Houthi militia.. Recruiting children outside international norms and laws

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September Net

The Iranian-backed Houthi militia continues to recruit children, violating children’s rights and international laws and norms.

Large numbers of children recruited by the Houthi militia in past months have recently been captured by the army and the popular resistance in Marib, Al-Jawf, and east of Sana’a.

The army is not delayed in handing over these captured children to psychological and social rehabilitation centers.

In Yemen the Houthi rebel militia over-matched the issue of recruiting children in its wars since 2004 so far. The Houthis adopted the strategy of recruiting children in special camps, where they are subjected to intensive religious Shiite sessions which make them extremists and very obedient to their leadership and ready to fight for them happily.

Beside religious lessons, those children are subjected to combating training, to learn the art of war and the use of weapons and other matters required by the rebellions in the field.

Reports indicate that the Iran-backed Houthi rebel militia is more than other militia in using children in wars, where children represent one third of the Houthi militia fighters.

Children are distributed on the fighting fronts and sites, militia’s headquarters and security points.

Human Rights Watch Organization said in a report that some of the children, who are recruited by the Iran-backed Houthi rebel militia are not exceeding the age of 13 years, and that the proportion of child combatants in the lines of the militia represents about one third; mostly from the northern provinces of Yemen.

The Houthi rebels resort to recruit children, because they are not able to convince the elderly ones to fight for them. It is reported that the Houthis used to force families to send their children to fight. Also, poverty plays an essential role in the hunt for the children, throwing them in the Houthis’ sectarianism wars.

Although the international law criminalizes the recruitment of children, as well as the statute of the international criminal court incriminates the involvement of children in wars, but the Iran-backed Houthi rebel militia does not care about this issue. Perhaps because it realized throughout the past years that the United Nations organization condones such crimes and does not punish the perpetrators, which encouraged the militia to continue in the recruitment of children.

The minister of human rights of Yemen declared that Yemen has become among countries, which tops the list of the recruitment of children and human rights violations. The real problem is that the Houthis do not believe in the rights of children, and the consequent tragedies of these child militants and their feelings.

The Convention of the Rights of the Child, and the Protocol thereto, read that the armed groups in any country, in any circumstances, are not allowed to recruit or use persons under the age of 18 in hostilities. However, the issue of involving children in wars stills a concern to the Yemeni provinces still under the Houthi militia control, which threatens the future of the coming generations.


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