The Impact of War in Yemen on Gender-Based Violence

The Impact of War in Yemen on Gender-Based Violence
The Impact of War in Yemen on Gender-Based Violence
The Impact of War in Yemen on Gender-Based Violence

Patterns of violence against women in Yemen

By: Abdulkareem Ghanem - Researcher in Political Sociology


Eight years since the conflict in Yemen began. Women and girls are still experiencing higher than average levels of gender-based violence. In order to support their families, women and girls were forced to work dangerous jobs during the war; however, because of their growing responsibilities and changing social roles, violence against women increased as a result of the war. The conflicting parties in Yemen were able to use the country's rigid gender norms to stifle any indications of opposition by limiting the movement of women and girls, restricting their movements, and arresting female activists. Due to the alteration of traditional roles within the family, men reacted to that out of feelings of weakness and threat.

Men demonstrated ferocious resistance to the evolution of women's roles, which can be understood by the rise in domestic violence cases, early marriages, female circumcision, honor killings, the decline in women's and girls' access to food and education, and the rise in forced marriages. Child marriage in Yemen is one of the highest rates in the world. [1] Where girls as young as 13 are pushed into marriage, to ease economic pressure on their families, and in most cases, girls drop out of school and stay at home, due to social expectations of gender roles.

The conflict has marked a new phase of transformation for Yemeni society, resulting in the proliferation of checkpoints across the country and the restrictions on freedom of movement, which has contributed to the destruction of the fragile improvement in women rights, and the decline in the means to protect women and girls from gender-based violence.

There is progress to be made despite the grim picture of the extent of violence against women and girls in Yemen during the conflict. The advancement of women's rights in contemporary Yemen has far outpaced that of other Arab Gulf states.

Despite the much greater wealth in the Gulf, Yemen's modernist social trends and the political, constitutional, and legal rights outlined in the draft constitution are also contributing to women's trends against violence against women. These trends go beyond the work of humanitarian organizations. Combining all of these strategies can lessen gender-based violence.[2]

Because men are the majority of direct victims of armed conflict and its consequences, women bear the burden of spending on the family and managing it under extremely difficult circumstances, making them more vulnerable to various forms of violence. Although the conflict in Yemen had a significant impact on all civilians, women and girls were adversely impacted due to the persistence of negative stereotypes regarding gender roles and patriarchal attitudes, the discriminatory legal system, economic inequality, and the consequent exacerbation of Yemen's fragile situation regarding women's exposure to violence.

In light of the increasing suffering of Yemenis from the economic crisis, the damage to infrastructure, and the collapse of services, women have had to endure additional hardships such as limited movement due to prevailing cultural norms between the sexes. Women became also responsible for providing food, care in their homes, and accessing health care. In exchange for this shift in women's and girls' roles, which was necessitated by the war's circumstances, the warring parties-imposed restrictions on their movements. This caused subsequent developments to stall, and in some cases reverse, as it resulted in the emergence of new weaknesses that contributed to the exacerbation of violence against women and girls as a result of displacement, poverty, and indiscriminate violence, as well as the collapse of the criminal justice system's limited support for confronting violence. Some law enforcement actors, armed forces and armed groups have even become a direct threat to women's security.

The conflict parties have obstructed key protection nets, and since 2016, the de facto authorities have increasingly imposed patriarchal rules and laws, with strict interpretation, through the use of state institutions and public discourse, as a means of controlling women and girls and limiting their political participation.

This study begins with analyzing the historical context of gender-based violence, examining its cultural roots, and the associated official legislation and procedures, then reviewing the reality of gender-based violence before the outbreak of the conflict, and analyzing the extent of the impact of armed conflict in exacerbating this problem through the analysis of quantitative and qualitative  data  obtained through interviews with some victims of gender-based violence and their families, and the analysis of data obtained from reports of local, national and international organizations, research institutions, the United Nations, the World Bank, Academic articles, dissertations, books, laws and legislation related to the subject of study.

This study report offers recommendations regarding suitable steps to safeguard women and girls, as well as to respect and exercise their rights following the end of the armed conflict and presents principles for countering gender-based violence in order to help limit its amplification throughout the conflict.

Gender-Based Violence: Its Contemporary Roots, Modern Manifestations, and its Diversity in the Yemeni Context

Historically, women in Yemen were less powerful in society than men,[3] and gender-based violence - before the outbreak of conflict in Yemen - was a recurring problem, especially within the family, and as it is prevalent in many societies, it is socially shameful to report abuse from a close individual such as a father or husband, and it is very shameful in Yemeni culture to hit or insult a woman,[4] despite this, the father or brother has the right to do so in order to discipline the girl and preserve the honor of the family, so that the issue of discipline is not seen as shameful. It is often viewed as a private family concern.

The Civil Code's provisions are not all that dissimilar from this traditional culture, as they obligate the woman to be submissive to her husband, forbid her from leaving the marital home except under very specific circumstances, and require her to engage in sexual activity with her husband when requested. Marital rape is not criminalized, and these conditions can lead to domestic violence and marital rape.[5]

Similarly, these provisions of the Penal Code increase women’s vulnerability to violence, as it gives reduced sentences to men convicted of so-called “honor killings.”[6] In addition, if a family member kills a female relative in the name of “honor,” his family can forgive him. Except for the general protection offered by the Penal Code, which criminalizes the physical harm, Yemen has no laws that are specifically intended to protect women from gender-based violence.

Yemen does not yet have a minimum age for marriage, despite attempts in the Parliament to raise the minimum age for marriage to 18. This was discussed at the National Dialogue Conference, following the events of the Arab Spring and the political transition process, where the drafting of a new constitution was completed in 2015 but has not yet been ratified for variety reasons. The draft guarantees equality before the law (Article 74) and non-discrimination on the basis of sex or creed (Article 75), the prohibition of physical and sexual exploitation (Article 77), and the prohibition of human trafficking (Article 78). The draft also specified the legal age for marriage for both men and women, which is 18 years (Article 124), but these provisions have not entered into force.[7]

Boys and girls are still frequently married off young, particularly in rural areas. Girls typically marry younger than boys do. As a result, a large number of them drop out of school and experience childbearing and pregnancy at a young age, endangering both their own health and the health of their baby. Girls are frequently compelled by their families to marry men who are much older than them, which prevents them from finishing their education and leaves them financially and socially dependent on their husbands. Domestic violence and forced marriages are frequently linked, especially when it comes to young girls. Girls who get married before turning 18 are more likely to experience violence than their peers who get married later in life.[8]

According to the situation of girls and women before the conflict, the 2014 Universal Periodic Review of Yemen made several recommendations to improve women’s rights and the opportunities available to them. Before the outbreak of the war, women and girls lived in a poor and unequal society, as Yemen ranks second worst in the world among all countries in the index of gender inequality in composite measures of protection from gender-based violence. [9]

The majority of violent incidents involving women and girls were handled within the family and in accordance with customs. Yemen is still mainly a tribal society with a powerful patriarchal system.[10]

The Yemeni Women's Union provides survivors of violence with legal information and referrals to legal and other services, and a team of female officers in the Ministry of Interior's Family Protection Unit receives complaints from women about their husbands, brothers, or families in general.

There was a five-year workplan (2011-2015) in the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor that included the development of five new shelters for women in five governorates, but the process was halted due to the ongoing conflict.[11]

The family continues to be the primary available source of protection and assistance for its members who are victims of gender-based violence. However, this protection has limited impact and effectiveness, especially since the family itself is a primary source of gender-based violence.

Increased Violence Against Women and Girls During Armed Conflict

Due to discriminatory practices that increased their exposure to violence, the escalation of the armed conflict in late 2014 made the already dire situation worse.[12] In addition, the actions of the warring parties resulted in the mass displacement of women and girls, and the violence against them sharply increased.[13] According to reports, since the conflict's escalation in 2015, violence against women has increased by about 63 percent, and this means more cases of rape, domestic violence, forced marriage, and child marriage. [14] [15]

In addition to physical and psychological abuse and trauma, compared to what was the case before the war, [16] and in the same context, a number of studies representing women in a number of governorates reported that the highest risk of gender-based violence among women and girls in Yemen was between 2016 and 2019, was domestic violence perpetrated by family members. This type of violence increased during the conflict. The reason for this is the change of “traditional roles” within the family, whereby men lose their jobs and stay home, while women assume the roles of breadwinners, which leads to an increase in social tensions, and exposes women to domestic violence. The perpetrators mostly close family members, including parents, siblings, intimate partners and extended family members.[17] Since the onset of the war, UNFPA has documented a steady rise in the rates of survivors accessing GBV services, despite multiple barriers to reporting and growing challenges facing these services. The rate of rise reached 70 percent in some governorates.[18]

Women and children make up approximately 76 percent of the displaced. Amid all these hardships, women have remained strong and resilient. In most cases, women are the ones who bear the burden of providing for their families, and they are more vulnerable to gender-based violence in unusual circumstances.[19] The WILPF study showed that displacement increases the risk of violence against women, as well as other crimes that disproportionately target them, due to “compound social discrimination that makes women dependent on others for assistance.”[20]

According to the UNFPA, women and girls between the ages of 15 and 49 who live in Sana'a, Aden, and Hajjah are at risk of gender-based violence, including sexual assault and rape.[21]

Displacement and the collapse of protection mechanisms have greatly increased the vulnerability of women and girls to violence. "More than 3 million people have been displaced due to conflict; more than half of them are women and girls." It should be noted that the disproportionate displacement of women and children is a major risk, both in more secure host environments and in unsafe and informal settlements.[22] In Yemen, at least a third of the displaced have taken refuge in public and abandoned buildings, with limited protection factors, in the absence of a formal camp system. In addition, many of the one million displaced women and girls have returned to their homes, finding them unsafe.

The Overlap of Official and Societal Violence with Domestic Violence

Restricting The Movement of Women and Curbing Their Movement

Women and girls are among the groups most affected by the crisis, as about 80 percent of the 4.5 million displaced people in Yemen are women and children. Families supported by women currently represent 26 percent of the total displaced families.[23]

Discriminatory social behaviors against women and their economic and social involvement continue to take root, which compounds the existing inequality and impedes women's access to basic services. The requirement of "Mahram" for women, including humanitarian workers, has been largely enforced since 2022 in the northern provinces of the country. This requirement stipulates that a woman should not travel without a "male" escort from her family. This requirement has undermined the ability of the humanitarian community to deliver life-saving aid, especially to women and girls. It has also exacerbated women's food insecurity and limited their access to protection services and health care, with repercussions on their psychological and physical health. Access to basic services and freedom of movement is a greater challenge for women and girls who lack legal identification documents due to discriminatory laws and procedures.[24]

Restrictions on women's freedom of movement have also made access to justice particularly difficult for women living in poor rural areas, as they face severe restrictions on their freedom of movement and must be escorted a male member of the family.[25]

In addition to separating men and women, the de facto authorities also shut down institutions that did not carry out these orders. These laws required women to travel with a male relative acting as a guardian. Without a male relative by her side, women are "vulnerable to violence at checkpoints. subjected to harassment, arbitrary detention, torture, and other forms of ill-treatment by the security forces," which results in a decline in the number of forums for constructive conversation and mutual understanding between men and women.[26]

In the past two years, parties to the conflict have publicly threatened and harassed opponents by using derogatory terms to accuse them of prostitution, promiscuity, and immorality. As a means of "legitimizing" the arbitrary detention of women and girls, the de facto authorities in Sana'a have used such threats and harassment to put an end to public demonstrations involving women.

In Yemen, it is well known that such accusations and arrests, which are made through official channels, have terrible repercussions for women and girls because they would exacerbate the stigma that has long been associated with women who work outside their home. Additionally, it legitimizes the abhorrent mistreatment of women by the de facto authorities, including the patriarchal idea that women and girls should be under the control of male guardians because of their behavior and sexuality.[27]

Since the beginning of the war, the parties to the conflict have relied on extending their control over armed groups of men and young men who are new to military and security tasks and soon placed them in important security positions in areas that are no longer a battlefield. Examples of these groups are "The Security Belt Forces ", the government-affiliated groups, and the "People's Committees," affiliated with the Houthis, who replaced the civil security sector. In addition to these increased vulnerabilities, the risk of abduction and sexual violence against women and girls has increased, and the deployment of security forces has curtailed the basic freedoms of women and girls, including freedom of movement, and discouraged them from moving in public spaces.

The actions of the warring parties have increased discrimination and violence against women and girls, increasing the risks of domestic violence, and discouraged women and girls from moving outside the home.[28] During the conflict period, women were subjected to marginalization and violent crimes at greater levels than before, as "females are the ones who eat the least." As a coping mechanism, even though they continue to do hard physical activities, such as working in the fields ".[29] They are more vulnerable to violence, including sexual violence, harassment, and physical violence. Gender-based violence starts during pregnancy, so if the fetus is a girl, it is seen as an unwanted guest, and the situation may escalate to the point of punishing the mother based on the gender of the fetus in her womb or the gender of the newborn, whereas the male newborn is seen as a source of joy, and there is a celebration one week after his birth. The slaughter of one or more cattle occurs. A girl's birth is rarely celebrated because it is thought to be more of a financial strain on her father and her family.

(Sh. Y.), a mother of two girls, says: “After the war, my life became hell. I was beaten, insulted, and punished constantly. My husband beat me, deprived me from eating and sleeping, and ordered me to stand on my feet until dawn, and I endured it all silently. I did not commit any sin except that I am a mother of two daughters, and my family do not have enough to eat. My husband knows this, and he takes advantage of their poverty to practice violence against me. He came so far to inform them that he beat me and dragged me to the street. I can no longer stay with him. Before the war began, my father and my brothers were deported from Saudi Arabia, I did not know my husband for who he really was. He and I and our eldest daughter lived in my family’s house, and after the expatriates were deported, we could no longer live with my family in a three-room apartment as my two brothers are also married and share the same apartment."[30]

Violence Against Female Activists

Prior to September 2014, women in Yemen led the demonstrations on the ground. In addition to calling for gradual change, women in Sanaa started planning large-scale protests against the de facto government in 2018. Because men are more likely to be killed or detained, women's vulnerability to the suppression of security services seems to be lower, due to social norms.

While the Yemeni tribal customs strongly condemn the kidnapping of women, the deteriorating security situation began to change this standard, as dozens of women were subjected to enforced disappearance and illegal detention, and they were tortured and abused in the prisons of the Houthi rebellions.[31]

The high intensity of tension and conflict seems to have been pushing the parties to the conflict not to be bound by norms and social traditions, especially when it comes to the demonstrations of political opponents' women. "The wives and sisters of the detainees are victims of direct and indirect detention or the forced disappearance of their families as the situation gets worse due to the uncertainty of when or if their loved ones will return, forcing them to step in as the primary provider for their families and also turn into activists to fight for the rights of their male relatives who are detained," says the statement.[32]

Every role a woman plays increases her risk of experiencing physical and sexual abuse both at home or outdoors. In this situation, dozens of Yemeni women who were frequently tortured and mistreated were held in secret Houthi prisons without being charged. Their families were also unaware of their whereabouts.[33]

By the beginning of 2019, women's demonstrations had been stopped under the control and coercion of the parties to the conflict, which practiced gender-based violence against female activists, as at least 40 human rights activists and journalists were targeted on the basis of their gender or because of their work in the field of women's rights. This included sexual harassment, rape threats, prostitution accusations, detention, assaults on women's places of residence, expelling them from work, and sexual violence.

These violations took place between 2015 and 2019. When it comes to the suppression of women activists, it was committed by all conflicting parties, and it is typically observed in a number of cases, bringing the conflicting parties' differences together. In a series of demonstrations that women led against the de facto authorities in Sanaa, women frequently provided proof of violations. More than 300 women and girls experienced violence and intimidation during at least five protests in 2017 and at least two protests in 2018. Including the unveiling of women's faces by the de facto authorities, the violence was exacerbated due to threats of rape, sexual assault, and accusations of prostitution. Two demonstrations were held in Aden by the detainees' relatives to release their family members, the first in 2017 and the second in 2019, both of which were met with violence by the "Security Belt" forces.

According to reports, there is a new development in the actions of the de facto authorities, as they detained a large number of women on the basis of their political or opposition affiliation, and the pre-fabricated charges of prostitution were used to prevent other women from political participation. The International Experts Team reached one case involving a woman. She remained forcibly hidden for more than 8 months; in this way, these charges that were against her had severe consequences for her family. The team also succeeded in another case where a woman repeatedly detailed her rape over the course of months, following lectures supporting the Houthis and lectures on religion.

Overall, the violations committed by the conflicting parties had serious consequences for women's rights. This was in response to women's activities related to freedom of expression and assembly, and it resulted in a frightening influence as well as the suppression of emerging demonstrations led by women in Sanaa and Aden.[34]

Taking Women Hostage

Between 2018 and 2019, members of the security forces and Houthi fighters kidnapped and detained 7 women and girls in Sanaa and Hodeidah for up to 8 months in order to force relatives to accept their demands. In one case, they did so to coerce a Houthi dissident into turning himself in. In other cases, women and girls were detained on charges of traveling without a guardian (Mahram) in order to obtain a ransom. In another case, the Yemeni government's army kidnapped a woman and her infant son in order to force a terrorist suspect to surrender to authorities, and then forced the woman to divorce the suspect. Despite its serious consequences, the kidnapping of women and girls exposes them to the risk of sexual violence and creates a certain indication and stigma in Yemen, making them more vulnerable to gender-based violence.[35]

The rape of 19 women, one girl, and six children was verified between 2016 and 2019 among the 37 cases of sexual violence related to the conflict against people from weak and marginalized societies committed by armed groups in southern Yemen. Additionally, there was an attempt to rape two girls and a woman; a man and a boy were sexually assaulted; and six women were kidnapped as hostages. These rapes included vaginal, anal, and oral rape, as well as several of these incidents happened in front of witnesses, including family members; 24 of which involved immigrants and refugees of Ethiopian and Somali origin, and six cases involved members of marginalized societies, three of whom are of different racial or religious backgrounds.[36]

Female Genital Mutilation

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is practiced in some governates of Yemen, where the figures can be as high as 84 percent of women and girls who are cut. By 2013, research demonstrated that 19 percent of all women and girls nationwide had undergone some form of FGM. Ninety-nine percent of women who are victims of FGM are mutilated within the first year of birth, with 93 percent mutilated within the first month.[37]

"Over the past five years, as a result of the war, much attention has been placed on the humanitarian effort and the confrontation of violence that women may encounter. For instance, female circumcision-related awareness campaigns have been discontinued in favor of life-saving initiatives, obstetric emergencies, and violence prevention. Also, what a woman may encounter, including sexual violence and violence caused by moving from one place to another.[38]

Except for the recommendations made during the National Dialogue Conference in 2014, which indicated that those who practice FGM should face criminal prosecution, no law has yet been passed prohibiting female genital mutilation. In response to these recommendations, the Child Rights Bill was introduced, which criminalizes female genital mutilation and stipulates prison terms and fines for violators, but the bill was pending before the Council of Ministers.

Underage Marriage

Current trends indicate that child marriage is on the rise in Yemen, and according to the United Nations Population Fund, the average age for girls to marry is around 15 years.[39]

Although more precise estimates are difficult to obtain in this context, one of the most common causes of child marriage is the exacerbation of the economic insecurity and poverty as a result of the conflict's continuation. Girls who marry young face increased risks during pregnancy, including complications during childbirth that can result in death.

The armed conflict in Yemen has had a serious impact on girls' access to education. In this context, "UNICEF" stated that two million children are currently out of school with half of these children dropping out since 2015. As the humanitarian crisis escalates, another 3.7 million students are in danger of quitting school.[40] Girls are particularly vulnerable to dropping out of school due to financial issues. The father of 12-year-old "Shahd" says: "She will drop out next year. Only Mohammed will continue his education”, the father says. Despite the fact that the father and his wife have university degrees, the state of instability prompted him to move from his hometown in the countryside of Taiz to the city of Saada to work in the private sector. This situation makes him constantly concerned about the possibility of losing his job and reduces his belief in the significance of his five daughters continuing their education.

In a place where there is a strong tradition of viewing women as inferior, boys' education is valued because it is assumed that they will be better able to support their fathers financially as they age. The effects of war strengthened the idea that educating girls is a waste of resources because, even in the best-case scenario, she will get married, stay at home, and have no further ties to her father's family. Males will receive priority in education if the family is unable to relocate to an urban area and cannot afford the costs associated with educating all of its children.

There are safety reasons in addition to these economic and social ones. Girls' access to education has been adversely impacted by the parties to the conflict, also schools have been used for military purposes.

According to a 2019 report by the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack, local militias and gangs have been known to restrict girls in particular from attending schools and to threaten school staff with bombing if they were permitted to do so. This practice raises dropout rates and the risk of early marriage, abuse, and exploitation. Children, especially girls, are displaced in great numbers and exposed to sexual violence as a result of recruitment by armed groups at the national level. Despite the fact that women are the group that is weakest and most prone to violence the most, female children are the ones who face the worst nutrition and the least educational opportunities.[41]

Other Forms of Gender-Based Violence Caused by The Conflict

Prior to the conflict, women and girls had some protection from gender-based violence, as well as criminal justice support, thanks to continued activism by local women-led community networks. However, since 2017, de facto authorities in Sana'a have consistently intercepted protection activities and raising awareness of gender-based violence carried out by these local or international organizations, as de facto authorities’ institutions refuse to allow protection, harass and threaten employees, accuse them of prostitution, raid their workplaces, and detain their employees. This has resulted in the dismantlement of protection and prevention networks, exposing women and girls to additional danger and harm, discouraging them from seeking justice, and preventing long-term measures to combat gender-based violence. Members of armed groups in the southern governorates controlled by the government and the United Arab Emirates have also harassed protection workers.[42] The escalation of the conflict and the subsequent humanitarian crises weakened the situation of women and girls, almost eroding their protection mechanisms and increasing the risk of abuse and violence.

According to the results of a recent study, the years of war and poverty, as well as the accompanying gender-based violence, have had a serious impact on the mental health of many women and girls. One out of every five Yemenis suffering from mental disorders. Many people have lost their jobs, which has increased their financial burdens; many families have broken up; and gender-based violence has spread within the family. The family supporter becomes anxious due to the worsening living conditions and psychological pressure, which makes the females seem like a burden to him. They are more likely to be the target of violence, making them more susceptible to abuse, exploitation, trauma, and psychological stress.[43]

The Setback of The Humanitarian Response to Gender-Based Violence

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) works to empower women and girls through safe spaces and mobile clinics in affected areas to access psychosocial support services. Women receive life-saving assistance, as the Fund supports 46 safe spaces for women and girls in Yemen, two of which are in Marib and one in Al-Jawf. In 2019, an estimated 30,000 survivors of gender-based violence received care.[44] Nevertheless, these services are under threat just when they are needed most. In light of the high number of women affected by sexual violence, the UN Fund is facing difficulties in addressing violence against women and girls in hard-to-reach conflict areas.  There are "2.6 million women at risk of gender-based violence, and 52,000 women at risk of sexual violence, including rape." Despite the escalating numbers of beneficiaries of humanitarian protection and psychological support programs, the need is increasing at a higher rate.[45]

The Fund's programs that address gender-based violence are threatened with suspension in 50% of cases, and services for survivors are provided in 29 safe spaces across 21 governorates as well as 4 specialized psychological centers in Aden In fact, funding for these essential humanitarian services has started to run out. With the closure of Sana'a and Hadhramaut, an estimated 350,000 people would lose access to GBV response services, and 40,000 extremely vulnerable people would lose their ability to receive mental health care.[46]

The parties to the conflict share responsibility for the escalation of this violence. In addition to the obligations of society and the family, the Yemeni government, Arab Coalition participants, and the de facto Houthi authorities all contributed to the aggravation and failed to respect and protect the rights of women and girls.

Moving Forward

The war's exacerbation of violence against women and girls threatens to undermine Yemen's small gains in women's rights, girls' education, women's and girls' protection, and the establishment of peace and stability in Yemen. Treatment will necessitate the development of strategies to improve the post-war situation of women, as well as the development of urgent contingency plans to protect women and girls during the conflict phase.

The principles outlined below have been put in place to address gender-based violence in Yemen during the conflict and to promote women's rights in the post-conflict period:

Measures that humanitarian organizations and official agencies can take into account during a conflict period:

  • Organization must coordinate with the Yemeni government and de facto authorities, urging them to follow the International Humanitarian Law during war operations, and to collaborate with organizations to prepare local communities to receive protection programs, remove obstacles that limit their provision to needy women and girls, and training law enforcement officials on gender-sensitive approaches to violence, ensuring that women who are placed in prisons are not subjected to violence due to gender-insensitive practices during law enforcement.
  • Rapid response to the crisis, particularly in areas of armed conflict and forced displacement and displacement, through the provision of psychologists and social workers, integration with sexual and reproductive health care programs, and support of programs that contribute to increasing awareness of the dangers of violence against women among security personnel, with the participation of men and young men.
  • The official agencies must facilitate the mission of the organizations by putting measures in place to ensure effective data collection, taking effective measures to address violence against women by the security services, and ensuring women's right not to be subjected to any form of gender-based violence, and to address the underlying social and cultural attitudes.
  • Take the necessary measures to facilitate the movement of women and facilitate the procedures for obtaining identity papers and passports without requiring the consent of the guardian.
  • Improving the conditions of women's detention in accordance with international detention standards.

Measures The Yemeni Government Can Take into Account in The Post-War Phase:

  • Take steps to enhance women's participation in decision-making, in addition to recruiting and training women in the police squad, courts, and prosecutors.
  • Drafting alternative laws to replace the laws that contribute to perpetuating all forms of violence against women and girls, including domestic violence, female genital mutilation, and child marriage, considering them criminal offenses, and establishing mechanisms through which victims can report gender-based violence to the relevant official authorities.


[1] Child marriage in Yemen - The dilemma of religion, law, and war, accessed February 10, 2023, %84%D8%A3%D8%B7%D9%81%D8%A7%D9%84-%D9%81%D9%8A-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%8A%D9%85%D9 %86-%D9%85%D8%B9%D8%B6%D9%84%D8%A9-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AF%D9%90%D9%8A%D9%86-% D9%88%D8%A7   

[2] Afrah Nasser, Yemen’s Women Confront War’s Marginalization, Middle East Research and Information Project , In: 289 (Winter 2018),


[4] The Status of Yemeni Women: From Ambition to Opportunity, World Bank, May 2014, p. 28.

[5] Law No. 40 of 1998 Concerning Personal Status, available through the website: at (accessed January 11, 2021).

[6] Law No. 12 of 1994 Concerning Crimes and Penalties, amended by Law No. 16 of 1995 and Law No. 24 of 2006, Article 232, available through the website (accessed January 11, 2021)

[7] New Yemen Draft Constitution, Constitution Drafting Committee, website of the General Secretariat of the National Dialogue Conference, 2015, (accessed January 11, 2021) at

[8] Yemen's Dark Side: Discrimination and Violence Against Women and Girls, Amnesty International, November 2009.

[9] Yemen: Gender Justice and the Law, Evaluation of Laws Affecting Gender Justice, and Protection from Gender-Based Violence, UNDP 2018, p. 11.

[10] Same Source as above.

[11] Supreme Council for Women, National Committee for Women, National Report on the Implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action +20.

[12] CHANGES AHEAD: Yemeni Women Map the Road to Peace, Authors: Peace Track Initiative, Food for Humanity, Ejad Foundation for Development, Sawasiah Organization for Human Rights, Awam Foundation for Development and Culture, and To Be Foundation for Rights and Freedoms. 1st edition, December 2018, P.4

[13] Human Rights Watch, World Report 2020: Yemen, January 2020,

[14] Human Rights Watch, idid,

[15] UNICEF Fast Facts: Yemen Crisis (November 2018)

[16] Two-year conflict in Yemen’s takes heaviest toll on women and girls

27 March 2701

[17] UNFPA (2016). Humanitarian Crisis in Yemen: Preventing Gender-based Violence & Strengthening the Response, October 2016. Available at:

[18] Annual Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, and Reports of the High Commissioner and the Secretary-General, Human Rights Council, Forty-second Session, 09-27 September 2019, Agenda Item 2, p. 221.

[19] Yemen: UN Population Fund stresses women’s needs, amidst world’s worst humanitarian crisis,

[20] [20] CHANGES AHEAD: Yemeni Women Map the Road to Peace, Authors: Peace Track Initiative, Food For Humanity, Ejad Foundation for Development, Sawasiah Organization for Human Rights, Awam Foundation for Development and Culture, and To Be Foundation for Rights and Freedoms. 1st edition, December 2018, P.4

[21] UNFPA (2016). Humanitarian Crisis in Yemen: Preventing Gender-based Violence & Strengthening the Response, October 2016. Available at:

[22] UNICEF Fast Facts: Yemen Crisis (November 2018).

[23] UNFPA Yemen Humanitarian Response 2023, February 2023,

[24] Same Source as above.

[25] Yemen's Dark Side: Discrimination and Violence Against Women and Girls, Amnesty International, November 2009.

[26] Tala Harb, Researcher at Amnesty International, Yemen: One of the worst countries in the world for women, 16 December 2019,

[27] Annual report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, previous source, p. 216.

[28] UNICEF Fast Facts: Yemen Crisis (November 2018)


[30] Direct interview with the victim, conducted by the researcher in Sana'a, 19/1/2021.

[31] Maggie Michael, “Yemeni Group: Houthi rebels hold, torture female detainees,” Associated Press, January 17, 2019

[32] Tala Harb, Researcher at Amnesty International, Yemen: One of the worst countries in the world for women, 16 December 2019,

[33] Maggie Michael, idid,

[34] Annual report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, previous source, p. 224.

[35] The previous source, pp. 220-223.

[36] The previous source, pp. 220-223.

[37] Yemen: National Health and Demographic Survey 2013,” Ministry of Public Health & Population

& Central Statistical Organization, Republic of Yemen (July 2015), .


[38] Afrah Thabet, UN News,

[39] UNFPA Yemen, “Child Marriage on the Rise,” October 4, 2016, ; “Child Marriage is Stalling Sustainable Development,” World Economic Forum, October 18, 2019,

[40] UNICEF, “As School Year Starts in Yemen, 2 million Children Are out of School and Another 3.7 Million Are at Risk of Dropping Out,” September 25, 2019.

[41] Safeguard Yemen’s Future: Protect Education from Attack.” Briefing Paper, Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack. February 2019.

[42] Annual report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, previous source, pp. 218-219.

[43] Against the odds, delivering mental health support in Yemen.

[44] Afrah Thabet, UN News,

[45] UNFPA in Yemen: The situation of women of childbearing age is deteriorating in light of the conflict and the lack of reproductive health services

[46] Against the odds, delivering mental health support in Yemen

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