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UNITED NATIONS: UN experts say in a new report that nearly 2,000 children recruited by Yemen’s Houthi militia died on the battlefield between January 2020 and May 2021, and Iran-backed rebels continue to organize camps and courses encouraging young people to fight.

In the report to the UN Security Council released on Saturday, experts said they had investigated summer camps at schools and a mosque where the Houthis spread their ideology and sought to recruit child combatants in the war. seven years with the internationally recognized government of Yemen, which is supported by the Coalition to Restore Legitimacy in Yemen.

“Children are instructed to shout the Houthi slogan ‘Death to America, Death to Israel, Curse the Jews, Victory to Islam’,” the four-member panel said. “In one camp, children as young as 7 years old learned to clean weapons and avoid rockets.

Experts said they documented 10 cases where children were taken into combat after being told they would be enrolled in cultural classes or were already taking such classes, nine cases where humanitarian aid was provided or denied to families.” solely on the basis of whether or not their children participated in the fighting or to teachers whether or not they were teaching the Houthi curriculum,” and a case where sexual violence was committed against a child who had undergone military training.

The panel said it received a list of 1,406 Houthi-recruited children who died in battle in 2020 and a list of 562 rebel-recruited children who died in battle between January and May 2021.

“They were between 10 and 17 years old,” the experts said, and “a significant number” of them were killed in Amran, Dhamar, Hajjah, Hodeidah, Ibb, Saada and Sanaa.

Yemen has been embroiled in civil war since 2014, when the Houthis took the capital Sanaa and much of the north of the country, forcing the government to flee south and then to Saudi Arabia. This led to the formation of a coalition of Arab states, now called the Coalition to Restore Legitimacy in Yemen, in 2015, seeking to restore the government to power.

The conflict has created the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, leaving millions to suffer food and medical shortages and pushing the country to the brink of famine.

In recent weeks, shifting frontlines on the ground have led to an escalation in attacks following gains by pro-government forces in the disputed province of Marib, which the Houthis have been trying to take for more than a year. The coalition airstrikes followed two Houthi attacks inside the United Arab Emirates using missiles and drones, killing three people in strikes near Abu Dhabi International Airport.

The panel of experts said the Houthis have continued their air and sea attacks on Saudi Arabia, with targets near the border being the most at risk and usually being attacked several times a week with a combination of unmanned drones and short-range artillery rockets. But the rebels also continue to strike deep inside Saudi Arabia less frequently using longer-range drones as well as cruise and ballistic missiles, they said.

In the Red Sea, experts said, waterborne improvised explosive devices have been used to attack commercial ships at anchor in Saudi ports, in some cases more than 1,000 kilometers from the Yemeni coast.

“It seems almost certain that these devices were launched from a ‘mothership,’ which would have towed the devices for most of the voyage,” they said.

“The purpose of these attacks was primarily political, that is, the Houthis want to push Riyadh to accept a political settlement that would benefit them,” the experts said. “This contrasts sharply with the use of missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles in Yemen, the aim of which is often to achieve maximum lethality.”

The 303-page report says violations of international humanitarian and human rights law are “the norm rather than the exception” in the conflict in Yemen, citing arbitrary arrests and detentions, enforced disappearances, torture and ill-treatment “committed by all parties”.

Migrants continue to be particularly vulnerable to abuse and human rights violations, experts said, and in Houthi-controlled areas, detention and the justice system are used “to suppress any perceived opposition or dissent, particularly by journalists, women and religious minorities”.

The UN’s annual report, covering the year to December 5, 2021, says the Houthis and paramilitary forces loyal to them continue to violate the UN arms embargo.

“Most types of unmanned aerial vehicles, water improvised explosive devices and short-range rockets are assembled in Houthi-controlled areas using locally available materials, as well as commercial components, such as engines and electronic components, which are sourced overseas using a complex network of intermediaries in Europe, the Middle East and Asia,” the panel said.

Experts said evidence shows that weapon components and other military equipment “continue to be supplied overland to Houthi forces by individuals and entities based in Oman.”

Oman, which borders Yemen, remains neutral in the war and is the only country in the region other than Iran to have relations with the Houthis.

The United States and Saudi Arabia have accused Iran of supplying weapons to the Houthis in violation of the arms embargo. Experts have reported the seizure of some Iranian-made weapons, but Iran denies any involvement in supplying arms to the rebels.

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