Sunday, 12 June 2016

UN’s Ban Slams Saudis for ’Undue Pressure’ over Child Rights Blacklist

BanUnited Nations chief Ban Ki-moon said on Thursday that Saudi Arabia exerted “unacceptable” undue pressure by threatening to cut off vital funding to the world body after a U.N. report blacklisted the Saudi-led military coalition for killing children in Yemen.
The U.N. announced on Monday it had removed the coalition from a child rights blacklist – released last week – pending a joint review by the organization and the coalition of cases of child deaths and injuries during the year-old war in Yemen.
Ban said his decision to temporarily remove the coalition from the list was “one of the most painful and difficult decisions I have had to make,” and that the threats to pull funding raised “the very real prospect that millions of other children would suffer grievously.”
“Children already at risk in Palestine, South Sudan, Syria, Yemen and so many other places would fall further into despair,” he told reporters.
“It is unacceptable for member states to exert undue pressure,” he added. “Scrutiny is a natural and necessary part of the work of the United Nations.”
Ban did not explicitly mention the Saudi-led coalition, though it was clearly the focus of his remarks.
Earlier this week, Reuters reported that allies of Saudi Arabia piled pressure on Ban over the coalition’s blacklisting, with Riyadh threatening to cut Palestinian aid and funds to other U.N. programs, diplomatic sources said.
The blacklist includes countries and armed groups accused of violating the rights of children during armed conflicts.
Saudi Arabia on Thursday denied threatening a cut-off of humanitarian funding to pressure the United Nations to remove the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen from a blacklist of child rights violators.
“We did not use threats or intimidation and we did not talk about funding,” Saudi Ambassador Abdullah al-Mouallimi told reporters.
Source: Agencies
09-06-2016 – 19:37 Last updated 09-06-2016 – 19:39
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