Issued by CEMO Center - Paris
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Houthis inflame child labour problem in Yemen

Tuesday 19/September/2023 - 03:35 PM
The Reference
Ahmed Adel

Child labour is rampant inside Houthi-controlled areas, probably outshining the same phenomenon in other areas in Yemen.

The Iran-backed militia estimates, meanwhile, the number of working children in Yemen at 7.7 million.

It says these children work in various professions in the war-torn country.

This comes as the United Nations warn that around 6 million Yemeni children are "only one step away from famine".

It says these children are in "urgent need of urgent support".

Yemenis' deteriorating living conditions have opened the door for an increase in the number of working children.

Child labour as a phenomenon is especially ubiquitous in Yemeni capital Sana'a and other cities controlled by the Houthi militia.

The Yemeni government accuses the militia of recruiting children and brainwashing them by dinning extremist ideas into their heads and sending them to training camps, especially the so-called 'Summer Centres'.

The Houthis do not deny the presence of such a phenomenon. On the contrary, they acknowledge the expansion of the phenomenon during the war.

Child labour, they said, has reached high rates, almost four times higher than pre-war rates.

Meanwhile, a pro-Houthi statistics agency said the number of working children in Yemen has reached 7.7 million.

It added that most of the working children are between the ages of 5 and 17 (around 34.3% of the total population of Yemen).

The agency noted that labour is most rampant among older children, where the rate of working children aged 5 to 11 years is 11%.

Around 12.3% of these children are girls, the agency said.

The Houthi militia, the Yemeni government said, continues to recruit children and send them to training camps.

"Leaked scenes from children's training camps – established by the Houthis under the name 'Summer Centres' – invite attention to one of the largest child recruitment operations in the history of mankind," Yemeni Information Minister, Muammar al-Iryani, said.

He added that hundreds of thousands of children in the areas controlled by the Houthis have become victims of brainwashing labs.

Iranian affairs researcher, Osama al-Hatemi, said child labour reflects the extent to which the deterioration of economic conditions in any society has reached.

"These working children are supposed to be at their schools to learn," al-Hatemi said.

"However, their living conditions force them to leave school and join the job market to earn a living for themselves and for their families," he told The Reference.