The spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms. 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.