The information below is based on the Report of the Secretary-General to the Security Council (A/69/926–S/2015/409) issued on 5 June 2015.
During the reporting period, the security situation deteriorated significantly in the northern governorates where Al Houthi/Ansar Allah (hereinafter Ansar Allah) expanded its presence. Armed clashes took place between the Yemeni Armed Forces and Islah-backed pro-Government tribal militias and tribal armed groups, against Ansar Allah and Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). The situation in the southern governorates also remained tense and armed clashes took place in Al Dhale’e. A mass offensive was conducted by YAF against AQAP and Ansar Al Sharia’, and clashes continued in Aden between Al Hirak (a southern cessation movement) supporters and the security forces. As at April 2015, an international coalition had launched airstrikes against Ansar Allah, which reportedly resulted in a significant number of child casualties.
The United Nations verified a significant increase from 2013 of recruitment and use of children, with a total of 156 boys recruited and used between the ages of 9 and 17. The majority (140) of cases were perpetrated by Ansar Allah with a highly visible presence. The United Nations observed and documented armed children manning checkpoints, being present on armed vehicles and guarding buildings. Following Ansar Allah’s expansion into the capital in September, distinguishing between members of YAF and Ansar Allah became increasingly challenging, particularly at checkpoints. Eleven boys between the ages of 16 and 17 were recruited and used by Islah-backed tribal militias aligned with the Government or Salafists, all except two of them in the frontlines. An additional four boys were verified as joining tribal armed groups in Al Bayda governorate.
The numbers of child casualties increased significantly from the previous reporting period, with 74 children (56 boys, 18 girls) killed and 244 (176 boys, 68 girls) maimed. Child casualties due to mines and other explosive devices more than doubled, with 10 children killed and 54 maimed. Ansar Allah was targeted and attacked, including by two suicide bombings that killed 14 and injured 25 boys. A total of 14 children were killed and 30 maimed by six improvised explosive devices, including an attack on an Ansar Allah checkpoint. Another 10 children were killed and 37 injured due to shelling, and 2 boys and 3 girls were maimed as a result of aerial bombings, including one drone strike on 29 September in Al Jawf, which maimed 1 boy and 2 girls.
Nine boys were detained by Ansar Allah as they reportedly conducted “law enforcement operations”. Six other incidents of detention by Ansar Allah were also verified involving six boys. four of whom were detained for their alleged association with Islah, and one because of his father’s association with Islah.
The United Nations verified 35 attacks against schools. For example, all 10 schools attacked in Amanah Al Asimah governorate were destroyed during clashes that took place in September between Ansar Allah and YAF and pro-Government tribal militias. Nine attacks were attributed to YAF and eight to Ansar Allah. In many cases schools were forced to close completely.
The United Nations verified 13 attacks against hospitals by Ansar Allah and YAF, which severely hampered the provision of medical services. For example, on 21 January, a hospital in Al Dhale’e district was shelled by YAF, resulting in the death of a 45-day-old boy and injury to his 2-year-old sister while they were trying to escape the shelling with their father.
Ninety-two schools were verified as being used for military purposes by armed forces and groups with the majority of schools being used by Ansar Allah for providing accommodation or as weapons’ storage. In response to that trend, the Ministry of Education and Governorate Education Offices, supported by the United Nations, established task forces on education in emergency, which vacated at least 25 schools used by Ansar Allah.
In total, 43 denials of humanitarian access were verified. In a positive development, a United Nations staff member kidnapped by an unknown armed group was released in November after 13 months in captivity.
On 14 May, in a ceremony attended by my Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, the Government of Yemen signed an action plan with the United Nations to end and further prevent the recruitment and use of children by YAF. Within a month after the signing ceremony, follow-up mechanisms were established in accordance with the action plan. In a welcome development, following engagement by the United Nations with the Constitutional Drafting Committee, the draft constitution issued in January 2015 includes the prohibition of voluntary recruitment of all persons under the age of 18. The final version of a draft action plan to end the recruitment and use of children by Ansar Allah was endorsed by their Human Rights and Civil Society Office, which was reportedly shared with the office of Abdul Malik Badrealdeen Al Houthi. Since the eruption of violence in early 2015 all progress on actions plans and on ending violations has been put on hold.
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
The parties underlined have been in the annexes for at least five years and are therefore considered persistent perpetrators. (a) Parties that recruit and use children. *This party has concluded an action plan with the United Nations in line with Security Council resolutions 1539 (2004) and 1612 (2005).