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UN faces strong calls to blacklist Saudi-led coalition in Yemen

The United Nations Secretary General is facing strong calls to include the Saudi-led coalitionon its annual black list report that names nations and armed groups for killing and maiming children during war.

A petition, with over 370,00 singatures, has been submitted to the UN Secretary General’s office calling for the blacklisting of the Saudi led coaltion for its indiscriminate bombing of Yemen.

Human rights advocates raised concerns last year when former UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon admitted Saudi Arabia had been taken off the list after intense lobbying.

Speaking to abc news, the advocacy advisor on Yemen for NGO Save the Children Mark Kaye, said,

“Every other party. Every other side to this war inside Yemen is on that list. Its only one side that isn’t on that list and it’s the Saudi-led coalition. When you delist a country based not evidence but on politics you end out a message across the globe that only certain people only certain states will be held responsible for their actions.”

Speaking on the importance of blacklisting Saudi Arabia, Amnesty International’s expert on Yemen Rasha Mohamed, said,

“This list basically holds entities, states, armed groups accountable. It shows them that they are being watched. If you don't hold them accountable and you don't try to call them out then who does? So really violators will be really emboldened and the mechanism will be really weakened. It will be much harder to bring them to the negotiation table and try and change their behaviour for the better if they can show they can cave under pressure."

Human Rights Watch investigator on Yemen Kristine Beckerle outlined the Saudi coalitions attempts to stop the gathering of war crimes evidence, adding,

“To be very clear about what they are listed for — it's for killing and maiming children and attacks on schools and hospitals. With total impunity. We were blocked from taking UN flights into the country by the Saudi-led coalition. So for many months it has been very, very difficult nearly impossible for human rights organisations or journalists to get into the north of the country where the vast majority of these airstrikes are happening and do the on the ground investigations that are so important. We are continuing to investigate airstrikes and we are doing everything we can to collect evidence from outside the country because from our end, even if the access is impeded, we are not going to stop trying to document and show what the impact of coalition airstrikes are on Yemeni civilians.”