France condemns recruitment of children by Houthis

France condemns recruitment of children by Houthis

France has condemned the recruitment of children as soldiers in Yemen, stressing the importance of respecting the international law which bans recruitment of children during wars.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, France Foreign Ministry spelt out that human rights groups documented cases of involving children by Houthis in s conflict, pointing out that the case of recruiting children was raised in a conference held in Paris last February on recruiting children.

“France emphasizes the urgent need to find a political solution that alone can prevent further deterioration in Yemen’s security and humanitarian situation and combat terrorism. We reiterate our full support to the efforts of Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, UN special envoy” the statement added.

Meanwhile, The UN human rights agency has said that most of the child soldiers had been recruited by the Houthi militia groups fighting the internationally recognized government and its Gulf Arab allies.

It spelt out almost 500 children have been killed and a similar number recruited by the warring sides in the Yemeni conflict.

Ravina Shamdasani, a spokeswoman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said 1,476 boys were recruited between March 2015 and Jan. 31.

"However, the numbers are likely to be much higher as most families are not willing to talk about the recruitment of their children, for fear of reprisals,” she told a news conference in Geneva

The recruitment of children under 15 “may amount to a war crime,” she added.

UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) spokesman Christophe Boulierac said 1,490 children had been killed in fighting since March 2015. A total of 4,667 civilians were killed and 8,180 injured up to Feb. 23.

Boulierac added that a child under-5 “dies every 10 minutes from preventable diseases in Yemen”.

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