Child Soldiers Global Report 2004 - Yemen
|Publisher||Child Soldiers International|
|Cite as||Child Soldiers International, Child Soldiers Global Report 2004 - Yemen, 2004, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4988061b28.html [accessed 20 June 2013]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
Republic of Yemen
Covers the period from April 2001 to March 2004.
Population: 19.3 million (10.8 million under 18)
Government armed forces: 66,700
Compulsory recruitment age: 18
Voluntary recruitment age: 18
Optional Protocol: not signed
Other treaties ratified (see glossary): CRC, GC AP I and II, ILO 138, ILO 182
There were reports that children were recruited into the armed forces. There were reports of under-18s being recruited and used by tribal groups.
The US government provided military training and support to the Yemen security forces as part of the "war on terror" that followed the 11 September 2001 attacks in the USA. The Yemeni authorities launched a military campaign against armed groups held responsible for kidnappings, assassinations and sabotage in recent years and allegedly backed by foreign forces accused of links with al-Qaeda. Hundreds of suspected Islamists were detained without charge or trial for long periods. Fighting took place between government forces and tribal militias. Outside cities, armed tribal conflicts largely escaped government control.
National recruitment legislation and practice
The constitution makes no direct reference to conscription, but states, "The law shall regulate general mobilization which shall be announced by the chairman of the Presidential Council following the approval of the House of Representatives" (Article 23). However, in practice, military service is compulsory. All men from the age of 18 to 30 are liable for military service for between one and two years.1 Draft evasion and underage recruitment were reported to remain common as a result of disorganized conscription and an irregular system of registering births.2
The representative for Yemen told the UN General Assembly Special Session on Children in May 2002 that Yemen was against the use and exploitation of children as child soldiers.3
Military training and military schools
There are four military schools, for the training of officers only. From 2002 special forces training was provided by up to 100 US military trainers and advisers at a base in Yemen.4
Armed political groups
Islamist groups were accused of responsibility for acts of violence, including kidnappings, assassinations and sabotage, but information about the size and composition of such groups and their activities was very limited. In 2004 the purported leader of one such group, the Aden-Abyan Army, denied that it had ever existed, while the authorities said it had ceased operating after the 1999 execution of its then leader.5 It was not known whether children served as soldiers in these groups.
The tribes enjoy considerable autonomy from central government, including in the armed enforcement of tribal norms. They resort to kidnapping for the purposes of extortion, for example to extract economic concessions from the government. Firearms are widely available, with small arms in Yemen estimated at between six and nine million.6 The risk of children being involved in tribal conflict increased with the proliferation of firearms and the ease with which they could be obtained. One study found that, while only men had the right to carry and own weapons, the age at which boys were given their own gun ranged from as young as 10 to 16, varying from region to region. In the north, boys often owned or carried fully automatic assault rifles from the age of 15.7
1 The question of conscientious objection to military service, Report of the UN Secretary-General to the UN Commission on Human Rights, UN Doc. E/CN.4/1997/99, 16 January 1997, http://www.ohchr.org.
2 B. Horeman and M. Stolwijk, Refusing to Bear Arms: A World Survey of Conscription and Conscientious Objection to Military Service, War Resisters International, London, 1998, http://www.wri-irg.org/co/rtba; Confidential source, March 2004.
3 Statement, 8 May 2002, http://www.un.org/ga/children/yemenA.pdf.
4 BBC Online, "US military advisers heading for Yemen", 2 March 2002, and "Yemen's new anti-terror strategy", 16 December 2003, http://news. bbc.co.uk.
5 AFP "Aden-Abyan Islamic Army Does Not Exist – Abdennabi", 8 February 2004, accessed via http://www.arabnews.com.
6 Development Denied: Small Arms Survey 2003, Graduate Institute of International Studies, Geneva, 2003, http://www.smallarmssurvey.org.
7 Derek B. Miller, Demand, Stockpiles, and Social Controls: Small Arms in Yemen, Occasional Paper No. 9, Small Arms Survey, Geneva, May 2003.