into a meaningless war, and destroyed its social fabric, economic and financial resources and infrastructure.” President Hadi recounts the turmoil of the militia’s systematic killing of civilians, children and the elderly; kidnappings; disappearances; sieges and suppression of civic freedoms, equating these deplorable terrorising acts with those of Al Qaeda or Da’esh.

Welcoming the intervention of the Arab Coalition in Yemen, the report reiterates President Hadi’s complete support for the military procedures that the Coalition has taken to defend the legitimacy, unity and territorial integrity of the Yemeni state. However, where there have been mistakes in targetting, the report recommends that the facts are investigated and those responsible are held to account.

Mohammed Askar, Yemen’s Vice Minister of Human Rights alo renews his government’s appeal to all international organisations and human rights mechanisms to look carefully at the Yemeni crisis in order to achieve sustainable peace in all parts of Yemen by ending the coup d’état in adherence with  international resolutions, notably UN Resolution 2216.

The appeals reflect those made by H.E. Mohamed Taha Mustafa, the Yemeni ambassador to Belgium and the European Union, who was welcomed to the European Parliament’s Delegations for relations with the Arab Peninsula earlier this month. In his speech, he underlined the disruptive role of the Houthis rebels supported by Iran and their continuous boycott of all attempts to secure the peaceful transition promoted by the legitimate elected government and the Saudi-led coalition. The Ambassador appealed to the European Parliament and EU governments to put pressure on Iran to cease interfering with internal Yemeni affairs and stop supporting the Houthi rebels.

The latest Special Edition of Saudi Arabia in Focus on Yemen covers recent Saudi Arabia’s humanitarian action in country, the Kingdom’s approach to addressing the crisis and the progress being made in combating the threat of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

 

Abdulrahman S. Alahmed

Ambassador and Head of the Saudi Mission to the EU

The spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human RightsMs. Ravina Shamdasani, spoke this week about the numerous reports received on the recruitment of children in Yemen in the armed conflict, mostly by the Popular Committees affiliated with the Houthi rebels. According to the spokesperson, “between 26 March 2015 and 31 January 2017, the UN has verified the recruitment of 1,476 children, all boys. However the numbers are likely to be much higher as most families are not willing to talk about the recruitment of their children, for fear of reprisals.”

Miss Shamdasani added, “just last week, we received new reports of children who were recruited without the knowledge of their families. Children under the age of 18 often join the fighting after either being misled or attracted by promises of financial rewards or social status. Many are then quickly sent to the front lines of the conflict or tasked with manning checkpoints.”

The UN has urged the party concerned to immediately release such children and reminded that the recruitment and use of children in armed conflict is strictly forbidden by international human rights law and international humanitarian law, and when concerning cases of recruitment of children under fifteen may amount to a war crime.

Salam

Salam (meaning peace in Arabic) is a new Saudi initiative that aims to promote mutual understanding between Saudi people and the rest of the world by opening communication channels on all aspects of cultural life.

The Salam Project is an attempt to face the many issues that have stopped the flow of communication and understanding between Saudi Arabia and the world beyond. It is an honest and safe forum for open discussion and positive exchange both for Saudis and non-Saudis alike. Salam aims to help us appreciate what we have in common and talk about some of those more awkward issues that have been ignored or avoided due to a lack of understanding and a reluctance to communicate. This in turn has tended to created unnecessary barriers between both sides. By opening these communication channels and fostering exchange and understanding, Salam hopes to turn such negatives into something positive.

Although still in its early stages, the project has tackled subjects ranging from Saudi history, cuisine, art and festivals such as Al Janadriyah, to education, countering extremism, women in society and human rights law.

You can learn more about the Salam project in the video below or visit www.salam4cc.com. You can even follow the project on its social media channels on Twitter and Facebook.