Ban raps Saudi ‘pressure’ over abuse list

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UNITED NATIONS: UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has disclosed that he made the “painful and difficult” decision to temporarily remove the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen from a blacklist for violating child rights because of “undue pressure” from its supporters who threatened to stop funding many programmes being run by the global organisation.

The United Nations chief told reporters on Thursday he had to consider “the very real prospect” that millions of other children in the Palestinian territories, South Sudan, Syria, Yemen and many other places “would suffer grievously” if the world body’s programmes were defunded.

The secretary general was responding to what he called the “fierce reaction” to his decision, which was denounced by human rights groups.

They accused the secretary general of caving in to Saudi Arabia and said the US-backed coalition belongs to the list for its attacks on children, schools and hospitals.

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