Bangladesh’s friend Saudi Arabia blacklisted for killing children in Yemen
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon censured the Saudi Arabia-led coalition fighting in Yemen for killing and maiming children by adding it to an annual blacklist of states and armed groups that violate children’s rights during conflict, Reuters said.
The coalition, of which Bangladesh is a key member, was responsible for 60 percent of child deaths and injuries last year, killing 510 and wounding 667, according to Ban’s report released on Thursday.
The report also said the coalition carried out half the attacks on schools and hospitals.
The Saudi-led coalition began a military campaign in Yemen in March last year with the aim of preventing Iran-allied Houthi rebels and forces loyal to Yemen’s ex-President Ali Abdullah Saleh from taking control of the country.
“Grave violations against children increased dramatically as a result of the escalating conflict,” Ban said in the report.
“In Yemen, owing to the very large number of violations attributed to the two parties, the Houthis/Ansar Allah and the Saudi Arabia-led coalition are listed for killing and maiming and attacks on schools and hospitals,” he said.
The Houthis, Yemen government forces and pro-government militia have been on the U.N. blacklist for at least five years and are considered “persistent perpetrators.” Also appearing again on the list is al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
Saudi Arabia is a key partner of subsequent governments in Bangladesh for the remittance sent by migrant workers engaged in different fields but a large number of them are facing discrimination, torture and sexual abuse. The gravest situation is faced by the women who go there to work as housemaids.
It is also accused of supporting Jamaat-e-Islami’s Bangladesh chapter and funding extremism.
The UN report was published just a day before Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s Saudi visit after seven years.
Recently the Bangladesh cabinet decided to stand by the side of Saudi Arabia to fight terrorists who threatened to attack Mecca and Medina, and if needed, Bangladesh will send troops to Saudi Arabia.