NEW YORK – A Saudi Arabia-led coalition is unlikely to get access to the anonymous sources of information that led the UN to briefly blacklist the kingdom for maiming and killing children in Yemen.
Saudi UN Ambassador Abdallah Al-Mouallimi, in a June 8 letter on behalf of the coalition to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, asked the United Nations to reveal details on the sources of information for its report on the violation of child rights during the armed conflict in Yemen. Some of the sources were reportedly high-ranking officials in the Saudi establishment.
The Saudi-led coalition includes Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Senegal and Sudan.
Yesterday, U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said the world body has yet to respond to the letter, though he made clear the U.N. would not disclose the details of its sources in the report.
“Protecting the sources of information that are used in this report, or any other report, is paramount, especially in a conflict area,” he told reporters. “But we obviously welcome any information that the Saudi-led coalition may want to share with us.”
The U.N. report on children and armed conflict said the coalition, which began an air campaign in March 2015 to defeat Iran-allied Houthi rebels, was responsible for 60 percent of child deaths and injuries in the conflict last year, killing 510 and wounding 667.
The coalition’s removal from the blacklist prompted angry reactions from human rights groups, which accused Secretary General Ban Ki-moon of caving in to pressure from powerful countries.
Saudi Arabia’s powerful deputy crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, is in the United States for meetings with President Barack Obama and other U.S. officials and is also scheduled to meet with business leaders on the West Coast and in New York this week and next.