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GENEVA – A United Nations human rights watchdog called on Saudi Arabia on Thursday to halt its deadly air strikes against civilian targets in Yemen and to prosecute officials responsible for child casualties due to unlawful attacks.
The censure by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child coincided with international concern at the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a critic of Riyadh’s military role in Yemen, at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct 2.
Pressure has mounted on Saudi Arabia, including from allies, to do more to limit civilian casualties in a 3-1/2 year civil war that has killed more than 10,000 people and pushed Yemen to the brink of famine.
Riyadh leads a Western-backed coalition of Arab states supporting the Yemeni government in fighting against the Iran-allied Houthi movement that controls Yemen’s capital.
Saudi Arabia told the child rights panel last week that it was working hard to correct mistaken targeting by its military alliance, but the experts voiced skepticism.
The panel of 18 independent experts, in its conclusions issued on Thursday, took note of the Saudi statement but said that Yemeni children continue to be killed, maimed and orphaned.
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