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UN Blacklists Saudi Coalition in Yemen for Killing Children

Oct. 7, 2017 (EIRNS)—On Oct. 5, the UN blacklisted the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen for killing and injuring 683 children in Yemen and attacking dozens of schools and hospitals in 2016, even as it said the coalition had taken action to improve child protection, reported Reuters. According to the annual Children and Armed Conflict (CAAC) report for 2016, the actions of the Saudi-led coalition "objectively led" to it being blacklisted for killing and injuring 683 children and for 38 attacks on schools and hospitals last year. It added that all incidents were verified by the UN. The blacklist was diluted by adding a list of names: the Houthi rebel group, Yemen government forces, pro-government militia and Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) for violations against children in 2016.

The report was divided into two parts, apparently in order to avoid the kind of controversy that ensued in 2016 when the Saudis were briefly put on the blacklist, and then removed by Ban Ki Moon under pressure from the Saudis. The first part of the report lists those who are taking measures to protect children, which includes the Saudi-led military coalition, and the other includes parties that have not. The report apparently has no practical effect other than to "shame" the parties to the conflict to work to better protect children.

Amnesty International, in a statement on Oct. 6, condemned the report for exactly that reason.

"While we welcome the overdue listing of the Saudi Arabia-led coalition in the CAAC report, it is a shame that the UN caved in to pressure and included it in a new category specifically designed to limit condemnation of the coalition,"

it said.

The report, submitted to the UN Security Council by Secretary General Antonio Guterres, does not impose sanctions on Saudi Arabia, but nonetheless the Saudis objected to it vociferously. "We express our strong reservation in respect to this information," said Saudi Ambassador to the UN Abdallah al-Mouallimi said in a statement, reported Al Jazeera. "We exercise the maximum degree of care and precaution to avoid civilian harm," he insisted.