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At UNSC Debate on Children and Conflict Saudi Elephant in Room As Inner City Press Banned Like Cameroon

By Matthew Russell Lee, Video, Petition, 2d

UNITED NATIONS, July 9 – As the UN Security Council has an all day debate about Children and Armed Conflict on July 9, the mischaracterization as "good child killers" of the Saudi and Emerati Led Coalition bombing Yemen is one elephant in the room. The omission from the UN's report of Cameroon, where even UNICEF admits some of the impact of the Biya government's crackdown on children is another. Not in the room, or at the Council stakeout to question Stefan Löfven, is Inner City Press, which the UN ousted on July 3 as it covered the UN Budget Committee, and has banned from the UN since July 5. Fox News story here ("UN roughs up, ejects, bans reporter from headquarters: Caught on tape"); petition to Guterres here; GAP blogs I and II (“Harassment of US Journalist Intensifies at the UN”). The selected briefers on July 9, before more than 90 countries, are CAAC SRSG Virgina Gamba; UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta H. Fore; CSO representative Ms. Yenny Londoño, Consultor de Jóvenes Desvinculados, on "Protecting children today prevents conflicts tomorrow." UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres lavished praised on Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on March 27 accepting a $930 million check from the Saudis and UAE, with not a word of the Saudi led bombing campaign that has killed civilians and caused cholera in Yemen.  On June 27 Guterres' envoy Virginia Gamba in her Children and Armed Conflict report listed the Saudi and Emirati Led Coalition in Annex I B as a "good" child killer. Inner City Press asked Gamba what steps, exactly, the Coalition has taken to merit this, given that they killed 370 children in 2017 and injured 300 more. (Report at Para 205). Periscope video here. Gamba said they have  "Child Protection Unit" - where? - and cited their rules of engagement. But when Inner City Press followed up, Gamba acknowledged that the UN has not seen the Coalition's rules of engagement. She spoke with passion about, for example, Afghanistan. But the UN's record on Yemen, as on Cameroon which is not even in her report, remains shameful. The day before on June 26 when asked about listing the Saudi and now Emirati led Coalition as "good" child killers, Guterres' spokesman said this classification is for parties who "engage." Inner City Press asked if the $930 million check was part of the engagement and Dujarric archly said No.  Last week, Dujarric spoonfed sound bytes to Al Jazeera and is working with them to try to further restrict Inner City Press, here - Inner City Press was in fact ousted on June 22, video here, story here. On June 26, MSF's Caroline Seguin gave the following account: "SELC-backed forces are currently fighting Ansar Allah troops for Hodeidah airport, located a few kilometers south of the city center. It is very difficult to assess the situation, as we don’t have MSF staff inside Hodeidah yet. But [Yemeni] medical staff we work with have reported airstrikes and shelling inside the city, and people have started stockpiling food and fuel. Ansar Allah forces have been very active in Hodeidah, digging trenches and building barricades, [and] deploying troops near civilian areas such as residential zones, hospitals, and hotels, which is very worrying. Hodeidah’s water system has been affected by these excavations, and water shortages are being reported by residents. Electricity has been out for years, and people are using generators when they can afford them.
It is difficult to estimate how many people fled the city so far. Inside Hodeidah, population movements have been observed from the south of the city to the north. Some displaced families have moved further to neighboring Dhamar and Ibb governorates, and to the capital Sana’a, where they can rent houses or stay with relatives. Since the war began in March 2015, the average price of fuel has more than doubled, so fleeing the city can cost families a lot of money."
The UN says Griffiths will meet with propped up "president' Hadi on June 27, in Aden. Inner City Press on May 29 asked Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric about the Saudi led Coalition's and UAE's moves on Hodeida. On June 20 after UAE foreign minister Anwar Gargash delivered the final threat (the UAE Diplomatic Academy has former UN envoy to Libya Bernardino Leon) and after Dujarric announced the withdrawal by the UN of its international staff from Hodeidah, the assault began.


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