Upon a request from Saudi authorities and the Arab Coalition, an ICRC team oversaw and helped in the repatriation of 27 Yemeni children aged between 8 and 17, as part of the ICRC’s neutral humanitarian intermediary role.
The ICRC team of four delegates, including a medical doctor, met with representatives of the Arab Coalition who briefed them on the release operation of the children. The team were also provided with all of the necessary information before the release operation began.
The ICRC team then travelled to Sharoura, accompanied by colleagues from the Saudi Red Crescent Authority, where the ICRC team was able to register and have private interviews with the children according to the ICRC standard working methods. The children were then handed over to the Yemeni authorities who will then proceed with their reunification with their respective families.
“This is the second release operation of children that the ICRC oversees in cooperation with Saudi Arabia. This is good news for the children and their families and the ICRC seizes this opportunity to express its appreciation to the Saudi authorities for their initiative that will result in the release of the children,” said Yahia Alibi, the head of the regional delegation.
Alibi also added, “The ICRC would also like to renew calls that children should always be protected, and that the parties in Yemen should refrain from recruiting children, according to the international humanitarian law. Lastly, we hope that this operation would set a good example for all parties to follow.”
The ICRC has opened its regional delegation in Kuwait in the aftermath of the Gulf War in1991. At present, the regional delegation for the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries focuses on helping the people who suffered during the Gulf War, as well as the other people who need help due to the current armed conflicts. We have a mandate to help people affected by armed conflict and other violence, or – as our mission statement puts it – “other situations of violence”. This means violence that has not reached the threshold of an armed conflict but is carried out by large groups and has consequences in humanitarian terms.
The ICRC is engaged in a wide range of activities related to the promotion of international humanitarian law and humanitarian principles and cooperation and partnership with the GCC Red crescent societies.