UN Drafts ’List of Shame’, not Clear about Saudi-led Aggression School Bus Bombing in Yemen
According to AFP agency, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is due to release the annual ‘list of shame’ later this month ahead of a Security Council meeting on children and armed conflicts scheduled for Aug 2nd. “An upcoming United Nations (UN) report featuring a blacklist of child rights violators is expected to refrain from toughening criticism of the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen despite a bus bombing last year that killed scores of children,” according to diplomats.
The coalition was put on the UN blacklist in 2016 and later removed after Saudi Arabia reacted furiously, threatening to cut funding to UN programs. To appease Riyadh, the United Nations split the list into two sections in 2017 and put the coalition on “Section B” – which highlights efforts by the Saudi-led group to avoid killing and maiming children in Yemen.
According to diplomats with knowledge of the report, Guterres has received a draft recommendation from his UN envoy who determined that the coalition should remain on the separate section of the list that recognizes measures taken to avoid targeting children. This recommendation comes after 40 children were killed in August last year when their bus was attacked in Sa’ada governorate. The coalition admitted that “mistakes” were made in targeting the school bus.
The UN envoy for children and armed conflict, Virgina Gamba, also recommended that the armed forces of Myanmar, Syria and South Sudan be moved to the sub-section of the list to recognize measures that they have taken to protect children, according to the diplomats. It remains unclear if Guterres will endorse the recommendations of his envoy in his final report, but rights groups expressed dismay.
“Secretary-General Guterres should not mince words when it comes to calling out the perpetrators behind these crimes and must put all violators on a single ‘list of shame’,” said Adrianne Lapar, program director at Watch list on Children and Conflict, a coalition of NGOs. “As long as Saudi- and Emirati-led airstrikes keep killing and wounding children in Yemen, the coalition doesn’t deserve any praise for its empty promises to protect them,” she said.
“In 2018 and into 2019, the Saudi-led coalition continued to carry out well-documented attacks on schools and hospitals, as well as other grave violations against children in Yemen,” said Louis Charbonneau, UN director for Human Rights Watch.