Statement by the Coalition to Restore Legitimacy in Yemen regarding UN Secretary-General’s Report on Children and Armed Conflict

Richard Cowley News and Events

Colonel Turki al-Maliki, the official spokesman of the Coalition to Restore Legitimacy in Yemen, stated on Wednesday that the Coalition to Restore Legitimacy in Yemen, which was founded at the request of the legitimate Government of Yemen to protect the country and its people from Iranian-backed Houthi aggression, rejects the claims made in the UN Secretary-General’s Report on Children and Armed Conflict regarding violations attributed to the Coalition, which are based on inaccurate information provided by unreliable sources.

The Coalition calls upon the UN to amend its procedures to ensure that no false information is included in its reports.

The report clearly distinguishes between parties that have put in place measures aimed at improving the protection of children, such as the Coalition, and those, like the Houthi militias supported by Iran, that have not done so.

The Coalition takes its responsibility for protecting all civilians in armed conflict, particularly children, very seriously. Since the previous report which was published in August 2017, the Coalition has continued to engage with and closely coordinate with all major UN agencies and NGOs with operations on the ground to ensure the protection of children. The Coalition has also established the Child Protection Unit at the Coalition’s headquarters (as reflected in the report) as a means of improving the protection of children.

The Coalition welcomes the report’s recognition of the preventative and protective measures the Coalition implemented in coordination with the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Ms. Virginia Gamba. In particular, the Coalition welcomes the Secretary-General’s acknowledgement of the positive impact of the Coalition’s considerable efforts to protect hospitals, schools and other infrastructure critical to children, and the efforts made to return Yemeni children who were recruited by the Houthi militia and forced to fight on battlefields.  The Coalition provides these children with medical care and counselling while the process of transferring them to their parents is underway.

The report also recognises the significant measures implemented by the legitimate Government of Yemen to protect and ensure the well-being of Yemeni children.

Every innocent child killed or injured in the conflict is a loss too many and must be avoided at all costs. To this end, the Coalition will continue to uphold its humanitarian commitments and obligations under International Humanitarian Law, and cooperate with all partners and stakeholders.