In 2016, the air raids resulted in the deaths of 683 children and on 38 occasions targeted in schools and hospitals. In the United Nations list there are also Yemeni government forces and Houthi rebels. The Saudi Arabian coalition denies having "intentionally" hit civilians or civilian infrastructure. Publication of the final document expected by the end of the month.
Sana'a (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Saudi Arabian coalition is responsible for the death, wounding, and suffering of infants and children in the context of the ongoing conflict in Yemen. A United Nations’ report, which includes Riyadh on a list - provisional and to be approved - of States and factions that "kill and threaten children in a war zone." It is clear from the UN text that in 2016 alone coalition raids resulted in 683 victims among minors. Moreover it states that on other 38 occasions the bombs hit schools and hospitals.
The list also includes Yemeni governmental forces allied with the Saudis, and the opposite faction formed by the Houthi rebels.
The response of the Arab coalition under Saudi leadership was an immediate denial of having purposely hit "civilians" or infrastructure.
UN sources say that of the more than 8,530 dead, 60% are civilians, and 48,000 injured. The conflict has also left over 20 million people in need of humanitarian assistance, triggered one of the worst food emergencies and the outbreak of the worst cholera epidemic in the world.
Every year, the United Nations General Secretariat publishes a document on children and armed conflict. It also contains "entity lists" - whether they are States, coalitions, factions, groups - accused of committing violations of the rights of minors.
The draft report reads that " In Yemen, the coalition's actions objectively led to the listing for the killing and maiming of children, with 683 child casualties attributed to this party, and, as a result of being responsible for 38 verified incidents, for attacks on schools and hospitals during 2016. " It should also be added that the UN report recognizes that the coalition "has put in place measures" to "improve" the protection of children.
Abdallah al-Mouallimi, Permanent Representative of Saudi Arabia to the UN, did not want to comment on the draft report until the official version is issued. The publication is expected by the end of October.
Since January 2015, Yemen has been the scene of a bloody civil war opposing the country’s Sunni elites led by former President Hadi, backed by Riyadh, and Shia Houthi rebels, who are close to Iran. In March 2015, a Saudi-led Arab coalition began attacking the rebels, sparking criticism from the United Nations over heavy casualties, including many children.