UN envoy alarmed by rising number of child casualties in Yemen

Updated: 2015-04-01 13:22


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UN envoy alarmed by rising number of child casualties in Yemen

A black pall of smoke rises from an alleged weapons storage depot at a military camp of Houthi rebels after an airstrike of the Saudi-led alliance, in Sanaa, Yemen, March 30, 2015. [Photo/IC]

UNITED NATIONS - A UN envoy in charge of protecting children in armed conflict on Tuesday said that she was alarmed by the rising number of child casualties in Yemen, calling on all warring sides to "avoid creating new risks for children".

Leila Zerrougui, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, said in a press release, "I am alarmed by the rising number of child casualties in Yemen."

The escalated violence in Yemen has left 62 children killed and 30 others injured over the past week, according to the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF).

"Children urgently need our protection," said the special representative. "We cannot tolerate seeing them victims of this conflict."

"All parties involved in military operations in Yemen must avoid creating new risks for children," Zerrougui added. "They must act in accordance with international humanitarian and human rights law."`

The envoy also reminded all parties to the conflict of the protected status of both schools and hospitals.

Over the past few months, the United Nations has verified an increase in the recruitment of children, notably by Al Houthi or Ansar Allah and other armed groups. The number of children killed or maimed has also been on the rise.

Earlier Tuesday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon voiced his deep concern in a statement about reports of numerous civilian casualties resulting from ongoing military operations in Yemen, which have left dozens dead and many more injured, among them children.

Fighting has been ongoing in Yemen since Jan. 22, when the legitimate government under President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi was ousted by the Shiite Houthi forces, provoking the recent military campaign by a coalition of 10 countries led by Saudi Arabia.

The air raids, which target the Houthis in Yemen, have left 83 people killed and about 350 others injured across the country.

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