NEW YORK, 3rd August, 2016 (WAM) — The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has said that the United Nations must exercise its role impartially, objectively and transparently and not be satisfied with unreliable sources as the basis for its reports or their data, and that the primary objective of these reports should be to seek improving the circumstances faced by children in armed conflicts.

The Kingdom welcomed the decision of the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, to remove the name of the “Coalition to Restore Legitimacy in Yemen” from the list of those responsible for violence against civilians, pointing out that the invitation to the UN to dispatch officials to visit the command of the coalition forces in Riyadh to see details of their preparations and precautions in this regard still remains effective.

According to the Saudi Press Agency, SPA, this came in a speech by Abdullah bin Yahya Almoalimi, Ambassador of Saudi Arabia to the UN, on Tuesday before the UN Security Council on the open debate, “Children in Armed Conflict”.

The ambassador said, “My delegation expresses its deep concern at the escalation of serious violations committed against children, and we condemn in the strongest terms violations against children contained in the report of the UN Secretary General on the armed non-State groups such as the Youth movement, Boko Haram and Daesh, in addition to sectarian militias such as Hezbollah and the forces of Alhashd Alshaabi.” The ambassador also noted violations in Syria and South Sudan and against Palestinian children by Israel.

Mr. Almoalimi noted the suffering of children in Syria and violations of Houthi militias, including their attacks against the Kingdom, causing the deaths of more than 500 civilians, the displacement of thousands of people and destruction of more than 1,700 homes and 75 government buildings, including hospitals and health facilities.

He said on 6th June, the coalition forces returned all children recruited by the Al-houthi rebels and allies who were found carrying weapons, along the border with Saudi Arabia and they were handed over unconditionally to the Yemeni authorities to be reunited with their families after providing them with assistance and care in coordination and cooperation with the International Committee of the Red Cross, ICRC, and UNICEF. “Today, I can confirm that the coalition forces do not detain any of the children recruited in Yemen,” he added.

He informed that the coalition has adopted clear rules of engagement to protect civilians, and in February, Saudi Arabia and the coalition forces established a team to investigate all allegations of civilian casualties and the United Nations will be informed of the results of these investigations as soon as possible.

WAM/AAMIR/Moran