By NY staff
With the slogan, ‘Protect them Today For a Bright Future Tomorrow,’ the Seyaj Organization for Child Protection recently launched its second campaign. The Project focuses on the both the recruitment of children under the age of 18 and such youths’ involvement in armed conflict. The project was implemented in cooperation with Defense Minister Mohammed Nasser Ahmed and with support from the German Republic.
The inauguration was attended by a number of military figures, including deputies from the Ministry of Defense, Deputy Director of the Moral Guidance Department Ali Ghalib Al-Harazi and officials and members of the diplomatic corps.
General Ahmed Mohsen Al-Yafei, Director of the Military Intelligence Department, spoke on behalf of the Defense Minister and stressed the point that the Ministry of Defense pays interest and attention to Yemeni children with the aid of a set of laws which govern the work of the armed and security forces.
Al-Yafei pointed towards the decision by President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi, on November 27, 2012, to actively prevent the recruitment of children, which he considers a crime and violation of Yemeni and international laws.
He said that the Ministry of Defense, as well as preventing the involvement of children in armed conflict, works to combat the smuggling of children to neighboring countries through border guards and checkpoints, as well as preventing the licensing of arms to people who are under the age of 18.
“The Ministry cooperates with civil, local and international organizations to develop an integrated plan to remove children from conflict areas and reintegrate them into civilian life through rehabilitating them psychologically and educationally, as well as creating job opportunities for them,” Al-Yafei said.
Mr. Ahmed Al-Qurshi, manager of the Seyaj Organization for the Protection of Children, said that Seyaj strives to protect children and reduce violations involving children.
Al-Qurshi called on all officials to enact laws which prohibit the enrollment of children in armed groups and militias and also to activate the role of media, mosques, civic organizations and others who attempt to stem or eliminate this phenomenon, which is considered to be among the basic causes of violence, underdevelopment and illiteracy.
“All efforts must come together, all the ministries had a gracious attitude concerning this issue and I wish all the ministries to take action, not just spout words,” Al-Qurshi said.
German Ambassador Holger Green explained that the involvement of children in armed conflict represented one of the most serious human rights violations.
“I am pleased that during the visit of Leila Zerrougui to Yemen, President Hadi announced that children would no longer be recruited into the armed forces,” Green said.