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News
Almotamar Net - Human Rights Watch said that the children recruited in the Yemeni army have now become used in an army unit which has sided with anti-government protesters “1st Armoured Division under command of the defector General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar “to protect anti-government demonstrators.

Saturday, 16-April-2011
Almotamar.net - Human Rights Watch said that the children recruited in the Yemeni army have now become used in an army unit which has sided with anti-government protesters “1st Armoured Division under command of the defector General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar “to protect anti-government demonstrators.

HRW has called on the United States of America and other governments to demand the immediate stop to use children as soldiers or in any other security services, whether by the Yemeni government or the opposition.
According to a statement it issued on Thursday, the HRW said its workers had come across “dozens of armed soldiers who appeared to be younger 18 years “in the Yemeni capital Sana’a since February 2011 when protesters against President Ali Abdullah Saleh erupted in late January.

On 12 April the HRW said that 20 soldiers in Sana’a said their ages are between 14, 15 and 16 years and they serve in the army for one to two years and were al from the 1st Yemeni armoured division and its commander General Ali Mohsen who defected and sided with the opposition in March and deployed his soldiers to protect the anti-government demonstrators.

The Deputy Middle East director of HRW Joe Stork said “President Saleh’s opponents should not use children for security on the field of protest.”

The 20 soldiers told HRW that each of the child soldiers was carrying a machinegun of ARK and a hand gun and putting on uniform of the 1st armoured division.

In separate interviews six of the 1st armoured division officers told HRW that the unit allows recruitment of persons at the age of 15 and makes exceptions from time to time by recruiting children at a younger age.

According t the organisation General Mohsen defected and sided with the opposition with his military unit since that time and that using the children for providing security protection exposes them to grave danger, as the agreement on child rights approves the children right to protection from performing any work that may harm their health or growth.

The HRW has documented the use of children under 15 years of age and recruiting them for serving in the armed forces as a war crime because the protocol of the child rights concerning involvement of children in armed conflicts, and endorsed by Yemen in 2007, stipulates that the age of 18 years is the minimum age of any recruitment or marksman recruitment or direct participation in acts of fighting.

On 12 April each of HRW, Amnesty International, Open Society Foundation and World vision Foundation wrote a letter to the US President Barack Obama in which they criticized failure of the American administration in achieving progress concerning putting an end to using children as soldiers in Yemen and three other governments that receive American military assistance: the Democratic Congo Republic, Chad and Sudan.

HRW urged the United States "to suspend military assistance to Yemen immediately unless the Yemeni government agrees to negotiate an action plan with the United Nations to end the use of child soldiers", in the 1st armoured division along with allowing the visit to Yemen by representative of the United nations concerned with children and armed disputes.

Joe Stork said that the donor governments should ensure that children would not open fire and not to die in fighting, adding that the donors must put pressure o the government and the opposition so that disarming children is achieved.
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