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Iran slams ‘appalling’ removal of Saudi-led coalition from UN blacklist

The Iranian Foreign Ministry has denounced as “appalling” a recent United Nations decision to remove the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen from the blacklist of child rights violators.

Abbas Mousavi, the ministry spokesman, made the comment 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.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman 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.

 In a post on his Twitter page, Mousavi said the UN Secretariat was giving a “free pass” to the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen despite admitting that Riyadh and its allies have killed hundreds of Yemeni kids.

The Saudi regime and the US are making a mockery of international mechanisms, one with its dollars and the other through bullying, he added, using the hashtag “ListOfShame” and attaching pictures of dead Yemeni children.

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.”

Supported militarily by the United States, Britain, and other Western countries, Saudi Arabia and a number of its regional allies launched a devastating war on Yemen in March 2015 in order to bring former Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi back to power and crush the Houthi Ansarullah 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.

More than half of Yemen’s hospitals and clinics have been destroyed or closed during the war by the Saudi-led coalition, which is supported militarily by the UK, US and other Western nations.

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