Statement of Women4Yemen Network for the 20th anniversary of UNRSC1325
November 01, 2020
Excellencies, dear colleagues, distinguished guests,
I am here today on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security. This anniversary is an opportunity to redouble efforts towards supporting women working for peace.
We know that Yemeni women are systematically excluded from peace talks. Although women are excluded from formal peace negotiations, they continue to advocate for and negotiate peace on the ground. For example, women have advocated for and secured the release of abductees. Women continue to form grassroots and high-level coalitions unify voices calling for peace.
But at decision-making levels, women are absent from both political life and the peace process. In Stockholm, for example, only one woman participated. If we don't make efforts to integrate women politically, women will not be represented in Track 1 peace negotiations.
Women4Yemen supports the recently-announced truce, and we call on all parties to the conflict not squander this opportunity for peace. For peace to happen, women’s participation must be guaranteed.
Women4Yemen is working on Track 2 and 3 through networking with global and regional organizations and donors such as CMI and Nobel Women’s Initiative. We work to empower women politically and provide opportunities for advocacy.
The strong advocacy work of Women4Yemen gives visibility to the work of Yemeni women activists. We advocate for peace and women’s inclusion in peace talks through videos, posters, blogs, speeches, meetings, media statements and interviews. For example, we issued statements in support Awfa al Naami and called for an end to the Taiz conflict. https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/yemeni-women-demand-seat-table-peace-talks-begin-stockholm
Women4Yemen, with the Association of Abductees' Mothers, submitted a report to the CEDAW Committee on the significant increase of discrimination against women since the start of the conflict. https://bit.ly/3jYfx0V
We need to join forces with local and international women’s groups, with government agencies, civil society organizations and the international community in an effort to support and uphold women’s efforts for peace.
According to the recent report by the UN’s Group of Eminent Experts (GEE), women activists face unprecedented levels of retaliation and oppression by all parties to the conflict, particularity by the Ansar Allah Movement (known as the Houthi group) and armed groups affiliated with the UAE-US led coalition. The GEE report shows how gender norms are weaponized to silence women. Women4Yemen, in a side event at the Human Rights Council, highlighted that defamation, false prostitution accusations, and sexual violence are used to socially-stigmatize and silence women activists, particularly peace activists.
We are committed to ensuring women have access to legal support, to documenting abuse and to advocating for to women’s rights. We have partnered with two human rights organizations, SAM and the Yemeni archive, to provide legal support and have, also, provided legal assistance, pro-bono, to Asma Al Omeisy.
But more needs to be done. We need an increased focus on gender-based violence – violence which has been made worse by war and COVID-19.
The perpetrators of violence against women must be held to account. Judicial reforms, with a focus on gender, are much-needed in Yemen. Laws that criminalize gender-based violence must be enacted. And current laws, supporting gender-based violence, need to be reformed.
Political participation Recommendations:
(1) Support women’s organizations & women’s peace projects..
(2) Ensure 50% representation of women in the technical peace committee.
(3) Build women's capacities to reach decision-makers, to strengthen local networks and to fundraise.
(4)Support programs and policies aimed at women’s protection and safety.
(5) Ensure the meaningful and effective participation of Yemeni women with at least 30% participation across all tracks of the peace process and negotiations.
(6) Protect women's rights through agreements that are committed to by all parties and impose maximum penalties for violating agreements.
(7) Establish human rights committees that include women and men activists and investigate enforced disappearance of women and mitigate violence against women through awareness seminars.
Resources and References:
1- Women4Yemen Network. (2020). Global Appeal for Ceasefire Requires Commitment and Accountability in Yemen.
2-Yemeni Women “Group of Nine” network . (2020). Yemeni Women “Group of Nine” network for the implementation of the UN Security Council Resolution 1325.
3- Women4Yemen Network. (2020). Bombing Women’s Prison Renews the Suffering of Taiz.
4- Women4Yemen Network. (2020). Urgent Appeal To Release Prisoners and Detainees in Yemen.