Yemeni leaders committed to end recruiting child soldiers, informs UN official

Tuesday, December 04, 2012
UN Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict,
Leila Zerrougui, briefing reporters about her visit to Yemen
[PHOTO: UNifeed] 
New York: Briefing reporters on her recent trip to Yemen, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Leila Zerrougui said that all sides in the recent conflict there had committed to end the recruitment and use of child soldiers.

Zerrougui noted that "all parties involved in the conflict" including the Yemeni Armed Forces, the First Armed Division, Al Houti and tribal militias, had recruited children during the 2011 conflict.

The Special Representative said her three-day mission in Yemen, at the invitation of the Government, was productive because she was able to meet with all the parties involved in the use of child soldiers.

Zerrougui said the most important outcome of her mission to Yemen was what she described as the strong commitment from the government to stop the use of child soldiers.

She said she had met with President Abd al-Rab Mansur al-Hadi and had "discussed what we are expecting him to do," including issuing a statement that would "consider recruitment as unlawful."

Zerrougui said the she had also obtained a commitment from Prime Minister Mohammed Basindawa who "accepted the principles of the action plan."

The Special Representative said the situation in Yemen is very tense and children continue to pay a very high price in the conflict and instability in the country.

She compared the situation with the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) where she was previously the Deputy Special Representative.

She said in the DRC the UN Mission, known as MONUSCO, had "put in place a system of screening, physical screening of children" and had made clear to the Government that the Mission "cannot support an army with children inside."

The Yemeni Revolution in 2011 followed similar movements throughout the Middle East region and ended with Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh withdrawing from running for re-election. -UNifeed
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