AL-MUKALLA: Yemenis, including human rights activists, journalists and government officials, have organized a campaign on social media to call attention to continuing Houthi crimes against children in Yemen.
Coinciding with World Children’s Day, campaigners said that the Iran-backed Houthis had recruited large numbers of children into the war and indoctrinated many others, while thousands of children were killed or wounded due to land mines planted by the militia.
Mohammed Jumeh, Yemen’s permanent delegate to UNESCO, said that the continuing bloody military operations by the Houthis in the central province of Marib had forced Yemeni children to sleep in the desert without shelter or food.
Houthis indoctrinated, trained and armed thousands of Yemeni children and later sent them to the battlefields to fight their opponents, he said.
“While free nations celebrate the #ChildrenDay2021, Houthis caused the displaced infants to sleep on the sand with no shelter in the northeastern province of Marib. Moreover, they have been arming tens of thousands of children and sending them to fronts,” the Yemeni official said on Twitter.
Yemen’s Information Minister Muammar Al-Eryani said that since the Houthi military takeover of power in late 2014, millions of children had been unable to attend school, receive health services or enjoy a peaceful life.
“The world is silent in the face of Iranian-backed Houthi militia crises against millions of children in Yemen who have been deprived of their right to education, health care and a normal life, as a result of the war triggered by the coup.”
Yemeni activists say that the online campaign targets not only local and international rights groups and the world in general, but seeks to educate the public in the Houthi-controlled areas about the militia’s crimes.
Zafaran Zaid, a Yemeni human rights activist and lawyer, who was sentenced to death in absentia by a Houthi-run court in June, participated in the campaign by sharing graphic images of child amputees who lost legs after walking on land mines laid by the Houthis.
“Disclosing the (Houthi) crimes could influence the general people who follow this Iranian project due to media disinformation,” Zafaran told Arab News, arguing that the campaign would also correct information disseminated outside Yemen about the nature of the war in Yemen.
“Many people think of it as a war between Yemen and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. They do not know that this is a terrorist organization that destroyed the state,” she said.
The online campaign to highlight Houthi abuses is happening as Yemen’s Joint Forces on Monday announced moving into new Houthi-controlled districts in the provinces of Hodeidah and Taiz.
A local military official from the Joint Forces told Arab News that their units had pushed into Al-Jarahi district in Hodeidah province for the first time since the beginning of the war after clashes with the Iran-backed Houthis.
Other forces reportedly clashed with the Houthis in Maqbanah district in Taiz province.
Backed by air support from the Arab coalition, the Joint Forces, an umbrella term for three major military units in the country’s western coast, have been making rapid progress in the two provinces since Friday when they launched an offensive to seize control of strategic highlands in Taiz and Hodeidah.
In the central province of Marib, local military officials said on Monday that army troops and allied tribesmen repelled several Houthi attacks in flashpoint sites south of Marib.
The UN Security Council’s five permanent ambassadors to Yemen on Monday urged the pro-independence Southern Transitional Council to constructively work with the internationally recognized government for the sake of quick and unhindered implementation of the Riyadh Agreement that could end hostilities in southern Yemen.
The heads of the P5 missions said in a joint statement that they discussed with the STC leader Aidarous Al-Zubaidi in Riyadh the implementation of the Riyadh Agreement and major developments on the ground.
“The P5 Heads of Mission encouraged the STC to be a constructive partner as part of the Yemeni government for the sake of the Yemeni people,” the P5 said in the statement.