Ending Child-Related War Crimes – The Organization for World Peace

A two-month peace truce in Yemen, which initially took effect on April 2, 2022, recently added an end to war crimes against children to the ceasefire plan. Initially, the truce was intended to end the country’s devastating war between the Yemeni government and Houthi rebels; and the two sides agreed to end military operations in Yemen and surrounding areas as part of the ceasefire. Tankers can enter ports in the Hudayah region and allow commercial flights to operate in the county capital, Sana’a, to pre-determined destinations.

The two sides also agreed to meet under the UN special envoy to open roads in Tiaz.

On April 18, the Houthis signed an action plan with the UN to prevent war crimes against children. Virginia Gamba, Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict (CAAC), announced that the United Nations welcomes this action plan. The recently updated truce includes an end to the recruitment of children into armed conflict, the killing and maiming of children, and an end to attacks on schools and hospitals.

Children in Yemen have suffered severe conflict and abuse. As War Child Holland reported, around 7.4 million children are affected by war, and many more are in need of humanitarian assistance. About 4.7 million children are out of school, as schools and hospitals are often the target of airstrikes.

As CAAC reported, Virginia Gamba said “the Houthis have pledged to stop recruiting and using children, including in supporting roles – releasing them from their ranks within six months and providing reintegration support.

Preventive and mutilating measures and the protection of health and education facilities are included in the truce. According to the CAAC, approximately 10,200 children have been killed or injured, and nearly 3,500 children are used in measures of armed conflict.

Security General Antonio Guterres addressed the United Nations in New York and praised the two sides for reaching a truce of peace:I urge all parties to take the necessary steps to support the successful implementation of the truce and to operationalize cooperation mechanisms without delay.

The civil war began internally, between government forces and Houthi rebels, but quickly spilled over into conflict between competing regional powers. As War Child Holland reported, Yemeni citizens are frequently attacked by Islamic State and Saudi-led coalition forces airstrikes. The war triggered an economic collapse that left millions on the brink of starvation. About 24 million people, or about 80% of the country’s population, are in need of humanitarian assistance.

Let’s hope that this truce will lead to peace for Yemen and the civilians of the country. Gundberg, the UN envoy, plans to intensify his work with both sides over the next two months to reach a definitive ceasefire. He also hopes to address the humanitarian steps necessary for success.

Aubrey L. Morgan