Agents for Change Women as Grassroots Peacebuilding in Yemen

Agents for Change Women as Grassroots Peacebuilding in Yemen

Agents for Change Women as Grassroots Peacebuilding in Yemen


Women4Yemen, Yemen



Women at the grassroots are playing a major role in peacebuilding and they can be agents for change in the current peace process in Yemen. In this report, the Women for Yemen (W4Y) Network investigates and highlights the work of those women, explores the possibilities for them to support peace and how they can do it. The research report is supported through the MENA Investigative Fund and you can download it here.

The situation of the Yemeni women in Yemen

The situation of the Yemeni women in Yemen

The situation of the Yemeni women in Yemen


Women4Yemen, Yemen



I am here on behalf of ToBe Foundation and Women4Yemen Network to present our contribution to this discussion.


Situation for women:

Women in Yemen are the group most affected by the ongoing conflict, taking on full responsibility for the entire household alone and with no support. 1 million pregnant women are malnourished and 2,6 million women are at risk of gender-based violence[1]. Thousands of women delved into the job market for the first time with no skills in a country with a poor service delivery system. Child marriage has tripled since 2017 and women and girls are pressured to resort to negative coping mechanisms to make a living, such as begging, prostitution, getting into debt.[2]

Women activists in peace and civil society face unprecedented levels of retaliation and oppression by all parties to the conflict, particularity by the armed groups affiliated with the Ansar Allah Movement (known as the Houthi group) or the armed groups affiliated with the UAE-US led coalition, according to the recent report by the UN’s Group of Eminent Experts (GEE). The GEE report shows how gender norms are used as a weapon of war to silence women, and we have mentioned this point in a side event at the Human Rights Council, where we say that defamation, false prostitution accusations, and sexual violence were used to create social stigma to silence women activists, particularly peace activists, and this was worsened by a crushed civil society and media blackout.

At the decision-making level, women’s participation in political life and the peace process is extremely poor. In the last peace negotiations in Stockholm, only one woman participated. Yet, women’s voluntary efforts in other tracks of peace support the peace process. Women continue to form grassroots and high-level coalitions in order to unify their voices calling for peace.

We, therefore, call for:

  1. Immediate ceasefire
  2. Ensure effective participation of women in all peace processes, with at least 30 percent representation.
  3. Revive the peace process.
  4. Ceasing arms supplies in Yemen.
  5. Peace process should be inclusive and not only to those who cause conflict.
  6. Provide protection to women activists campaigning for peace and human rights.
  7. Pressuring all conflict parties to end all forms of sexual violence against women.
  8. Mainstream gender in all processes; women and civil society should be included in all committees and entities resulting from negotiations.
  9. Ensuring accountability for all violations in Yemen.
  10. Supporting grassroots women-led peace organizations such as the Association of the Mothers of Abductees.
  11. Working for respecting the humanitarian law and accountability measures by all parties. This must include to hold the international community accountable, the Swedish government and all other stakeholders who signed UNSCR 1325 and have shown commitment.


[2] Humanitarian Needs Review, 2019


  1. Group of Eminent International and Regional Experts on Yemen*. (2019). Situation of human rights in Yemen, including violations and abuses since September 2014. United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
  2. Hagedorn, E. (2019). Yemeni women activists escape war with the help of a global, underground network. PRI.
  3. Joint Statement. (n.d.). A call for peace in Yemen and women’s meaningful participation. UN Women; 1325; SAF Yemen.
  4. SAM Organization for Human Rights. (2019). ماذا بقي لنا؟[What has been left for us?].
  5. UNOCHA. (2019 ). Humanitarian Needs Review.
  6. Women4Yemen Network. (2018). Arbitrary arrest and detention of Yemeni Women jeopardizes gender equality and peace; threatens Stockholm Agreement. Women4Yemen Network.
  7. Women4Yemen Network. (2019). WFP decision to halt aid is an indicator of a larger problem of crushed civil space, affecting the lives of millions of Yemenis and threatening opportunities for sustainable peace. Women4Yemen Network.

The paper is a joint paper by Women4Yemen Network and ToBe Foundation organized by Operation 1325. The panel included Green Monica from UN Women in Sweden and Peter Semneby, the Sweden’s Envoy to Yemen. 

Lina Al-Hassani On Behalf of  Women4Yemen Network (Partner) ToBe Foundation (Director)

The Suffering of Yemeni Asylum Seekers in Transit Countries is Invisible

The Suffering of Yemeni Asylum Seekers in Transit Countries is Invisible

The Suffering of Yemeni Asylum Seekers in Transit Countries is Invisible


Women4Yemen, Yemen



Research by:

Wadha Abdo - Principal researcher - Head of the Refugees and Immigrants portfolio, Women4Yemen Network

The Suffering of Yemeni Asylum Seekers in Transit Countries is Invisible



Kawkab al-Thaibani, Director, Women4Yemen Network - Review and editing

Jane Feeney - Proofreading and editing, Consultant, Women4Yemen Network

Dr.Boshra Sasaah – Translation and follow-up, Women4Yemen Network


Special thanks to:

Wojood Community to support Yemeni refugees in Egypt.

The Voluntary Committee for the Defense of Yemeni Refugees in Malaysia.

Renewal and Strengthening of Group of Eminent Experts Mandate Would Be A Victory for Peace in Yemen

Renewal and Strengthening of Group of Eminent Experts Mandate Would Be A Victory for Peace in Yemen

Renewal and Strengthening of Group of Eminent Experts Mandate Would Be A Victory for Peace in Yemen


Women4Yemen, Yemen


Women4Yemen Network urges the Human Rights Council to adopt a resolution during the current session of the Council to renew and strengthen the mandate of the Group of Eminent Experts on Yemen, given the Group’s crucial role in efforts towards accountability.

“Calling for accountability, including supporting the role of the Group of Eminent Experts, is a call for peace that we, as a women’s group working for peace, always demand. The endemic impunity present in Yemen must end if we hope to achieve reconciliation in the future and rebuild the social fabric required for a peace that lasts,” says Kawkab Al-Thaibani, Director of Women4Yemen Network.

The report of the Group of Eminent Experts on Yemen issued on September 3r, 2019, documented human rights abuses and violations and international humanitarian law violations during the last five years, including indiscriminate and disproportionate airstrikes, indiscriminate shelling, snipers targeting civilians, the use of antipersonnel landmines, as well as arbitrary killings and detention, torture, sexual and gender-based violence, and impeding access to humanitarian aid in the midst of the worst humanitarian crisis in the world.

As a network that aspires for lasting peace, Women4Yemen Network sees the work of the Group of Eminent Experts as crucial, particularly as it shows the amount of abuse Yemeni women and women opponents have endured. The report mentioned violations and abuses meant to intimidate women from political participation. Highlighting the challenges women peacemakers and activists face aligns with our call that Yemeni women working in peace need additional support and protection, especially those working at a grassroots level.

The report calls for an end to warring party violations and abuses, and for greater efforts towards accountability. It highlights the role of foreign states, including the United States, Britain, France and Iran, in supporting parties to this conflict. The report recommends supporting the efforts of the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen in his efforts to reach a political agreement to end the conflict and urges that accountability must be part of any efforts towards sustainable peace.

Sanctioning impunity and rewarding violence is one of the root causes of conflict in Yemen. Since the GCC-brokered initiative in 2011, and despite warning calls that granting immunity to individuals implicated in grave abuse could encourage more violence,  the international community has to date failed to take a strong stance in favor of credible accountability efforts in Yemen.

Yemen will not enjoy peace as long as local and international actors responsible for serious violations of international humanitarian law and gross violations and abuses of human rights are enjoying impunity. The Group of Eminent Experts report sends a message of hope that the world can still come together to provide justice to Yemeni victims, which would help, not hinder, peace efforts. Failure to support the Group of Experts including by renewing and strengthening its mandate, would be a failure to support peace calls in Yemen and would further encourage the current culture of rewarding violence.

Women4Yemen Network
September 18, 2019
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Attacks On Aden: A Gateway To New Conflict Phase

Attacks On Aden: A Gateway To New Conflict Phase

Attacks On Aden: A Gateway To New Conflict Phase


Women4Yemen, Yemen


The Women4Yemen Network condemns the attack on Al-Jalaa refugee camp during a training demonstration. The attack was carried out by Al-Houthi group who fired a rocket and killed more than 30 people and wounded others. It was also reported that an Al-Qaeda terrorist group targeted a car bomb at the Sheikh Osman police station in Aden governorate, killing 13 people and injuring others. However, the group later denied this.

We condemn these crimes and believe that these events will have serious implications for efforts to achieve sustainable peace in Yemen and may lead to a further bloody phase of conflict. 

This attack by the Houthi group is a public violation of its commitment to the Stockholm Agreement and confidence-building measures. The Stockholm Convention represents an important step in the peace process, but the lack of condemnation and international and regional pressure on those that break the peace agreement is a reward for violence, which will have a serious negative impact on events in Yemen.

Following the Stockholm Agreement, the Houthi group has not stopped its expansionist plans and practices that threaten peace, such as continuing to bomb Taiz and Dhali, the recruitment of children, laying mines, heavily targeting women, female activists, journalists and civil society.

On the other hand, the governorate of Aden as an interim capital of Yemen suffers a weak state presence mainly because of the dominance of armed groups over state institutions, groups that are affiliated with the Transitional Council and supported by the United Arab Emirates, according to local and international reports.

These armed groups are carrying out a large number of violations in southern Yemen and their leaders are now carrying out campaigns of forced displacement of Yemeni citizens from the northern governorates to exploit the attack carried out by the Houthi group on the citizens of Aden, exploiting the horrific aftermath of the war waged by the Houthi group on the province of Aden after its takeover of Sanaa in 2014 and the southern grievance in the past.

These violations committed by these armed groups lead to the provocation of regional conflicts between the citizensof one nation and the disruption of the social fabric. 

In order to preserve Yemen's territorial integrity and the success of the peace efforts, Women4Yemen Network recommends:

  • Conduct an international investigation into the incidents that took place, and identify the perpetrator .the Group of Eminent Experts on Yemen should continue include these implications in their agenda.
  • The international community and the Office of the UN Special Envoy for Yemen should pressure the Houthi armed group to stop armed operations and their attempts at expansion, which has clearly increased after the Stockholm agreement, such as Hajour and Dhali and now their recognition of hitting a camp in Aden.
  • The international community and the countries supporting Yemen should pressure the coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the UAE to abide by the objectives that it has come to support legitimacy, the restoration of the Yemeni territories and the unity of Yemen.
  • We call upon the Yemeni government to exercise its civilian and military functions to impose its control over liberated cities.
  • All violations against the citizens of the northern governorates in Aden should be monitored and investigated and the perpetrators of these violations should be brought to trial.


Sanaa, Yemen

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