More than 5,000 children have been killed or injured since the conflict in Yemen escalated following the Saudi-led military intervention in March 2015, a representative of UNICEF said yesterday.
Speaking at a press conference in the capital Sanaa at a ceremony marking the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), Sara Beysolow Nyanti told reporters: "The escalating conflict has forced nearly half a million Yemeni children out of school."
"The situation of Yemeni children is very miserable," she added, urging all parties to resolve the conflict.
Five children attended the press conference, they were a few of the 20 who – earlier in the month – wrote a letter to UN head Antonio Guterres and UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore to demand their rights.
"We, the children who have learned about the Convention on the Rights of the Child wish to live in peace because we are afraid of war and afraid of the explosions. It is our right to live in peace and to have all the rights mentioned in the Conventions," the children wrote.
— UNICEF (@UNICEF) October 23, 2019
Fore wrote back that she was "deeply moved and honoured" by the letter. "We want the dreams that you describe to come true. We all want an end to the war in Yemen. We are listening, UNICEF is with you every step of the way."
An estimated two million children in Yemen are currently suffering from acute malnutrition, including 360,000 under five years old, according to recent UNICEF reports.
The CRC is said to be the most widely ratified convention in the world, with 196 state parties to the convention. The US is the only country to have not ratified it. Yemen was the first country in the region to ratify the convention.