Foreign Ministry Spokesman Seyed Abbas Mousavi made the remarks on Tuesday after UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres dropped the Saudi-led coalition engaged in an atrocious military campaign against Yemen from its blacklist for killing and maiming children in the impoverished country.
“The UN Secretary-General has removed the Saudi-led coalition from the list of child killers at a time when the international organizations have acknowledged that large numbers of Yemeni children and teenagers have lost their lives in such disasters as student bus bombings, airstrikes on homes and schools, and hospitals, the painful news and images of which are undeniable,” Mousavi said.
“Regretfully, some in the United Nations are seeking to exonerate Saudi Arabia of its crimes against Yemeni children and women with the kingdom’s dollars, while according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, every 10 minutes, one Yemeni child dies as a result of the war and the siege imposed on Yemen by the Saudi-led coalition,” he underlined.
Mousavi also said that the UN’s move proved its “selective approach” and “double standards” on human rights in Yemen and other parts across the world.
The exclusion from the UN’s blacklist prompted immediate protests from human rights groups worldwide.
Jo Becker, the advocacy director of the children’s rights division at Human Rights Watch, argued that Guterres “is adding a new level of shame to his ‘list of shame’ by removing the Saudi-led coalition and ignoring the UN’s own evidence of continued grave violations against children.”
Adrianne Lapar, director of Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict, also said by removing the Saudi-led coalition “the secretary-general sends the message that powerful actors can get away with killing children.”
Saudi Arabia and a number of its regional allies launched a devastating campaign against Yemen in March 2015, with the goal of bringing the government of former president Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi back to power and crushing the Ansarallah movement.
The US-based Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), a nonprofit conflict-research organization, estimates that the war has claimed more than 100,000 lives over the past five years.
The UN says over 24 million Yemenis are in dire need of humanitarian aid, including 10 million suffering from extreme levels of hunger.