Alwaght- Amnesty International has lambasted the United Nations for downplaying the brutal killing of Yemeni children by the Saudi-led coalition engaged in deadly war on the impoverished Arab state.
Amnesty international welcomed the UN’s blacklisting of the Saudi-led coalition but condemned the world body for attempting to reduce blame on the coalition by claiming that it has taken unspecified measures to protect children.
"Every time the United Nations makes concessions that allow perpetrators of crimes under international law to evade criticism or justice, it emboldens others to commit violations that cause immense misery to people around the world,” said Sherine Tadros, the head of UN office in New York for the UK-based rights group.
"While we welcome the overdue listing of the Saudi Arabia-led coalition in the CAAC report, it is a shame that the UN caved in to pressure and included it in a new category specifically designed to limit condemnation of the coalition,” she added.
On Thursday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres submitted an annual report on Children and Armed Conflict (CAAC) to the Security Council. The report, seen by Reuters, blacklisted the Saudi-led coalition for killing and maiming children in Yemen.
The report held the Saudi-led coalition responsible for 683 child casualties in Yemen and for 38 attacks on schools and hospitals during 2016.
Saudi Arabia had previously lobbied hard to prevent being blacklisted. While its name appeared in that blacklist in 2016, then-UN chief Ban Ki-moon removed Saudi Arabia from the list a few days later, acknowledging that he had been forced to do so after the regime and its allies threatened to cut off funding to many UN programs.
This year, while the UN report did blacklist the Saudi-led coalition, it also said the coalition had taken measures to improve the protection of children in the armed conflict, in an apparent attempt to avoid too much Saudi backlash.
Amnesty International says it has seen no evidence of such measures. In recent weeks, Amnesty confirmed the use of a US-manufactured bomb by the Saudi-Arabia led coalition in an August attack that killed seven children.
The Saudi-led coalition started a bloody aggression on Yemen in March 2015 to oust the popular Ansarullah movement and restore to power fugitive Abdul Rabbuh Mansour Hadi who resigned as president and fled to Riyadh. The Saudis have failed to achieve their stated objective and are now stuck in the Yemen quagmire while indiscriminately bombarding the impoverished stated on an almost daily basis.