UNICEF Yemen Country Office expresses major concerns that children are increasingly becoming victims of violence in the current unrest felt all over Yemen.
Yesterday‘s confirmed reports from Aden, a southern governorate of Yemen, tell of a number of schools in Al-Mansoura and Al-Mualla districts being attacked by demonstrators. Reportedly, children and teachers were threatened and told that if they would not leave the schools and join the protest, they would be burnt down. Gun shots were heard in the area.
“Attacks on schools are of grave concern to UNICEF”, says Geert Cappelaere, representative of UNICEF Yemen. “Children are the first and most vulnerable victims of any emergency or civil unrest. We must make sure children are not caught up in the disputes of adults. Violence is not the answer, it is the problem.”
Recent reports also show that children and adolescents are involved and have even been harmed in direct confrontations in past weeks. Such reports are of great concern to UNICEF. Violent protests put the health, education protection of Yemeni children, at great risk, and add further to their plight. – The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has denounced the violence in Yemen and called on all sides not to resort to it.
UNICEF calls upon all the involved to respect the rights of children and to refrain from the use of violence. Children should be protected at all costs, kept out of harm’s way and they should never be exposed to violence that can affect their physical and psychological well-being. Schools should represent safe environments for children, where their rights to basic education are ensured.