Rights Groups Urge UN to Put Saudi Arabia Back on Blacklist
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Twenty human rights groups urged United Nations Chief Ban Ki-moon to put a Saudi Arabia back on a UN blacklist for killing and maiming children in its aggression against Yemen because the evidence against it was "overwhelming."
The United Nations removed Saudi Arabia from its annual blacklist on Monday pending a joint review by the pair. Riyadh, a key UN donor, had threatened to cut off funding, diplomatic sources said on Tuesday. Saudi Arabia denied using threats.
The letter to Ban on Wednesday, signed by groups including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and Oxfam, criticized Ban, who steps down at the end of the year, saying he capitulated to Saudi Arabia and tainted his legacy, Reuters reported.
"If the Saudi-led Coalition wants to be removed from the list, it should stop killing and maiming children and bombing schools and hospitals in Yemen - the violations for which it was listed," the groups wrote.
The UN report, released last Thursday, said the coalition was responsible for 60 percent of child deaths and injuries in Yemen last year, killing 510 and wounding 667, and half the attacks on schools and hospitals.
"The responsibility of the Saudi-led coalition for grave violations against children in many of these attacks is not in doubt," the rights groups wrote. "The evidence of grave violations against children in Yemen by the Saudi-led Coalition is overwhelming."
More than 9,400 people have been killed and at least 16,000 others injured in Yemen since last March, when Saudi Arabia launched its military aggression against the country.
Riyadh has been backed by Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Sudan, Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain in the military aggression.