In Yemen the UN enacts new encouraging measures for the protection of minors

A view on Sana’a, Yemen A view on Sana’a, Yemen Saif Albadni on Unsplash

22 April 2022

 The Houthi rebels have agreed with the United Nations on a new Action Plan in order to establish a regime of non-involvement of minors in the conflict

On Monday 18 April 2022, the UN Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict Virginia Gamba announced that the United Nations has reached an agreement with the Houthi rebel authorities to prevent the involvement of children in the dynamics of recruitment and employment in the conflict

This is taking place during the two-month respite agreed at the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan. Furthermore, the Yemeni government in exile in Aden has seen a change of direction with the resignation of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi and the creation of a new Presidential Governing Council headed by Rashad al-Alimi.

The main objective of this Action Plan is to prevent attacks on the freedom and safety of minors, as well as to avoid attacks on schools and hospitals where the presence of children is at an all-time high after 8 years of war in the country. In fact, according to the Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict (CAAC), at least 10,200 children have been killed in the conflict to date, and there is evidence that nearly 3,500 have been used in the field. Furthermore, Yemen appears to be one of the countries in which access to humanitarian aid is most repeatedly denied.

Among the measures envisaged in this Action Plan, the Houthis have agreed to stop the recruitment and use of minors, promising to remove them from their ranks within six months and to provide them with adequate support in social reintegration.

Representative said the United Nations "welcomes efforts of all parties to the conflict to end and prevent grave violations against children and this new commitment by the Houthis is a positive and encouraging step in that direction". The CAAC, through the Special Representative Gamba, stated that the Action Plan "must be fully implemented and lead to tangible actions for the improvement of the protection of children in Yemen" and that " The most difficult part of the journey starts now".

The United Nations hopes that the new Action Plan can more effectively address the urgent economic and humanitarian needs of Yemen, as well as favor the country's political pacification process. "Ultimately", adds Dr. Gamba, "obtaining lasting peace is the best way to protect children in Yemen and should be the first objective of all parties to the conflict in the country."


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Author: Ignazio Alcamo

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