Yemen

Health: Only 50 percent of the population has access to health services. Yemen suffers from high infant, under-five, and maternal mortality rates, partly due to the weak antenatal and post-natal care and maternal malnutrition, and the high prevalence of malnutrition among children. It is particularly in the rural areas where health care provision is poor owing to lack of the necessary support structures, such as education, communication, transport and other facilities. There is no adequate data on adolescents' access to reproductive and mental health-care. Harmful traditional practices, including Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), early marriages and deprivation of education are common in certain regions. The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child is concerned about the high number of people chewing quat (a stimulant leaf) in Yemen, among whom are a significant number of children.1

Education: Illiteracy is high among women, and school enrolment rates remain extremely low. High drop-out rates are pervasive in primary education and enrolment ratio in secondary education is low. The difference in enrolment rates in education between rural and urban areas is attributed to weak access to education services in rural areas.The Committee on the Rights of the Child is also concerned that negative stereotypes of girls remain in school curricula, and that youngsters have difficulty entering the labour market due to low qualification levels and the lack of vocational training.2

Working children: The prevalence of child labour is high and is a widely spread phenomenon in Yemeni society. Children working as domestic servants are particularly vulnerable to abuse, including sexual abuse, and are completely devoid of protection.3

Trafficking: Many of the children who are trafficked to Saudi Arabia, often with the support from their parents, are sent back to Yemen and end up in the streets of major cities. There is concern about the increasing number of street children and the vulnerability of these children to sexual abuse and exploitation, as the state lacks a systematic and comprehensive strategy to address the situation and protect these children.4

Child soldiers: Government forces and Huthi fighters both recruited children for combat. Huthi fighters carried out summary executions and put civilians in harm's way by firing from populated areas. Government forces reportedly conducted indiscriminate aerial bombardment in civilian-populated areas, including a crowded market in al-Talh on September 14 and a gathering of displaced persons in al-‘Adi on September 16.5

Justice: The minimum age for marriage of girls is only 15, and some may even get married earlier, as young as 12, due to the lack of law enforcement. There are persistent discriminatory social attitudes against girls. In their 2005 concluding arguments, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child shows its concern at the disparities in the enjoyment of rights and at the social discrimination experienced by children belonging to the most vulnerable groups, inter alia, children who are also addressed as Akhdam children, children born out of wedlock, children with disabilities, street children and children living in rural areas. Corporal punishment is still used as a disciplinary measure in schools despite its official prohibition and is widely practised within the family and in other settings. Corporal punishment, for example flogging, is still lawful as a sentence for crime.6

Yemeni children suffer from a high prevalence of abuse, including sexual abuse, and neglect, and the lack of effective measures to combat this problem. The minimum age of criminal responsibility is 7 years and according to the Committee there are also other shortcomings in the juvenile justice systems.7

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