Mon, 22 Jul 2019

Kids bearing brunt of UNSC inaction, says UNESCO chief

By Jay Jackson, Cairo News
16 May 2019, 04:10 GMT+10

<p>NEW YORK, New York - Thousands of children are dying in war-torn Yemen, and it is up to the UN security Council to do something about it.</p><p>The situation couldn&#39;t have been made plainer when the council on Wednesday was confronted with exact numbers of fatalities so far, and an alarming prognosis if something isn&#39;t done to separate the warring parties.</p><p>&quot;Fifteen million children in Yemen are asking you to save their lives&quot; the UN Children&rsquo;s Fund (UNICEF) chief told the 15 member-nations of the Security Council on Wednesday, reminding them that in four years of fighting there have been at least 7,300 children killed or seriously injured so far.&nbsp;</p><p>&quot;These are verified numbers. The actual numbers are no doubt higher,&quot; said Henrietta Fore, who began her address with a quiet intensity, telling the horrifying but tragically now mundane&nbsp;story of how one classroom was shattered by shrapnel last month in the capital Sana&rsquo;a. &quot;Imagine the pain endured by the families of the 14 children who never made it home...In any conflict, children suffer first. And worst,&quot; she said.</p><p>Each day, as a Yemeni Government coalition fights for control of the country against Houthi rebel forces, &quot;another eight children will be killed, injured or recruited,&quot; she said, with a child dying from a preventable cause, every ten minutes.&nbsp;</p><p>Around 360,000 suffer severe acute malnutrition, and half of Yemeni children under-five &ndash; or 2.5 million &ndash; have&nbsp;stunted growth, an irreversible condition. More than two million are out of school: &quot;In short, the systems that every child and family needs, are failing,&quot; said the head of the <a target="_blank" href="https://www.unicef.org/">UNICEF</a>.&nbsp;</p><p>&quot;Mr&nbsp;President, we are at a tipping point. If the war continues any longer, the country may move past the point of no return...How long will we continue allowing Yemen to slide into oblivion?&quot;&nbsp;</p><p>Teams are working &quot;round the clock&quot; she added, treating 345,000 severely malnourished children last year, delivering safe drinking water to more than five million every day, and providing cash&nbsp;assistance&nbsp;with partners, for nearly nine million of the most vulnerable.&nbsp;</p><p>&quot;But this work only addresses the symptoms of the catastrophe in Yemen. To truly shape a better future for Yemen and its children, we need your engagement and influence to end this war on children. Now.&quot;&nbsp;</p><p>Ms. Fore called for a redoubling of support for the efforts of the UN Special Envoy to &quot;reach a negotiated political solution, one that places children first.&quot;</p><p>Only a resumption of full political negotiations, after a three-year hiatus, can bring the kind of comprehensive solution that Yemen needs. &quot;These negotiations will require patience, good faith, and of course, concessions that go beyond what we have seen before&quot; Special Envoy Martin Griffiths told the security council at the commencement of their Wednesday meeting.</p><p>&quot;The ease with which progress could be&nbsp;removed&nbsp;is frightening&quot;, he warned, calling on council members to &quot;urge the parties to work quickly&quot; with General Michael&nbsp;Lollesgaard, who heads UNMHA, on further troop withdrawals.&nbsp;</p><p>&quot;These&nbsp;beginnings must be protected from the threat of war. We must not allow war to take peace off the table&quot;, he concluded.</p>

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