UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday removed an Arab-led military coalition from a United Nations blacklist, several years after it was first named and shamed for killing and injuring children in Yemen.
The coalition killed or injured 222 children in Yemen last year, Guterres wrote in his annual report to the UN Security Council. He said the Iran-backed Houthis were responsible for 313 such casualties and the Yemen government forces 96 casualties, and both remain on the annual children and armed conflict blacklist.
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Guterres said the coalition would “be delisted for the violation of killing and maiming, following a sustained significant decrease in killing and maiming due to air strikes” and the implementation of measures aimed at protecting children.
But he added that the Arab Coalition would be subjected to one year of monitoring and “any failure” to further decrease child casualties would result in it being listed again next year.
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Yemen has been mired in conflict since the Iran-backed Houthi group ousted the government from the capital Sanaa in 2014. The Arab Coalition in 2015 intervened in a bid to restore the government.
The coalition has officially been on the blacklist for the past three years.
It had been briefly added to the blacklist in 2016 and then removed by former Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon pending review.
When asked if the UN had come under any pressure to remove the Arab-led coalition from the list this year, the UN envoy for children and armed conflict, Virginia Gamba, told reporters: “I can answer that very, very clearly - absolutely not.”
The UN report does not subject those listed to action but rather shames parties to conflicts in the hope of pushing them to implement measures to protect children.
Countries or groups can be blacklisted for killing, injuring or abusing children, abducting or recruiting children, denying aid access for children or targeting schools and hospitals.