Saudi coalition killed hundreds of children in Yemen, confidential UN report claims

Saudi coalition killed hundreds of children in Yemen, confidential UN report claims
Sat Aug 19, 2017 10:59:17

The Saudi military coalition – which receives logistical support, weapons and political backing from the US and UK – has been accused of killing hundreds of children in Yemen, according to a confidential UN report.

(independent) -- The report, which has yet to be made public and could still be changed, says that 51 per cent of all child deaths and injuries in Yemen last year were the result of the Saudi-led military operation. It says the deaths were “unacceptably high”. Saudi Arabia has insisted it is operating within international law.

“Attacks carried out by air caused over half of all child casualties, with at least 349 killed and 333 injured,” said the report, which was obtained by Reuters.

“The United Nations was informed of measures taken by the coalition in 2016 to reduce the impact of conflict on children. However, despite these measures, grave violations against children continued at unacceptably high levels in 2016.”

Saudi Arabia has always insisted that its operations follow international guidelines. Its UN mission said in a statement there was “no justification whatsoever” for including the coalition’s name on the blacklist. 

“We trust that the United Nations will make the appropriate decision on this matter, and the positive exchange of information” on the coalition’s activities, the statement said. It declined to comment on the findings in the draft report for 2016.

Saudi Arabia is leading a nine-nation coalition in a bombing campaign that started in March 2015 to defeat Iran-allied Houthi rebels. The US and UK have offered logistical and political support.

Britain has also continued to sell weapons to Saudi Arabia despite mounting worries over civilian deaths, believed to total around 3,000. Last month, a British court ruled that such sales could continue despite humanitarian concerns and rejected an appeal by the Campaign Against Arms Trade to stop them.

The role of the UK and US in supporting Riyadh has come under mounting scrutiny as concern about civilian deaths has grown.

Last year, the UK Government considered suspending arms sales after a strike in October 2016 killed 140 civilians attending a funeral. In the end, Britain, which has sold around $3.8bn of weapons to Saudi Arabia over the past two years and is its biggest supplies of arms, decided to continue with the sales.

(Photo by AP)


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