Children on the brink

The impact of violence and conflict on Yemen and its children

UNICEF Yemen/2016


A brutal conflict and a fast-deteriorating humanitarian situation are devastating the lives of millions of children in Yemen and have brought the country to the point of collapse. The UNICEF report “Children on the Brink” highlights the heavy toll that the violence in Yemen is having on children and the deterioration in an already precarious humanitarian situation.

On 26 March 2015, the conflict in Yemen escalated into a brutal war as violence gripped most of the country. The southern cities of Aden and Taiz are in ruins, the northern city of Sa’ada is wrecked and many other areas are extensively damaged. Yemen is in the midst of an acute humanitarian crisis. And there is no end in sight to the deadly conflict. Close to 10 million children face fear, pain and deprivation.

Children do not start wars, yet are the most vulnerable to their deadly effects.

UNICEF verified more than 1,560 incidents of grave violations against children in Yemen. As a result, over 900 children were killed and more than 1,300 were injured in the past year alone. On average at least six children have been killed or maimed every day since March 2015, a sevenfold increase compared with the whole of 2014. Most of the killing and maiming of children happened in the governorates of Taiz, Sana’a, Sa’ada, Aden and Hajjah where the violence and fighting have been the heaviest. Children represent around one third of all civilian deaths since March 2015.

Child recruitment has exponentially increased in the past year. The UN documented 848 cases of child recruitment most of them in Sana’a, Shabwa, Taiz, Abyan and Aden. Reports indicate that warring parties recruited children as young as 10 years old in the fighting.

Tragic as they are, these statistics are a tip of the iceberg as they only represent cases that UNICEF was able to verify.

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