During a press conference held today in the interim capital, Aden, Mayyun Organization for Human Rights launched its report on violations of the recruitment and use of children as soldiers in the armed conflict in Yemen during the period from July 1, 2021, To December 31, 2022, entitled (Child Warriors).
The report documented the number of (2,233) child soldiers who were used directly in the armed conflict by all parties. Explaining that the number of children who were verified to have been recruited by the Houthi group (Ansar Allah) on the front lines reached (2,209) children, i.e. (98.9%), while the responsibility for recruiting (24) children falls on the internationally recognized Yemeni government and its affiliated armed formations, This represents a percentage (1.1%) of the total incidents and cases.
He confirmed that he had verified the killing of (1,309) children, one of whom was a Somali child, and the injury and mutilation of (351) children, out of the total cases recruited into the ranks of the Houthi group (Ansar Allah); Noting that the age group of children between the ages of sixteen and seventeen is the group most exposed to violations of recruitment and use as soldiers by the group, he also documented reports of the recruitment of (25) children belonging to African immigrant families, verifying the number of (4) children in Sanaa and Hajjah.
It was documented that the Houthi group granted (556) children who were killed in its ranks military ranks distributed between officers and non-officers, and granted (753) dead children the status of soldiers in its official lists. In this regard, he explained that they used the temptations of granting fictitious ranks to children with the aim of attracting them to recruitment.
According to the monitoring results, the report concluded that the top ten governorates in which the Houthi group (Ansar Allah) attracted child recruits were: Sana’a Governorate, Hajjah, Dhamar, Saada, Amanat Al-Asimah, Amran, Ibb, Al-Hudaydah, Taiz, and Al-Mahwit.
The report monitored a decrease in the number of child victims recruited by the Houthi group (Ansar Allah) into its ranks during the period of the UN truces that began in April 2021, and was extended into two phases. On the other hand, it did not stop mobilizing, mobilizing, and recruiting during that period.
He reviewed the recruitment tools and means for recruiting children to the Houthi group (Ansar Allah), where at the forefront was the exploitation of the living and economic conditions of children and their families, followed by the methodology of ideological indoctrination and hate speech through the official and private media and social networking sites, and the complete control over educational institutions and religious institutions, and the exploitation of summer centers, In addition to using subterfuge, kidnapping, and exerting pressure on tribal leaders, sheikhs, and notables.
At the conclusion of the report, the report presented a number of recommendations directed by the Mayyun Organization to the parties and stakeholders, namely the Houthi group, the recognized Yemeni government, the international community, the United Nations, and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations for children in armed conflict.
The head of Mayyun Organization for Human Rights, Abdu Ali Hothifi, explained during the press conference that the organization has been working on children’s rights issues, especially their recruitment and use in armed conflicts, which are considered among the most horrific and most dangerous crimes against future generations ever.
This was considered a commitment by the organization to follow a human rights-based approach that focuses primarily on victims and on the most vulnerable groups who must be cared for and protected under international humanitarian law in cases of international and non-international armed conflicts, which obligates all parties to protect these groups.
He pointed out that the Mayyun Organization aims, by issuing this report, “Child Warriors,” as part of a series of human rights reports on child recruitment in Yemen, to primarily advocate for child recruitment issues, and to uncover violations and facts in order to hold violators accountable and achieve justice for victims of violations.
He added: We, at the Mayyun Organization, were keen to establish a professional and professional work team with a methodology that follows international standards in monitoring and documentation, and we continuously emphasize respect for rights and commitment to professionalism, so that the truth is clear about all the grave violations committed by the parties to the war, out of our belief in partnership with the international community to speak out. With one voice; Immediately stop the recruitment and use of children.
Hothifi noted that the organization seeks, in the next stage, to launch an international and local campaign to protect children, to pressure for the issue of recruitment and use of children in Yemen to be among the most important priorities of the political settlement files.