Yemen's warring sides urged "to step back from brink"

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Attacks on hospitals and schools have become commonplace, UNICEF and the UN office of the Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict have warned. Photo: UNICEF/Mohammed Hamoud.

A cessation of hostilities in Yemen that's just entered into force is a chance for warring parties to "step back from the brink", UN negotiator, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, has announced.

In a statement released on Monday, shortly after the truce came into effect, the UN Special Envoy for Yemen urged all sides in the conflict to respect the truce and give peace talks scheduled for the 18 April the best chance of success.

Meanwhile, UN Children's Fund UNICEF has released disturbing new data showing that youngsters are increasingly caught up in the violence.

Here's Daniel Johnson in Geneva:

Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, the UN negotiator for Yemen, has urged all parties to "fully" respect the cessation of hostilities to give peace talks the best chance in Kuwait on the 18th of April.

The UN Special Envoy also said that the support of the international community was "critical" at a time when warring sides needed to "step back from the brink".

Since conflict in the Arabian peninsula state escalated just over a year ago, grave violations against children there have increased significantly.

According to the UN, 900 children have been killed in the past year as forces loyal to President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi – supported by a Saudi-led coalition – have clashed with Houthi opponents.

During that time, child recruitment has increased five times, with more than 848 youngsters involved.

Meanwhile, attacks on schools and hospitals have doubled, to more than 115, and children now play a more active role in combat.

The data is just the tip of the iceberg, according to UNICEF and the UN office of the Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict.

In a joint message they urge all warring parties to release children who've been recruited to fight, and to facilitate humanitarian assistance.

Daniel Johnson, United Nations, Geneva.

Duration: 1’07″



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