Yemen

The information below is based on the Report of the Secretary-General to the Security Council (A/68/878–S/2014/339) issued on 15 May 2014.

The reporting period was marked by the beginning of the National Dialogue Conference and by a decrease in hostilities between the Government and Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)/Ansar al-Sharia. The security situation remained volatile in the South, due to the activities of the secession movement led by Al‑Hirak, opposing the Transitional Government and the Conference. In August 2013, tensions resurfaced between the Salafists and the Al-Houthi/Ansar Allah in the North, resulting in the siege of Dammaj, Sa’ada governorate, by Al‑Houthi/Ansar Allah.

The United Nations verified the recruitment of 106 children, all boys between 6 and 17 years of age. The Salafists recruited 57 boys to fight against the Al-Houthi/
Ansar Allah in Dammaj, Sa’ada governorate. Children were mainly recruited during recruitment drives in mosques and marketplaces in the southern governorates of Abyan, Aden, Al Dhale, Amran, and Lahj and, in a few cases, received military training. While 22 of the 57 boys were pulled out by family members and returned home, at least 2 were killed in combat and 2 remained in Dammaj at the time of reporting. Thirty-two boys were observed manning Al-Houthi/Ansar Allah checkpoints, carrying firearms and inspecting vehicles in Sa’ada and Amran governorates. One boy, 11 years old, reported having received two months of military and ideological training. Reluctance of victims’ families to expose themselves by reporting on violations by the Al-Houthi/Ansar Allah remained a challenge to monitoring. Finally, 14 children were recruited by AQAP/Ansar
al-Sharia in Abyan governorate and three boys were used by the Al‑Islah party and the Popular Committee, a locally rooted resistance group, which aligned with the Government to fight AQAP/Ansar al-Sharia in Abyan. In addition, 10 children recruited prior to the reporting period, including due to falsified identity documents, continued to be used in support roles by the Yemeni Armed Forces in 2013.

Nine boys were arbitrarily detained by the Popular Committee for alleged association with AQAP/Ansar al-Sharia in 2013. After the Government regained control over Abyan in June 2012, the Popular Committee served as a de facto police force, “arresting” and “rehabilitating” suspected AQAP/Ansar al-Sharia elements, including children.

At least 36 children were killed and 154 others maimed. Child casualties occurred mainly in the governorate of Sa’ada, but also in 12 other governorates throughout Yemen. Most child casualties resulted from gunshots (17 killed and
63 injured) and shelling (10 killed and 56 injured) during clashes between armed groups and between armed groups and Government forces. For example, since August, the clashes in Dammaj between Al-Houthi/Ansar Allah and the Salafists resulted in at least 20 child casualties. At least five children were injured in attacks using terror tactics, including incidents involving improvised explosive devices and one suicide attack. Another 20 child casualties were attributed to the “civil disobedience movement” initiated by Al-Hirak in southern Yemen and at least
10 children were injured in clashes between armed tribes. Explosive remnants of war continued to pose a threat to children, killing and maiming at least 28 in 2013, including in Abyan, Sa’ada, and Aden governorates. Finally, on 9 June, one boy was killed in a drone attack in Al-Jawf.

Thirty-five attacks on schools, on protected personnel, or threats against protected personnel were documented in 2013. For example, on 27 December, the national armed forces shelled a school where a funeral was held, resulting in more than 30 casualties, including 2 boys killed and 10 boys injured. Four attacks on schools in Amran, for example the damage to Aisha primary school in crossfire, resulted from clashes between Al-Houthi/Ansar Allah and the Salafists. Al-Hirak was responsible for the majority of documented incidents, in particular threats against protected personnel. For instance, Shamsan school, in Aden governorate, was forcibly entered by Al-Hirak youth groups, destroying the gate, and demanding closure of the school and support for the civil disobedience movement. In a separate incident, in Sa’ada governorate, a timed improvised explosive device was detected inside a school and detonated safely.

The United Nations documented the military use of four schools by both
Al-Houthi/Ansar Allah and the Salafists, including as military barracks and during clashes in Sa’ada, Amran and Aden governorates, resulting in the closure of the schools since October 2013. One school in Amran was used by the national armed forces as barracks from 19 January to 1 March 2013. Also in Amran, four schools were used and destroyed by armed elements of the Al-Osimat and Qaflat Uthar tribes.

Six attacks on hospitals and protected personnel were documented, including the partial destruction of four hospitals during a complex attack by AQAP/Ansar
al-Sharia on 5 December in Sana’a, resulting in the death of 57 people and injury to 186 others. Two hospitals were partially destroyed in crossfire between Al-Houthi/
Ansar Allah and the Salafists. Government forces were responsible for damage to a hospital and attacks on protected personnel in the context of dispersing Al-Hirak elements in Al Dhale’e and Hadramaut governorates.

Twenty-two incidents of denial of humanitarian access and attacks on humanitarian personnel were verified, mainly attributed to unknown armed groups and, in some cases, to Al-Houthi/Ansar Allah and Government forces. Of particular concern was the abduction of 11 humanitarian personnel in seven incidents. Two United Nations staff remained abducted at the time of reporting. From October to November, humanitarian access to Dammaj and three IDP camps was denied by
Al-Houthi/Ansar Allah during clashes with the Salafists.

Following the visit of my Special Representative in November 2012 and the Government’s commitment to address grave violations against children in Yemen, dialogue on an action plan to end and prevent the recruitment of children by the national armed forces continued in 2013. On 1 January, the Government established an interministerial committee, which, by July, had developed and endorsed a draft action plan. At the time of reporting, despite its adoption by the Cabinet on 4 September 2013, the action plan was pending signature owing to ongoing discussions regarding monitoring access. Meanwhile, the United Nations continued to promote relevant legal reforms and advocated, in the context of the National Dialogue Conference, for 18 as the minimum age for recruitment. In October, an implementation plan to accelerate birth registration was launched by the Government, addressing an existing loophole in recruitment mechanisms. Furthermore, the United Nations continued to engage in dialogue with Al-Houthi/Ansar Allah at the time of reporting based on a draft action plan to end and prevent the recruitment and use of children.

Parties in Yemen

1.       Al-Houthi/Ansar Allaha
2.       Al-Qaida in the Arab Peninsula (AQIP)/Ansar al-Shariaa
3.       Government forces, including the Yemeni Armed Forces, the First Armoured Division, the Military Police, the special security forces and Republican Guardsa
4.       Pro-Government militias, including the Salafists and Popular Committeesa

(a) Parties that recruit and use children.