Final report of the Panel of Experts on Yemen established pursuant to Security Council Committee resolution 2140 (2014) (S/2015/125).

Friday, February 20, 2015
PeaceWomen Consolidated Themes: 
Peace Processes
Justice, Rule of Law and Security Sector Reform
Security Council Agenda Geographical Topic: 

Code: S/2015/125

Topic: Yemen Sanctions

Women, Peace and Security

The letter from the Panel of Experts on Yemen makes few references to women. In a footnote of a statement detailing Yemeni youth’s susceptibility to recruitment by ideological extremist groups, the Panel’s letter reports that 60 percent of Yemen’s youth are unemployed and suffer from high rates of illiteracy, especially among women.[1] In citing interlocutors’ reports and documentary evidence of Houthis violations, the Panel includes three incidents in the letter of which women are mentioned in two. In the case of Hamdan, women were reported to have been evacuated prior to Houthis attacks. The report also analyzes the gendered impact of the attack, noting most of the violations were sustained by men.[2] In addition, during an attack on the Amran Central Prison, Houthis loaded a group of 52 women prisoners onto trucks, in contrast to some 450 male prisoners who were released.[3]

Although the Panel also investigates incidents of gender-specific violence, the report notes little “relevant and concrete” evidence, including evidence on sexual violence.[4] The Panel only reported on a single situation of gender violence, citing the use of marriage tents and forced marriages in an AQAP camp in 2012.[5] The Panel attributes minimal reporting of gender-based violence to strict tribal laws prohibiting crimes against women and girls.”[6]

In regards to women’s participation, the Panel reports women’s participation in the political process as a reason for delay in the completion of the constitutional-drafting.[7] Women’s participation issues are not often discussed alongside sanctions. The Panel should be commended for highlighting women’s participation.

References in Need of Improvement

While the Panel’s letter provides gender disaggregated information on the impacts and treatment of civilians in violent Houthis attacks, this analysis could be improved throughout the report. Gender disaggregated data on all political processes and human rights violations should be provided. The Panel should in particular distinguish between “girls and boys” when discussing violations against children[8] to ensure gendered impacts of violence may be more fully understood. In addition, while the limited economic and educational data on youth provides a reasonable explanation for the group's vulnerability in recruitment into violent extremism,[9] the Panel should make the causal link to girls. Most importantly, the Panel needs to improve the “gender-based violence”[10] analysis by suggesting ways forward to gain information on sexual and gender based violence. The panel should consider reaching out to women’s civil society organizations to acquire information and/or include a gender expert as part of the group.

Missed Opportunities

The Letter from the Panel of Experts on Yemen missed numerous opportunities to include the women, peace and security agenda. In its discussion of the country situation, the letter fails to mention women and gender dynamics in a number of contexts, particularly the widespread availability of arms.[11] Despite limited evidence of violence against women, the Panel also failed to utilize women’s protection language, particularly in the section on gender-specific violations.[12] The Panel also missed an opportunity on information sharing, making no mention of contacting the SRSG on Sexual Violence in Conflict. Overall, the Panel’s letter would have been improved by adding a gender lens to conflict reporting and analysis.

Most importantly, the panel missed an opportunity to include any mention of women in its recommendations. The panel should recommend that the Security Council call on all parties of conflict to end the targeting of women, girls, and boys, especially in regards to its recommendation to cease the military use of schools and hospitals.[13] The Panel also recommends the expansion of the panel to include additional experts on arms;[14] however, the panel should have also recommended additional experts on gender, or at the very least request gendered analysis from additional experts on arms. In addition, recommendations to the Yemeni Government could have been made stronger through the use of a gender lens, in particular the recommendation to establish the National Commission of Inquiry on violations of human rights could have emphasized women.[15] Further, the Panel missed an opportunity to recommend to the Committee to initiate interaction with the Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict and the need to follow-up on gender-based violence investigations.

Ideal Asks for WPS Transformation

The letter should include explicit references to and analysis of all gendered dimensions of the ongoing conflict and political processes in Yemen. At a minimum, gender disaggregated data must be included in all analysis, particularly in the discussion of the impact of arms. The Panel must also seek further follow-up on gender-based violence from all parties. To start the Panel should request an information sharing session with the SRSG on Sexual Violence in Conflict. Finally, to ensure better incorporation of gender analysis and concerns in any forthcoming actions, it is imperative that gender be prioritized in all relevant recommendations that affect or may pertain to women.


[1] S/2015/125 para. 53

[2] S/2015/125 para. 108

[3] S/2015/125 para. 114

[4]  S/2015/125 para. 159

[5]  S/2015/125 para. 160

[6]  S/2015/125 para. 161

[7]  S/2015/125 para. 42

[8] S/2015/125 para. 156-158

[9] S/2015/125 para. 53

[10] S/2015/125 para. 159-161

[11] S/2015/125 para. 148-155

[12] S/2015/125 para. 159-161

[13] S/2015/125 para. 203 (6)(i)

[14] S/2015/125 para. 203 (8)

[15] S/2015/125 para. 203 (10)