Yemen and the MENA Agenda 1325

Written by: Timothy Rodriguez

As part of WILPF's MENA1325 project advancing women's rights by mobilizing and building the capacity of women's organizations to participate in peace and challenge militarised security frameworks, this month's ENews highlights WILPF work in Yemen.

In Yemen, the US “War on Terror” including ongoing drone attacks from the sky and Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) on the ground has supported a highly militarized security framework which pose particular security risks to women and girls. One social justice organization calls Yemen the “worst place to live as a woman” with extreme conditions including 35% female literacy rate, 30:100 female to male income ratio, 134th global ranking in women's educational attainment, poor health care for women, and almost half of young girls married before they turn eighteen.

To combat this militarization and violence and promote gender equality, peace and freedom, WILPF partners with the Human Rights and Information Training Centre (HRITC), Yemen, in this critical area for crisis response. HRITC helps spread human rights values by holding seminars, specialised trainings, and workshops to increase civil society's impact on WPS issues. HRITC also offers a scientific library, with publications, newspaper documentation, and bulletins from local, Arab, and international intellectuals that provides a knowledge service for researchers, activists, and civil society.

In order to draw attention to the array of issues facing women in Yemen, WILPF works with HRITC to strengthen women's rights and participation through building capacity and access in key contexts. This builds on WILPF's work with HRITC in 2012 to support creation of a regional action agenda on Women Peace and Security and its ongoing work to promote implementation of UNSCR 1325. Our work together in Yemen faces challenges but has demonstrated in results: this includes some strengthening of civil society and increased commitment to the participation of women in decision-making and peacebuilding.