Yemen adopted its first National Action Plan (NAP) in December 2019, to be implemented for the period 2020-2022. The process of developing the NAP is identified to have started in August 2018 with a three-day workshop to formulate the goals and framework of the plan. Civil society and UN agencies were involved in the process of developing, drafting, and reviewing the NAP. The NAP’s four overarching objectives, which are grouped under participation, prevention, protection, and relief and recovery, reflect the pillars of UNSCR 1325.
The NAP situates itself within the current country situation, where as of May 2020, Yemen has experienced five years of armed conflict. The NAP is contextualized by how the war in Yemen has decimated the economy, led to widespread displacement and an increase in poverty, and created a dire humanitarian situation, which affects civilians, including women and girls. The document describes the differential impacts of the conflict on women and girls and their human rights, including on issues such as sexual and gender-based violence, child marriage, education, health, and the right to live in dignity, safety, and stability (pgs. 8-9). The NAP references Yemen’s obligations under international law, including the 1949 Geneva Conventions and its 1977 Additional Protocol, the 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 protocol for the year, CEDAW and its optional protocol, the 1989 United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and its two optional protocols of 2000, taking into account the relevant provisions of the basic Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) (pg.7).
The current situation in Yemen has been described as the “world’s worst humanitarian crisis”. An estimated 24 million people (80% of the population) rely on humanitarian assistance to survive, over 100,000 people have been killed over five years of war, and 4 million people have been displaced. Conflict parties have engaged in arbitrary detention including of human rights activists and journalists, enforced disappearance, and torture, including sexual violence. All parties to the conflict have engaged in serious violations of international humanitarian law, including bombing civilian infrastructure and residential areas. Restrictions and delays on humanitarian access have inhibited the ability for people to access the food and medical assistance they need.
The war in Yemen is being fueled by the involvement of international actors and the influx of arms from abroad. WILPF and partner research has identified that arms transfers from countries including the United States, United Kingdom, Sweden, Canada, and Germany have been linked to human rights abuses in Yemen and have contributed to a rise in gender-based violence.