UN: 2,000 children recruited by Yemen's rebels died fighting

UN: 2,000 children recruited by Yemen's rebels died fighting

By EDITH M. LEDERER Associated Press

UNITED NATIONS -- U.N. experts said in a new report that nearly 2,000 children recruited by Yemen’s Houthi rebels died on the battlefield between January 2020 and May 2021, and the Iranian-backed rebels continue to hold camps and courses encouraging youngsters to fight.

In the report to the U.N. Security Council circulated Saturday, the experts said they investigated some summer camps in schools and a mosque where the Houthis disseminated their ideology and sought to recruit children fight in the seven-year war with Yemen’s internationally recognized government, which is backed by a Saudi-led coalition.

 “The children are instructed to shout the Houthi slogan `death to America, death to Israel, curse the Jews, victory to Islam,'” the four-member panel of experts said. “In one camp, children as young as 7 years of age were taught to clean weapons and evade rockets.”

The experts said they documented 10 cases where children were taken to fight after being told they would be enrolled in cultural courses or were already taking such courses, nine cases where humanitarian aid was provided or denied to families “solely on the basis whether their children participated in fighting or to teachers on the basis of whether they taught the Houthi curriculum,” and one case where sexual violence was committed against a child who underwent military training.

The panel said it received a list of 1,406 children recruited by the Houthis who died on the battlefield in 2020 and a list of 562 children recruited by the rebels who died on the battlefield between January and May 2021.

“They were aged between 10 and 17 years old,” the experts said, and “a significant number” of them were killed in Amran, Dhamar, Hajjah, Hodeida, Ibb, Saada and Sana'a.

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