Saudis appear to have been given a free pass to bomb schools and hospitals in Yemen, a report said about UN’s move to remove the Saudi-led coalition from a blacklist over killing Yemen children.
The Guardian said the move came following pressure by Saudi which used its influence at the UN based on their funding of key UN agencies.
“By Monday, Saudi Arabia had been removed them from the list, erasing much of the UN’s credibility when it comes to defending human rights,” the report said.
The UN rapporteurs had found that the coalition was directly responsible for 60% of child casualties from the fighting last year, including the deaths of 510 children from bombing campaigns. They authenticated 49 bombings of schools and hospitals by Saudi Arabia in Yemen in 2015.
“However, despite the evidence, the Saudis appear to have been given a free pass. Unlike the usual suspects who feature on the secretary general’s annual report on children affected by armed conflict (pdf), the Saudis have powerful friends including the UK and the US – both permanent members of the security council.”
“They also have other points of influence at the UN based on their funding of key UN agencies, including Unicef (pdf) – the body responsible for promoting the adoption of the UN convention of the rights of the child,” the report added.
“In the face of all this pressure, the secretary general appears to have blinked first, betraying the most vulnerable people on the planet – the children whom this process is designed to protect.”
The Guardian said that the UN appears to be acting “as a club for the rich and powerful… covering up for the violations committed by its member states.”
“For War Child, which works so hard to keep children safe in the most dangerous circumstances, it is further evidence that we cannot rely on the UN to do the right thing and stand with those most at risk.”
The report stressed meanwhile, that the UK should stop its support from this coalition, to ban sales of arms to Saudi Arabia, and to stand up for the international humanitarian laws it has committed itself to.