Government forces, including Yemeni armed forces, and four non-State armed groups are listed in the annexes of the Secretary-General’s (SG) 2020 annual report on children and armed conflict (CAAC) for committing grave violations against children. In April, the Security Council will receive its monthly briefing on the implementation of Resolutions 2534 (2020) and 2451 (2018). In January, the Panel of Experts on Yemen (PoE) released its final report, pursuant to SCR 2511 (2020), which found that “all parties continue to commit egregious violations of international humanitarian law [IHL] and international human rights law [IHRL],” and “there has been no significant initiative to hold perpetrators of violations to account.” Briefing the Council on March 16, Special Envoy Martin Griffiths warned that one million internally displaced persons are among the civilians at risk as Houthi and Government forces clash in Marib and urged resuming an inclusive political process as a humanitarian priority. At the same briefing, Under-Secretary-General Mark Lowcock warned that Yemen is “speeding towards a massive famine” and lamented that the recent donor conference raised less than half of the needed funds to fulfill the humanitarian response plan. New analysis by Save the Children reveals that children have made up nearly one quarter of all civilian casualties in Yemen over the past six years since the war began. Between 2018 and 2020, there were 2,341 confirmed child casualties, though the true number is likely higher. According to UNICEF, at least eight children have been killed and 33 more injured in attacks since the beginning of March, and a school and a hospital were attacked in Taiz governorate. The Security Council should:

  • Strongly condemn escalating violence, including violations against children, and reiterate demands for a general and immediate cessation of hostilities, in line with the SG’s appeal for a global ceasefire, per SCR 2532 (2020) and SCR 2565(2021), as well as respect for IHL, and full, safe, and unhindered humanitarian access;
  • Call on parties to urgently work towards a comprehensive and inclusive peace process that includes meaningful child participation and protection measures, pursuant to SCR 2427 (2018) and drawing on the Practical Guidance for Mediators;
  • In accordance with recommendations from both the UN Group of Eminent International and Regional Experts (GEE) and the PoE, integrate human rights and accountability dimensions of the conflict in Yemen into the Council’s regular monthly meeting on Yemen, including a focused discussion on potential mechanisms for accountability, justice, and redress for violations of international law;
  • As recommended by the GEE, refer the situation in Yemen to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to ensure accountability for acts that may amount to war crimes;
  • Call on all parties to swiftly and fully implement the recommendations of the Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict, as elaborated in its second conclusions on the situation of children and armed conflict in Yemen, in particular the need for parties to sign and fully implement action plans with the UN to address and prevent grave violations of children’s rights.

The United Kingdom is the lead country on Yemen.

This information is based on Watchlist’s Children and Armed Conflict Monthly Update: April 2021.


UN Action

Year listed: 2011
Action Plans signed: Yemen Armed Forces – recruitment and use of children (May 2014)
Sanctions Committee: 2140 Sanctions Committee (Current Chair: Saint Vincent and the Grenadines)
Secretary-General’s reports on CAAC in Yemen: 20212019; 2013
Security Council Working Group conclusions on Yemen: 2020; 2013

Perpetrators listed in the annexes of the Secretary-General’s annual reports on children and armed conflict

2001 2002 2003 2005 2006 2007 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
Al-Houthi/Ansar Allah* a a a a a,b,d a,b,d
Pro-Government militias, including the Salafists and Popular Committees* a a a a a a a
Breakaway First Armoured Division (FAD) a
Yemeni armed forces (YAF)~ a a a a
Al-Qaida in the Arab Peninsula (AQIP) a a a a
Ansar al-Sharia* a a a a a
Government forces, including the Yemeni Armed Forces, the First Armoured Division, the Military Police, the special security forces and Republican Guards ~ * a a a a a
Coalition to restore legitimacy in Yemen led by Saudi Arabia** b,d

a: Parties that recruit and use children
b: Parties that kill and maim children
c: Parties that commit rape and other forms of sexual violence against children

d: Parties that engage in attacks on schools and/or hospitals
e: Parties that engage in abduction of children
f: Parties that deny humanitarian access to children

~ This party has concluded an action plan with the United Nations in line with Security Council resolutions 1539 (2004) and 1612 (2005).
* This party has been in the annexes for at least five years and is therefore considered a persistent perpetrator.
**First listed as the Saudi Arabia-led coalition for killing and maiming and attacks on schools and hospitals in the 2016 report but removed on 24 June 2016 per addendum A/70/836/ADD.1-S/2016/360/ADD.1