June 16 (UPI) — The United Nations has removed a Saudi-led coalition from a list of violators involved in Yemen’s civil war — drawing backlash from critics who say the global body is looking the other way with other offenders, including Russia and the United States.
New York-based human rights watchdog Human Rights Watch said the Saudi coalition was delisted from the Children and Armed Conflict report’s “list of shame,” despite the fact it was responsible for more than 200 child casualties and multiple attacks on Yemeni schools and hospitals.
The complaint faulted U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for failing to call out other nations — including Myanmar for recruiting child soldiers, Russia for military actions in Syria, the United States for its near 20-year conflict in Afghanistan and Israel for abuses in Palestinian territories.
“The secretary-general has brought shame on the U.N. by removing the Saudi-led coalition from his ‘list of shame’ even as it continues to kill and injure children in Yemen,” said Jo Becker, HRW children’s rights advocacy director.
“He has repeatedly and inexcusably left powerful countries off his list despite overwhelming U.N. evidence of grave violations against children.”
The British-based Save the Children Fund echoed the concerns from HRW, accusing Guterres of politicizing reports intended to underscore child suffering in conflict zones.
“It is shocking that the U.N. secretary-general failed to hold parties to conflicts all over the world to the same standards and levels scrutiny,” Save the Children President Janti Soeripto said in a statement. “Apparently, some countries are more equal than others, showing that once again the U.N. secretary-general has placed politics before children, letting parties with powerful friends get away with destroying children’s lives with impunity.”