A report by the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor and SAM for Rights and Liberties revealed that the Houthi group has forcibly recruited around 10,300 children in Yemen since 2014, and warns of dangerous consequences in case the United Nations (UN) continues to fail to address this phenomenon.
The report, issued by the two organisations on the International Day Against the Use of Child Soldiers (12 February), stated that the Houthi group uses a variety of ways to forcibly recruit children and to fight in the areas it controls in Yemen, which resulted in the deaths and injury of hundreds. The organisations documented 111 children who were killed during the battles between July and August 2020 alone.
The report, entitled “Militarising Childhood”, highlighted the Houthis’ use of schools and educational facilities to attract children through forced recruitment via an education system that incites violence. Additionally, the group’s ideological doctrine is taught in special lectures inside educational facilities to familiarise the students with extremist ideas and encourage them to join the fighting fronts.
The report also indicated that during the past three years, the Houthi group initiated a compulsory campaign to recruit children, and opened 52 training camps to receive thousands of adolescents and children. In addition, the group launched widespread recruitment campaigns in the regions of Saada, Sana’a, Al Mahwit, Al-Hudaydah, Tihama, Hajjah and Dhamar, targeting children aged ten and above.