In September, the Working Group received the Secretary-General’s (SG) third report on children and armed conflict in Yemen (S/2021/761), covering the reporting period from January 2019 to December 2020. During this period, the CTFMR verified 8,526 grave violations committed against 3,503 children (2,698 boys, 805 girls) – a significant increase in the number of violations per year as compared to the previous report (S/2019/453). Access restrictions due to insecurity, threats, and movement restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic presented challenges to monitoring and verification during the reporting period. The most prevalent violations were denial of humanitarian access (4,881), killing and maiming (1,889 boys, 723 girls), and recruitment and use (789 boys, 72 girls). The Houthis were found responsible for the majority of verified violations (62 percent), followed by Yemeni armed forces (12 percent) and the Saudi- and Emirati-led Coalition (7 percent). The CTFMR also verified 14 incidents of rape and other forms of sexual violence, 72 attacks on schools (37) and hospitals (35), 80 incidents of military use of schools, and 86 abductions. At least 111 boys were deprived of their liberty for their alleged association with opposing parties to conflict. Mortar and artillery shelling, ground fighting, and mines and explosive remnants of war (ERW) were the main causes of child casualties. The Working Group should:

  • Strongly condemn all violations and abuses committed against children in Yemen, demand that all parties uphold their obligations under international humanitarian law (IHL) and human rights law (IHRL), taking concrete measures to prevent and, in any case, minimize child casualties, and call for immediate and concrete steps to hold all perpetrators accountable;
  • 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), and 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;
  • Demand that all parties facilitate immediate, safe, and unimpeded delivery of humanitarian aid to children and other civilians in need;
  • Remind all parties that children associated with armed groups should be treated primarily as victims, including those children actually or allegedly associated with groups designated as terrorist and those children who may have committed crimes; their reintegration should be prioritized in line with international juvenile justice standards; and detention of children should only be used as a last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time;
  • Call on the Government of Yemen to implement fully and without delay the 2018 roadmap aimed at revitalizing its action plan to end and prevent child recruitment and use; call on the Coalition to fully and swiftly implement its 2019 memorandum of understanding and related program of activities; and urge all parties to conflict who have not already done so to engage with the UN to sign and implement action plans to end and prevent all six grave violations against children.

This information is based on Watchlist’s Children and Armed Conflict Monthly Update: November 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