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UNICEF praises KSA for ďhumanitarianĒ role in Yemen


Yemeni pupils stand in line ahead of class on the first day of the new academic year, in a makeshift classroom in their school compound which was heavily damaged two years ago in an air strike, in the countryís third-city of Taez on October 7, 2020. / AFP / AHMAD AL-BASHA

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, one of wealthiest countries in the world, has been engaged upon a military campaign against its neighbor Yemen, one of the poorest countries in world, which has been ongoing for over five years.

The resultant humanitarian crisis - the worst in recent history - has grossly distorted life in Yemen. With its decimated infrastructure and an arrested economy, Yemen, which once used to be referred to as "Arabia Felix" or "Fortunate Arabia," is now hardly a livable place especially for young children who, in the absence of basic necessities, are battling life and death.

Although Saudi Arabia and its child-killing accomplices are under fire for igniting the war in Yemen, in a shocking move, UNICEF or the United Nations Childrenís Fund has recently lauded Riyadh for its "humanitarian" role in the war-torn country.

Black Comedy

The black comedy began with a thank-you letter from UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore in which she hailed the Saudi Kingdom for the "generous support" it had promised to give.

This proposed "support", according to said letter, would help UNICEF in aiding Yemeni children and their families. The move came a few months after the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres decided to remove the Saudi-led coalition from the bodyís "list of shame", a list of groups that fail to adhere to measures aimed at ensuring the safety of children in armed conflict.

Just one day after the move, coalition airstrikes killed 13 people including four children in the northern Yemeni province of Saada. At the time, Jo Becker of Human Rights Watch said, "Guterres is adding a new level of shame to his list of shame by removing the Saudi-led coalition and ignoring the UNís own evidence of continued grave violations against children."

"Today is Yemen, tomorrow is anybodyís guess, unless the world stands up and says íNo, enough is enough!í

And as the UN has proved itself to be incapable of upholding the rights of the people that it claims to be upholding or of preventing the disasters that it claims to be wanting to prevent, then it is high time that people of the world got together and set up an alternative forum."

Money talks; the poor perish

The moral of the story behind the UN secretary-generalís message was clear: rich, generous actors could kill children and literally get away with murder.

"Removing the Saudi-led coalition from the blacklist is a signal to these organizations to allow this kind of impunity to continue and that it isnít a problem for the UN for countries like Saudi Arabia to breach human rights both internally and externally and go with the murder of the children of Yemen, starve millions of people in Yemen, no problem, itís fine, you know as long as they continue to pay."

Kim Sharif, Yemeni Activist and Lawyer

In 2019 alone, more than 1,400 children were maimed or killed as a result of the Saudi-led campaign and almost one in three of the civilians killed or maimed in the armed violence in the first half of 2020 were children.

"According to the Ministry of Health in Sanaía, up to 1,000 people in Yemen die per day. That includes the children who are dying at the rate of one child every ten minutes under the age of five. Now, if we take the figure to include the airstrikes and many other Saudi-coalition-aggression-related deaths in Yemen is up to 1,000 people per day in Yemen.

Think about it! The numbers are hitting up. If that isnít a systematic extermination of a people, then what it is?! I donít know!"

Kim Sharif, Yemeni Activist and Lawyer

Saudi regime gives gifts of Bombs and guns, famine and strife to Yemeni Children

Children are not only being killed by bombs and bullets; a huge number of them are dying of war-induced famine and disease.

According to one of the latest UNICEF reports, the number of malnourished children in the country could reach 2.4 million - a 20 percent increase - by the end of the year; 6,600 children under the age of five could also die from preventable causes; and almost 9.58 million children in Yemen do not have sufficient access to safe water, sanitation or hygiene.

And this is Saudi-friendly UNICEF reporting. Critics say these are just conservative estimates. Whatever the real numbers may be, the fact is these youngsters are bearing the brunt of the brutal war and mindless violence.

The lost generation

The war has robbed a whole generation of their childhood. Their sad story, unfortunately, continues. In late September, the UN Group of Eminent Experts issued a disturbing report about exploiting and abusing children in the war.

The Group documented the cases of at least 259 boys between the ages of 12 and 17 who were recruited between May 2016 and January 2020. The boys were reportedly moved to Saudi Arabia for training, and then returned to fight against Ansarullah.

According to family members of the abducted boys, the recruiters offered them salaries of $5,000 to $16,000 to entice them.

Schools are mainly out of action

According to the UN reports, 2 million of the 7 million Yemeni children of school age donít go to school. And more than 2,500 schools across the country have been put out of commission, two-thirds of them damaged in Saudi attacks. Obviously, under such conditions, education is not of great priority, if any at all.

"Over 2,000 schools were targeted directly by the Saudi-led coalition.

And for a country that has committed these crimes, which is being well-documented, and has actually been referred to as well in the expertsí report, it is actually very deplorable and regrettable that an organization such as UNICEF that is actually supposed to be concerned for the welfare of children praises the murderer of the children of Yemen. Itís shameful to say the least."

The mental health toll on Yemeni children

Last but not least, the war has had a "devastating" impact on the mental health of Yemeni children, according to Save the Children Fund. Most of the children polled in the Fundís major survey said "they suffer from sadness and depression", "always afraid and always grieving", and "never feel safe when alone".

"The impunity [with which Saudi Arabia has acted] in relation to Yemen, for the past six years, has revealed untold amount of hypocrisy that has been played on the world for many years, seventy years or so in the existence of the UN. Itís been making people believe there is such thing as íthe Universal Declaration of Human Rightsí, íhuman rights are upheld, blah, blah, blah.í Thatís not true.

In reality, human rights are not upheld and the UN has been a complete, utter, abject failure and the Yemen crisis has actually exposed all of those dirty secrets of the UN."

International bodies do not dare condemn Saudi Atrocities

The saddest part of the story is that many international bodies, such as UNICEF, which are supposed to care for children across the globe, do not dare, at the very least, to condemn Saudi Arabia and its allies for what they have done to Yemeni children over the course of the last five years.

In fact, Saudi Arabia and its ilk have been pulling strings at UNICEF and many other international bodies by promising to give them money, or as in most cases, to threaten to cut off their financial support. Children always need protection, and in wartime uncompromising protection.

 

SOURCE: Presstv

LINK: https://www.ansarpress.com/english/20943


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