United Nations (United States) (AFP) - Children are particularly vulnerable in the conflicts raging around the globe, according to a draft UN report that specifically pointed the finger of blame in Yemen at the Saudi-led coalition.
The draft of an annual UN report on the impact of armed conflict on children lists the countries and entities accused of recruiting child soldiers and using children as weapons of war.
"I am highly concerned by the scale and severity of the grave violations that were committed against children in 2016, which included alarming levels of killing and maiming, recruitment and use and denial of humanitarian access," Secretary General Antonio Guterres says in the draft seen by AFP.
The UN chief said minors often fell prey as well to sexual violence and abduction.
The report found some 4,000 verified cases of rape last year by government troops in conflicts around the world and more than 11,500 rapes by non-government armed groups.
He called on the parties to conflicts around the world to do more to protect children, singling out the plight of Yemeni minors, where a Saudi-led Arab military coalition has stepped in on behalf of the government.
More than 8,400 people have been killed and 47,700 wounded since Saudi Arabia and its allies intervened.
The United Nations has called Yemen "the largest humanitarian crisis in the world."
The report also made particular mention of Somalia and Syria, two nations where the use of forced military conscriptions more than doubled last year compared to 2015.