UAE's UN ambassador says conflict-zone children most at threat in Arab region

Lana Nusseibeh, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the UAE to the UN, makes pledge to protect children from conflict

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, December 18, 2017:    Lana Zaki Nusseibeh Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the United Arab Emirates to the United Nations delivers one of the keynote speeches during the Gender Dimensions of International Peace and Security conference at the Ritz Carlton Grand Canal hotel in the Khor Al Maqta'a area of Abu Dhabi on December 18, 2017. Christopher Pike / The National

Reporter: Caline Malek
Section: News
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The UAE has reaffirmed its commitment to protect children from armed conflict during a debate at the United Nations - after a worrying increase in "grave violations" against young people across the globe.

Lana Nusseibeh, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the UAE to the UN, said there is “nothing more universal” than the principle that children are entitled to special protection during a statement at a United Nations Security Council Open Debate on Children and Armed Conflict.

She said there was nowhere else in the world where children were under more threat than the Arab region.

“It is something that we can all agree on, no matter our policy positions or how entrenched our disagreements may be,” said Ms Nusseibeh.

“We should all be extremely concerned by the significant increase of verified grave violations against children in 2017.”

And she said the Arab Coalition in Yemen ­ — which includes Saudi Arabia and the UAE — takes its responsibilities to protect children from the conflict very seriously.

She outlined measures implemented by the Coalition to minimize the impact on children from the conflict, and set out its close coordination with UN agencies and NGOs on the ground.

Ms Nusseibeh said the Houthis continue to terrorize the population in Yemen. Their worst offenses include using children as child soldiers and human shields, the use of civilian hospitals and schools for military purposes, the indiscriminate laying of landmines, as well as the attacks on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia against their civilian population, she said.


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Her speech came as it emerged that a three year old child injured by shelling from the Houthi militia had been evacuated to the UAE to complete her recovery.

Sumaiya Sadaan Hassan received serious abdominal injuries when a mortar shell fired by the Houthis hit her house. She was evacuated and taken to a UAE field hospital, where an Emirati surgical team working with the Saudi-led Arab Coalition Forces performed a four-hour operation to remove shrapnel and treat her injuries, according to Wam, the UAE state news agency.

Once stabilised she he was flown to Abu Dhabi on the instructions of the UAE leadership to continue her recovery.

The child’s father, Sadaan Hassan, told state news agency WAM that he was thankful and grateful to the leadership and people of the UAE for the care the country extended to his daughter.

He said his daughter’s treatment was a generous humanitarian gesture, which demonstrated the UAE’s care and concern for the people for the people of Yemen.