United Nations leader urged to blacklist Saudi Arabia over child deaths in Yemen

Middle East Online

The Saudi-led coalition had been named on the blacklist previous year after the United Nations report blamed it for 60 percent of child deaths and injuries in Yemen in 2015 and half the attacks on schools and hospital.

"The Yemeni people's suffering has relentlessly intensified", he told the UN Security Council yesterday.

The United Nations has worked to avert attacks on Hodeidah port, where around 80 percent of Yemen's food imports arrive.

Yemen, which is on the southern edge of the Arabian Peninsula, has been engulfed in civil war since September 2014, when Houthi Shiite rebels swept into the capital Sanaa and overthrew President Abed-Rabbo Mansour Hadi's internationally recognised government. The Houthi movement denies the allegations.

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In March 2015, a Saudi-led coalition began a campaign in support of Hadi's government and against Houthi forces allied with ousted President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Yemen was hit more more airstrikes in the first half of this year than in the whole of 2016, increasing the number of civilian deaths and forcing more people to flee their homes, worldwide humanitarian agencies reported.

Despite global support for a peaceful settlement, certain parties in the conflict continued to "place personal interests ahead of the urgent need for peace", said Cheikh Ahmed, who briefed the Security Council via video link from Amman, Jordan.

Al Qaeda has exploited the conflict to try to deepen its influence in Yemen, repeatedly launching bomb and gun attacks.

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O'Brien called for the opening of all ports, including land, sea and air, to civilian traffic to allow in aid, as well as for parties to the conflict to respect global human and human rights law. Sanaa and Hodeidah best serve the north, not Aden.

Before the conflict, Yemen had been making progress, with fewer people hungry and rising school enrolment, O'Brien said in his statement.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said that the number of suspected cholera cases in Yemen has reached half a million, while the death toll has exceeded 2,000.

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