Houthis…A History of Shame against the Children of Yemen

Written by Jaymin Shah

War Crimes Robbed and Damaged Childhood Throughout the Country

The various crimes of the Houthis militias aimed particularly at the children. For nearly three years, Houthis bloody wars and raids,upon anyone stands against them, left causalities mainly from children. Houthis used methods criminalized by all norms and international laws, including recruiting children to join militias instead of going to schools and using them in the sectarian war and in battlefields to fight the sovereign power of Yemen, the war that torn Yemen.

Hassan Zaid, the Minister of Youth and Sport set by the Houthi coup government in Sanaa proposed a few days ago tosuspend classes and arming students and teachers and send them to battle fronts.

He said on Facebook that he would reinforce the ranks with hundreds of thousands of fighters and win the battle, according to him.

Zaid backed his proposal by indicating schools previously had to close for a whole year for students to obtain educational document, there is no harm to close them now.

The proposal of the minister in the Houthi unrecognized government, which is a de facto Iran-backed government, was widely condemned.

The proposal came amid teachers’ strike in Houthi territories, in protest at salaries going unpaid for about a year.

Children are always the forefront of the grave humanitarian violation committed by Houthis in Yemen. Recruiting of children comes on the top of these crimes. The Health and Education Infrastructures were destroyed by targeting them or using as rocket-launchers and military barracks, according to the UN reports released throughout the Houthi coup in Yemen.

Houthi militias looted the childhood from the children. Houthis used financial, moral, sect and tribal inclination and pressed or exploited children to the front lines. These crimes against a large number of children documented in the Security Council reports.

Furthermore, Houthis obstructed humanitarian and medical aid containing vaccines for the children, which led to the fast growing cholera epidemic.

Children…From Schools to Frontlines

A report issued by the Yemeni Alliance for Monitoring Human Rights Violations issued in mid-June said that more than 400 children recruited by Houthi-Saleh were killed in armed clashes with the army during the past months. Yemeni Media confirmedthat Dhamar, south of the capital Sanaa, received about 2000 bodies of children fought with the Houthi ranks since the start of the coup.

According to UN reports, conflict parties in Yemen recruited more than 8000 children, the majority attributed to Houthi-Saleh ranks.

In a statement released yesterday, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) expressed grave concern at the ongoingrecruitment of children in large numbersby the associated parties to conflict in Yemen, stressing that children should be in schools not battlefields.

Amid the deterioration of the Health sector cause by the coup, deadly diseases and epidemics swept all over Yemen leaving hundreds of deaths from children mainly from cholera, which became epidemic in 22 out of 23 governments.

Some 32 per cent of cholera deaths in Yemen are children under the age of 15, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said in a statement released last week.

A report by World Health Organization (WHO) said the number of cholera deaths in Yemen has reached 2,165 since the outbreak of the epidemic while the number of suspected cases has reached 843,000 cases.

Children represent 50 per cent of total suspected cholera cases and 32 per cent of total deaths, said UNICEF office in Yemen.

The Houthi coup deprived more than two thirds of Yemenis of getting required medical care while food became less accessible. UNICEF revealed that children are the major victims of coup in Yemen, as malnutrition and diseases are causing the loss of one Yemeni child every ten minutes. UNICEF also revealed that another 1.7 million children under the age of five suffer from moderate acute malnutrition with severe acute malnutrition affecting 462,000 children, the report claimed.

Furthermore, 7.4 million children are in need of medical help in the nearly collapsed health system while 14.4 million Yemenis now lack access to safe drinking water or sanitation, UNICEF said.

Houthi coup threatens to deprive of millions of Yemeni children of an education, especially with teachers’ unpaid salary for the second year in row. Most schools are still closed despite two months have passed since the new school year.

UNICEF reported that two millions Yemini children are missing school, while violence threatens 4.5 million children of getting proper education this year. More than two and a half years of renewed conflict in Yemen have once again put the education of 4.5 million children on the line, adding to the long list of bitter hardships that children have endured, says UNICEF.

UNICEF report indicated that Three quarters of teachers have not received their salaries in nearly a year, and the violence has forced one in ten schools across the country to close.

Report added that as of July 2017, 1,600 schools have been partially or destroyed, and 170 have been used for military purposes or as shelter for displaced families. An estimated 2 million children are out of school.

The beginning of the school year was postponed several times from its usual September start and textbooks and other school materials are in severely short supply. Stressing thathe salary crisis has pushed teachers to extreme measures just to survive.

According to the same report, for those children who can attend school, malnutrition and the trauma of displacement and violence have seriously affected their ability to learn and the ongoing humanitarian efforts are only a drop in the ocean of suffering that Yemen has become.

United Nations: Houthi Militias Forcibly Recruiting Children

Houthi group and the forces of the outset Saleh committed the crime of forcibly recruiting children amid the military clashed amid the recent crises since the Houthi coup took place against the legitimate government.

The United Nations documented a fivefold increase over the last year in cases of children recruitment and use of children in the armed clashes. Houthis recruited the majority of these children.

The last report released by the UN said that a shift was observed from largely voluntary enlistment towards forced or involuntary recruitment through coercion, including through the provision of misleading information or incentive.

The report continued in citing the crimes committed by Houthis including 183 boys were deprived of liberty by Houthis, owing to their military duties and use 51 schools for military purposes, of which the large majority took place in Ta’izz

The Houthi-Saleh militia have recruited children and sent them to the frontlines despite the devastating impact of wars on the mental health of children. Civil society and international organization warn from the danger of recruiting children in Yemen and deprive them of the innocence of childhood.

The armed conflicts in Yemen over the past two years since the Houthi coup took place against the legitimate government have provided fertile environment for recruiting children and send them in the battlefields.

The children recruitment has disturbingly increased amidst the Yemeni crises. The United Nations placed Houthi group and other militias recruiting children in Yemen in the “List of Shame”.

Other recent international reports raised the alarm about children recruitment and said that the drastic increase of children recruitment threatens the future of children in Yemen. The reports also explicitly accused the Houthi-Saleh coalition of sending hundreds of children in the armed clashed and bloody battles in Yemen.

The UNICEF spokesperson in Yemen, Mohammed Al-Asaadi, said in a press interview that the coup caused a 47 per cent increase in the recruitment of children. While Ahmed al Qurashi, the head of Seyaj, said that the problem increases by 400 per cent, according to the estimation of Seyaj activists.

Al Qurashi added “Houthi group has training camps in most Yemeni governorate and attract children, adolescents and young adults and offer financial incentive to join their ranks. In addition, children are brainwashed by speeches and ideological lessons to provoke fanaticism, trained to use all types of weapons and then sent to the battlefronts.

Ahmed Al Qurashi, head of Seyaj for the protection of children, said that the reasons for the drastic increase of children recruitment are poverty, tribal and religious culture, lack of awareness and education, unemployment and lawlessness and added “since 2014, there has been an increase in the percentage of children participating in the armed clashes” and explained that the most prominent reasons are “the collapse of state’s institutions following Houthi’s taking place over the power and increasing the battlefields from four to twelve governorate.”

The UNICEF spokesperson in Yemen, Mohammed Al-Asaadi, said in TV interview that carrying a weapon is considered manly in the Yemeni culture, which attracts children.

“Internal conflicts drive parties associated to conflict recruit militants as much as possible. In addition, poverty forces parents to send their children to war for money to afford basic living needs.” Added Mohamed Al-Asaadi.

Regardless of how children are recruited and of their roles, they are victims subjected to harm, injury or even death. They participate in armed conflict and many are forced to commit violent acts in the balles, which lead some to suffer serious long-term psychological consequences. The reintegration of these children into civilian life will become difficult.

Julien Harneis, a UNICEF representative in Yemen, warned in a press statement of the dangers of exposing children to death by Houthi-Saleh militias that use children in the battles and said that the number of children who were recruited last year by armed groups and killed was 156, while it has already doubled to 318 in the current year.

In this regard, Al Qurashi said that the Houthi’s coup cause failure of all initiative and efforts including the action plan signed and committed between Yemen and the United Nations in May last year to release all children identified in the ranks of security forces. However, due to the recent crisis and the Houthi invasion of Sanaa and other Yemeni governorates aborted implementation of the action plan and the collective national efforts to prevent the recruitment of children.

Coups Destroyed Hospitals and Used Them for Military Purposes

The condition of health sector in Yemen witnessed further severe deterioration following the armed coup by Houthi-Saleh coalition and taking over the state’s institutions including health institutions that affected by blatant violations by the coup militias in addition to destruction of hospitals and medal facilities. Thus, the medical aid was obstructed for the reach of those who in need and

The Security Council reports documented the repeated violations including using central hospitals, dispensary and medical facilities for military purpose.

“UN verified 59 incidents of attacks on 34 hospitals with multiple attacks on the same facilities, especially in Aden and Ta’izz. The Houthis were responsible for the majority of attacks. In Aden, six facilities were attacked ten times. In Ta’izz, three health facilities were hit in 23 separate incidents by Houthis.” The report explained

Meanwhile, the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre is leading the international efforts to rebuild hospitals and health sector in Yemen through organized programs to promote the medical and therapeutic services damaged by the Houthis raids. The aim is to provide equipment and supplies in addition to invite the Yemeni at home and overseas to join its programs in Yemen.

The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre(KSrelief) has sent more than 58 trucks carrying more than 600 tons of medical and therapeutic supplies to all Yemeni governorates, starting with Aden and Marib.

KSreliefsupports the recovery of the epidemic of dengue fever through implementing an electronic system for early warning of the cases in 1,242 health regions covering 312 directorates. KSrelieftrains 2,500 health workers affiliated to early detection and warning centers for emergencies preparedness.In addition to campaigns to spray insecticidein several governorate and the dedicate hot lines to notify of emergencies and disease outbreaks, including dengue fever.

KSreliefalso provided 12 million vaccines for Yemeni children against measles, rubella, tetanus and whooping cough.

The crisis of lack of petroleum products constituted a great challenge and threat to the operation of health facilities, operating rooms, incubators and other services. KSrelief, in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO), also helped to overcome such challenge and provided basic services such as vaccines coolers, diabetes and cancer medicines, blood banksand operating rooms through the provision of 1,300,000 liters of fuel for 88 hospitals and health facilities in 19 governorates.

The KSRelief was able in cooperation with WHO to test, treat and educate large numbers of the population. They also treated 17,280 children. KSReliefheld a series of health acculturation sessions to benefit 3,528 people, provided support for treating nutrition centers in seven provinces, including Aden, Lahij and Taiz, secured basic medicines and provided specialized training courses as part of the acute malnutrition program for Yemeni children.

About the author

Jaymin Shah

Jaymin Shah is a tech entrepreneur. He is the Founder & CEO of TechOptimals. He has made a name for himself in the tech media world as a writer relentlessly covering Technology, in addition to a broad range of startups. Contact Jaymin at

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