On Monday, we handed in our petition – which more than 37,500 of you signed – to the United Nations.
It called on the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, to list the Saudi-led coalition in his annual report on Children in Armed Conflict – alongside all the others who have committed grave violations against children in the dreadful war in Yemen.
Your power, your campaigning
A draft of the report has now been leaked.
The draft states that the Saudi-led coalition has committed “grave violations” of children’s rights, killing 502 children in Yemen over the past year and injuring a further 838.
This is a very welcome step. It’s vital that the report shines a light on violations committed by all parties to this and every other conflict, without fear or favour.
Even more encouragingly, Mr Gutterres’ Special Representative, Virginia Gamba, has reportedly told top officials that she intends to include the coalition in the list itself.
This is testament to the power of your campaigning. By making a noise about the importance of this issue, you’ve made it impossible for her to reach any other conclusion.
But we’re not there yet
Saudi Arabia and its allies are not alone in killing children in Yemen. But it is the only side not yet to be held to account by the UN. All other perpetrators were listed in last year’s report.
The ball is now in Mr Guterres’ court. We know that at this stage last year, the previous Secretary General pulled his punches at the last minute, taking the coalition off the final list.
If this happens again, it will undermine the entire principle of accountability for violations conducted in war.
Secretary General, do the right thing
This year, we want to see Mr Guterres stand up to political pressure and do the right thing.
Not only for the millions of children whose lives are being devastated in Yemen right now, but for the millions more in wars not yet fought.
These children need an international community prepared to call out violations by whomever, whenever and wherever they occur.