At Least 3,774 Children Killed in Yemen’s Civil War
The United Nations said Thursday that at least 3,774 children have been killed in Yemen’s civil war between March 2015 and September 2022.
According to the latest statistics published by the United Nations Children’s Fund, a further 7,245 children have been maimed in the conflict, which has pitted Iran-backed Houthi rebels against a Saudi Arabian-led coalition supporting Yemen’s internationally recognized government for the past eight years.
The conflict began in 2014 after Houthi rebels came down from the mountains and took control of the capital, Sanaa, and much of the country’s north, forcing Yemen’s government into exile. The Saudi-led coalition then entered the war in March 2015, backed by the U.S. and the United Arab Emirates.
According to UNICEF, some 3,904 boys were recruited as child soldiers from March 2015 to September 2022. The U.N. agency also estimated that around 2.2 million children in Yemen are ‘’acutely malnourished.’’
“If the children of Yemen are to have any chance of a decent future, then the parties to the conflict, the international community and all those with influence must ensure they are protected and supported,” said Catherine Russell, UNICEF’s executive director.
The agency said that all the figures it has produced are likely much higher.
The organization called for an urgent renewal of the cease-fire agreement, which lasted from April until the beginning of October and saw a lull in front-line fighting.
A deal to extend the truce fell through in the hours before its deadline on Oct. 2. The United States and the U.N. accused the Houthis of making last-minute demands, while the rebel force blamed their withdrawal on the U.N.’ s unwillingness to provide written guarantees for several of its key demands.
Houthi rebels have openly recruited child soldiers, many through “summer camps” in which it disseminates its religious ideology to young boys. Houthi officials admitted to The Associated Press earlier this year that its rebel force has recruited some boys as young as age 10, arguing that boys of this age are considered men. Houthi rebels have widely used land mines, a weapon that has killed at least 74 children across Yemen between July and September this year, the U.N. reported.
Thousands of civilian and child deaths have also been blamed on Saudi-led airstrikes, which have hit markets, weddings, funerals, residential homes and hospitals. In 2018, an airstrike hit a bus carrying children on their way to school in northern Yemen, killing more than 40 young boys.
Yemen’s ruinous conflict has killed in excess of 150,000 people, including over 14,500 civilians, according to The Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project. The fighting has thrown Yemen into one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises, pushing it into deeper poverty and near famine.
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