Under intense pressure from the Saudi Arabian government, the U.N. Secretary General removed the U.S.-backed, Saudi-led coalition in Yemen from a blacklist of child-killers only 72 hours after the list was made public.
The coalition had been listed in the appendix of the U.N’s annual report on children and armed conflict, under “parties that kill or maim children,” and “parties that engage in attacks on schools and/or hospitals.”
According to the report, at least 785 children were killed and 1,168 injured in Yemen last year alone, 60 percent by coalition airstrikes. The report documents dozens of coalition attacks against Yemeni schools and hospitals.
Saudi Arabia is an unlikely but powerful voice in U.N. human rights deliberations. Last year, despite carrying out a record number of beheadings, the kingdom became the chair of the U.N.’s 47-nation Human Rights Council – a decision which met with international outrage, but that the U.S. said it “welcomed.”
In a press conference outside the United Nations Security Council headquarters on Monday, the Saudi ambassador to the U.N. reacted angrily to the child-killing report, and requested that it “be corrected immediately so it does not reflect the accusations that have been made against the coalition.”