More than 100 Yemeni children being held captive by armed groups: UN

More than 100 Yemeni children being held captive by armed groups: UN
2 min read
28 September, 2021
Thousands of children suffered grave human rights violations in Yemen in 2020 alone, with hundreds of them being held captive and many more being recruited by armed groups.
Children are most affected by the war in Yemen [Getty]

Over 100 Yemeni children are being held captive by various militant groups in the country for their alleged support of certain parties in the war, the UN said in a report Monday.

It said that children are in more danger now than at any point since the start of the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen, which began in March 2015.

Between 1 January 2019 and 31 December 2020, a record 3,503 children suffered one or more grave violations, especially the denial of humanitarian access, killing and maiming, and the recruitment and use of children. 

In the same period, at least 2,600 children were either killed or maimed as hostilities intensified in the war-torn country, while at least 111 children were held in captivity.

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At least 861 children were recruited by various armed groups, which led to other grave violations against them, in particular killing and maiming. Two third of recruited children were used in active combat.

Dozens of schools were attacked, robbing children of their right to education in Yemen. More than two million children are currently out of school in the war-torn country.

"The atrocities and immense suffering endured by children in Yemen are the result of an armed conflict that will invariably leave in its wake a generation of Yemeni children scarred for life. It is urgent for all parties to actively work towards a political solution of the conflict if they hope to save children from further harm," said the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Virginia Gamba.

"Boys and girls are the future of Yemen. Parties to conflict must protect them from use and abuse and start treating children as the precious asset they are," she added.

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Since the conflict in Yemen began in 2014, when the Houthi rebels took over the capital city of Sanaa, tens of thousands of people have been killed and much of the country is suffering from chronic shortages of both food and medicine. 

The crisis escalated when the Saudi-led coalition intervened the following year to support Yemen's internationally-recognised government against the rebels.

More than 100,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed and millions displaced in what the United Nations has called the world's worst humanitarian disaster.

UN experts have accused both sides in Yemen's five-year-old conflict of multiple war crimes.

Conflict-ridden Yemen is suffering from wide-scale poverty and malnutrition. Its decrepit healthcare system is struggling to bear the weight of the coronavirus pandemic.