Last week the UN Secretary-General made the decision to delist a party to the armed conflict in Yemen in the annex of his annual report on Children and Armed Conflict, known as the ‘List of Shame.’ The decision to delist for the grave violation of killing and maiming children was made despite 222 child casualties attributed to this party in this same report from the Secretary-General.
Devastatingly, four more children were killed as a result of airstrikes in Yemen on the day the Secretary-General’s report was released and de-listing announced. The UN Security Council meets for its annual open debate on Children and Armed Conflict tomorrow. We urge the Council to highlight premature delisting as a concern and encourage the UN Secretary-General to consistently apply existing delisting criteria.
World Vision is deeply concerned about the inconsistent listing and delisting of various parties to armed conflict responsible for grave violations of children’s rights, despite verified UN data and established criteria for delisting.
According to the delisting criteria defined by the Secretary-General in his 2010 report, parties to armed conflict should only be removed from the list after signing and successfully implementing a UN action plan, and demonstration of a cessation of the specified violation for at least one reporting cycle. Delisting a party to armed conflict at the same as that party is still committing violations, such as the killing and maiming children, or attacking schools, seriously risks sending a message around the world that armed forces or groups can act with impunity.
A credible and accurate list is an essential means of accountability and a powerful tool for prevention of grave violations of children’s rights. World Vision welcomes the inclusion of two additional Situations of Concern in this year’s report, a decision that is essential to establishing formal UN monitoring and reporting. Despite this progress, failure to accurately list all parties to conflict for all attributed violations raises the concern of fundamentally undermining this critical reporting mechanism for children’s rights.
It is essential that mechanisms to protect children as established by the UN remain in place and are rigorously adhered to, as essential to hold violators of children’s rights to account, and place pressure on parties to conflict to prevent grave violations against girls and boys. We call on the UN Secretary-General to consistently, objectively and transparently apply established criteria for the process of listing and de-listing to avoid political considerations and external parties from influencing decision making. This is essential for the children of Yemen, and the millions of children around the world who continue to live in situations of armed conflict today.
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