Business for Peace Award

Children denied the right to education

Published on 16 January 2012 in Variety
Sadeq Al-Wesabi (author)

Sadeq Al-Wesabi


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Entertainment for young marginalized girls in Al-Mazraq camp helps distract them and alleviate their suffering. Conflicts in Yemen have led to thousands of children being displaced.

Entertainment for young marginalized girls in Al-Mazraq camp helps distract them and alleviate their suffering. Conflicts in Yemen have led to thousands of children being displaced.

Yemeni children are being denied the right to education and protection from violence, abuse and exploitation, Save the Children has warned.

Sana Johnson, the regional director of Save the Children, said in a press conference on Tuesday that the lives of children have been disrupted and psychological traumas inflicted as Yemeni children see and hear the conflict around them.

"The armed conflicts and civil unrest in several parts of the country means that children are denied their basic rights to education and protection," said Johnson.

She added that even those children who have not been directly caught in violence or had to flee their homes are being affected, as many schools remain closed.

Fatima Al-Ajel, advocacy and communications officer at Save the Children told the Yemen Times that Yemeni children really need psychological support to alleviate their suffering.

Al-Ajel said that 2011 was the worst year in the life of Yemen's children. "I've seen many children who suffer from intractable psychological problems.

"They have seen horrible scenes. Some of them saw their parents dying in front of their eyes," she explained. "They are now frightened, unconfident and keep crying."

According to Al-Ajel, psychologically damaged children need to play to forget their traumas. "Unfortunately, those children have been abused by all parties. Their health, education and nutrition have been negatively affected because of recent violations against childhood," she said.

She added that Save the Children opened a Child Friendly Space in 70 schools hosting internally displaced people (IDPs) in Aden and Lahj in 2011.

Tens of thousands of people fled from fierce fighting between armed men and government security in Abyan governorate this year, with many forced to live in Aden’s schools.

Save the Children responded to this huge number by providing women and children with medical treatment, health education, school uniforms and other requirements.

But still, many children in Yemen have had very sporadic schooling over the past year with around 200 schools used for purposes other than education such as hosting IDPs and being used as barracks by fighters, while another 300 have been damaged in armed conflict, according to Save the Children.

Last year, UNICEF urged all parties to meet their obligations under the Convention on the Rights of the Child and international humanitarian law and take all necessary steps to protect children from the direct and indirect effects of violence.

However, fighting has yet to stop and many displaced children still cannot return homes.



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