PublicationsStudiesThe impact of war in Yemen on violence against women and girls

4 September، 2021by Abdulkareem Ghanem0

Six years after the outbreak of the conflict in Yemen, women and girls are facing an increase in gender-based violence


By: Dr. Abdul Karim Ghanem


:Executive summary

Six years after the outbreak of the conflict in Yemen, women and girls are facing an increase in gender-based violence. The war has pushed many women and girls to engage in risky work to help provide an income for their families and the phenomenon of violence against women has been greatly exacerbated due to the increase in their responsibilities and the development of their roles. The patriarchal attitudes that prevail in Yemeni society have allowed the parties to the conflict to suppress opposition such as by restricting the movement of women and girls and arresting activists.

As traditional roles within the family have changed, men have shown sometimes violent resistance, out of a sense of vulnerability and threat. There has been an increase in domestic violence, early and forced marriage, female genital mutilation, “honor crimes”, and fewer opportunities for women and girls in education. Girls as young as 13 years old are pushed towards marriage to relieve economic pressures on their families, and in most cases, girls leave school early, due to social expectations of gender roles.

The conflict has marked a new stage of transformation for Yemeni society. The proliferation of checkpoints throughout the country and restrictions on freedom of movement have led to the destruction of the fragile improvement in the status of women and the decline of means to protect women and girls from violence. Despite the bleak picture of the level of violence against women and girls in Yemen during the conflict period, progress in women’s rights in modern Yemeni history has surpassed that of parts of the Gulf, despite the much greater wealth of the region.[1] Actors opposing violence against women are not limited to the efforts of humanitarian organizations but include modern social trends in Yemen, and the political, constitutional, and legal entitlements included in the outcomes of the National Dialogue and the draft constitution, which can be used together in reducing gender-based violence.




Men and young men constitute the majority of the direct victims of armed conflict. Women bear the burden of spending on the family and the responsibility to manage it, under very tense conditions, which make them more vulnerable to various forms of violence. Although the conflict in Yemen has greatly affected all civilians, its impact on women and girls has been greater, due to the persistence of stereotypes regarding gender roles and patriarchal attitudes, a discriminatory legal system, economic inequality, and exposure to violence. This study begins with an analysis of the historical background of gender-based violence, its cultural roots, and the associated legislation and official procedures through a review of the reality of violence against women before the outbreak of the conflict. It continues with an analysis of the extent of the impact of armed conflict in exacerbating this problem, in light of the increasing suffering of Yemenis with the deepening of the economic crisis, the damage to infrastructure, and the collapse of services.

The circumstances of war have not only led to changes in the roles of women and girls, but the conflict has also led to significant restrictions on their movements. These have exacerbated the inequalities in local society and undermined some of the gains achieved before the conflict. As these gains faltered and in some cases reversed, new vulnerabilities have emerged and exacerbated the phenomenon of violence against women. Due to displacement, poverty, random violence, and the breakdown of the already limited support provided by the criminal justice system, some law enforcement actors, armed groups, and individuals pose a direct threat to women’s security.

Knowing that the parties to the conflict have obstructed and impeded protection networks in key areas since 2016, the de facto authorities have increasingly imposed patriarchal rules and laws with strict interpretations through existing state institutions and through public discourse, as a means of controlling women and girls and limiting their political participation. The study concludes by presenting principles for combating gender-based violence and contribute to reducing its exacerbation during conflict. It makes recommendations related to appropriate measures to protect women and girls and to respect and fulfill their rights in the aftermath of war.

A Picture of gender-based violence in the Yemeni context: Historical roots and contemporary manifestations of violence against women and girls

Historically, women in Yemen have held a subordinate role in society to men, and violence against them was a recurring problem even prior to the outbreak of the war, particularly within families.[2] As is the case in many societies, particularly in the Middle East, it is socially shameful to report abuse by a close family member such as a father or husband. Prevailing attitudes within Yemeni culture permit a father or husband to hit or insult their daughter or wife, as a form of discipline and “to preserve the family’s honor”, in what is usually considered an internal family affair.[3] The deeply rooted patriarchal culture often gives husbands the right to decide on affairs within the family.

The provisions of the Personal Status Law are not separate from this traditional culture, and they create the conditions that can facilitate marital rape and domestic violence. Yemen does not yet have a minimum age for marriage, despite attempts in Parliament to implement a minimum age of 18 years. A woman is obligated to be obedient to her husband and is not allowed to leave the marital home without her husband’s permission, except in very narrow circumstances. Marital rape is not criminalized and the wife is obligated to have sex whenever requested to do so.[4] Likewise, the penal code increases women’s vulnerability to violence, as men receive reduced sentences when convicted of so-called “honor crimes.”[5] If a family member kills a female relative in the name of “honor”, his family can pardon him. There is no law in Yemen specifically designed to protect women from gender-based violence, with only the general protection provided in the penal code, which criminalizes bodily harm.

It is worth noting the outcomes of the National Dialogue following the events of the Arab Spring and the political transition process, where a draft of a new constitution was finalized in 2015, though it has not yet been ratified. The draft guarantees equality before the law (Article 74), non-discrimination on the basis of gender 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 of marriage for both men and women at 18 years (Article 124).[6]

Early marriage remains common, especially in rural areas, and girls usually marry at a younger age than boys. Therefore, many drop out of school and face pregnancy and childbirth at an early age, which puts their health and the health of their children at risk. Because they are prevented from completing their education, they are financially and socially dependent on their husbands. Girls are often forced by their families to marry men much older than them. Forced marriages, especially for school-age girls, are often linked to domestic violence, as girls who marry before reaching the age of 18 are more vulnerable to violence than their peers who marry at an older age.[7]

Prior to the conflict, the UPR on Yemen in 2014 made several recommendations to improve women’s rights and opportunities. Before the outbreak of the war, women and girls lived in a poor and unequal society, as Yemen ranked second-worst in the world in the Gender Inequality Index across composite measures to protect against gender-based violence. Most cases of violence against women and girls were dealt with within the family and according to custom. Yemen is still a largely tribal society, with strong patriarchal authority.[8]

The Yemeni Women’s Union provides legal information services for survivors of violence and has a Special Unit with referrals to legal and other services. In the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor, there was a five-year action plan (2011–2015) that included developing five new shelters for women in five governorates, but work was suspended due to the conflict.[9] The family remains the primary source available for protection and assistance to its members who fall victim to gender-based violence, but it is a protection of limited impact and effectiveness, particularly since the family itself is a primary source of gender-based violence.

:Fueling violence against women and girls during the armed conflict

The escalation of the armed conflict in late 2014 exacerbated the already dire situation,[10] as the actions of the warring parties led to the displacement of large numbers of women and girls, exacerbating violence.[11] In this context, reports indicate that violence against women has increased by about 63% since the escalation of the conflict in 2015.[12] This means more cases of rape, domestic violence, forced marriage, and child marriage,[13] in addition to physical and psychological abuse and trauma, compared to before the war.[14]

Studies representing women in several governorates between 2016 and 2019 reported that the highest risk of gender-based violence among women and girls in Yemen is domestic violence perpetrated by family members and that this type of violence increased during the conflict.[15] The change of “traditional roles” within the family, as men lost their jobs and stay at home, while women assumed the roles of their breadwinner, increased social tensions and exposed women to domestic violence, with the perpetrators being close family members, including fathers, brothers, intimate partners, and extended family members. The United Nations Population Fund has documented a continuous increase of up to 70% in some governorates in the rates of survivors accessing gender-based-violence services, despite the multiple barriers to reporting and the increasing challenges facing these services.[16]

Women and children make up nearly 76% of people displaced by the war, and in most cases bear the burden of providing for their families.[17] Displacement increases the risk of violence against women, as well as other crimes that disproportionately target them due to “the complex social discrimination that makes women dependent on others for help.”[18]

The United Nations Population Fund reported that in Sana’a, Aden, and Hajjah – the governorates hosting the largest number of internally displaced people – nearly 800,000 displaced women and girls between the ages of 15 and 49 are at risk of gender-based violence, including rape.[19] Displacement and the breakdown of protection mechanisms have greatly increased the vulnerability of women and girls to violence. It should be noted that the disproportionate displacement of women and children is a significant risk, whether in safer host environments or unsafe and informal settlements. In Yemen, at least a third of the displaced have taken refuge in abandoned public buildings, with limited protection, in the absence of the formal camp system. In addition, many displaced women and girls have returned to their still unsafe homes.

Official, societal, and domestic violence: Restrictions on women’s movement

Women and girls face severe restrictions on freedom of movement due to insecurity, fear of kidnapping, and verbal and sexual harassment. Girls are prohibited from moving unaccompanied, and restrictions on women’s freedom of movement have made accessing justice difficult for those who live in poor rural areas in particular. At the same time, the de facto authorities imposed laws requiring women to travel with a mahram as a guardian, and in addition to separating unmarried men and women, they threatened or closed companies that did not implement these orders.[20]

A woman, if she is not accompanied by one of her male relatives, becomes vulnerable to violence at inspection points, you may be subjected to harassment, arbitrary detention, torture, and other forms of ill-treatment by the security forces, which leads to a decrease in spaces for positive dialogue and understanding between men and women.[21]

In the last two years, the parties to the conflict have accused women of prostitution, mixing, and immorality by using derogatory terms as part of their public threats and harassment against opponents. The de facto authorities in Sana’a have used such threats and harassment when suppressing public demonstrations involving women, and such accusations have been directed as a means of “legitimizing” the arbitrary detention of women and girls.

It is known in Yemen that the accusations and arrests that are made through official agencies have dire consequences for women and girls, as they may deepen the stigma already imposed on women working outside the home. It also normalizes the abuse when the de facto authorities deal with women, including disseminating the perception of women and girls as potential prostitutes and reinforcing the patriarchal notion that their behavior and sexuality require the control of male guardians.[22]

Among the tactics used by de facto authorities against women at checkpoints is “shaving the hair of the head, especially the heads of new brides who travel between governorates alone, in order to meet with their husbands. In this society, women are expected to physically attract their husbands, as well as to take care of him, usually, these women end up in divorce, shame, and sadness.”[23]

Since the beginning of the war, the parties to the conflict have relied on extending their control over armed groups of men and youth, such as groups affiliated with the government and the popular committees of the Houthis, who are new to military and security tasks, and who were quickly placed in important security positions. This has increased the risk of kidnapping and sexual violence against women and girls from these armed groups. The actions of the warring parties increased discrimination and violence against women and girls. During the conflict period, women have been subjected to marginalization and violent crimes to greater degrees than was the case previously. In addition, throughout Yemen, food insecurity has become a major concern with famine disproportionately affecting displaced women.[24]

Gender-based violence begins even in the period of pregnancy; if the fetus is a female, it is often treated as an unwelcome guest. A male child is considered a blessing, and his birth is celebrated by slaughtering one or more heads of cattle. The birth of a female child is not celebrated, as she is considered more of a burden on her father and her family, says Shurooq, who is the mother of two girls:

After the war, my life became hell, and I was being beaten and insulted every day. My husband beat me and deprived me of eating and prevented me from sleeping, he orders me to stand up. On my feet until dawn, I endure all of that silently most of the time, I have committed no sin except that I am a mother of two daughters, and my family does not have enough food to feed me, my husband knows this, and uses their poverty to practice violence against me, the last time I called my father and informed him that he hit me and dragged me to the street I could no longer stay with him. Before the war began, and my father and my brothers were deported from Saudi Arabia, I did not know him for what he really is. I used to live with him in my family’s house, and after the expatriates were deported we could no longer live with them in a small apartment because my two brothers are also married. They share the same apartment.[25]

:Violence against women activists

Before September 2014, women in Yemen led street demonstrations and demands for change, and in 2018, women began organizing public demonstrations against the de facto authorities in Sana’a. Women felt they were less likely to be subjected to repression by the security services, while there were fears that men would be killed or detained.

While Yemeni tribal customs strongly condemn the abduction of women, the deteriorating security situation has begun to change this standard, and dozens of women have been subjected to enforced disappearance, unlawful detention, and torture and ill-treatment in the prisons of the Houthi rebels.[26] The heightened tension has broken adherence to social norms and trends, especially when it comes to demonstrations by women of political opponents.

The wives and sisters of detainees are victims of direct and indirect detention or enforced disappearance against members of their families, as the situation worsens due to not knowing when their loved ones will return or if they will return, They also find themselves compelled to become, mainly, breadwinners and heads of their families, and activists recruiting for the rights of their detained male relatives. Every role a woman plays increases the likelihood that she will be exposed to sexual and physical violence in her home and outside.[27]

Women’s demonstrations stopped by the beginning of 2019, following the control and coercion of parties to the conflict. At least 40 activists, human rights defenders, and journalists were targeted, on the basis of gender, or because of their work in the field of women’s rights. They faced sexual harassment, accusations of prostitution, detention, assault, dismissal from work, and threats of rape and sexual violence. In Sana’a, more than 300 women and girls were subjected to violence and intimidation, including unveiling by de facto authorities during at least five demonstrations in 2017, and at least two in 2018. The violence was exacerbated by threats of rape, sexual assault, and accusations of prostitution. Two demonstrations were organized in Aden by relatives of female detainees to release their family members, the first demonstration in 2017 and the second in 2019, both of which were met with violence by the Security Belt Forces.

It should be noted that violations have been committed by all parties to the conflict, and in many cases, the disparate parties to the conflict unite when it comes to repressing women activists. Reports indicate that there is a new development in the actions of the de facto authorities, as they detained a large number of women based on their political affiliation or apparent opposition, and official charges of prostitution were used to prevent other women from political participation. The international expert group investigated one case of a woman who remained disappeared for more than eight months. The charges brought against her had dire consequences for her family. The team investigated another case in which a woman described being raped for several months, after pro-Houthi lectures and lectures on religion. She reported that the same thing happened with other activists and that these attacks were taking place within a wider network of secret facilities

These violations, committed by the parties to the conflict in response to women’s exercise of freedom of expression and freedom of assembly, have had dire consequences for women’s rights, with a chilling effect that has halted the nascent protests led by women in Sana’a and Aden.[28]

:Taking women hostage

In the period 2018–2019, members of the security forces and Houthi fighters in Sana’a and Hodeidah kidnapped and detained seven women and girls for periods of up to eight months to force relatives to accept their demands. In one case, they did so to force a Houthi dissident to surrender. In other cases, they have detained women and girls for traveling without a guardian to obtain ransoms. The Yemeni government’s army kidnapped a woman and her infant son to force a suspected terrorist to surrender himself to the authorities. As well as the direct risk of sexual violence, such actions bring stigma in Yemen, which leads to an increased risk of gender-based violence.[29]

In the period 2016–2019, out of 37 cases of conflict-related sexual violence against members of vulnerable and marginalized communities at the hands of armed groups in southern Yemen, nineteen women, one girl, and six boys were raped, there were attempted rapes of two girls and a woman, and a sexual assault on a man and boy. Six women were kidnapped as hostages. A number of these events occurred in front of others, including family members, of whom twenty-four were refugees and migrants of Ethiopian and Somali origin, six were members of marginalized communities, and three belonged to unspecified ethnic or sectarian origins from Yemen.[30]

:Female genital mutilation

Female genital mutilation is practiced in some governorates of Yemen, where the numbers can reach 84% of women and girls. In 2013, research showed that 19% of women and girls across the country between the ages of 15 and 49 years had been subjected to some form of female genital mutilation. 99% of women victims of female genital mutilation are subjected to female genital mutilation in the first year of birth, with 93% mutilated during the first month.[31]

As a result of the war, focus has increased on the humanitarian response and confronting the violence that women can be exposed to. Awareness-raising programs about the harms of female genital mutilation stopped, as international actors turned to life-saving programs and services, emergency obstetric services, and violence prevention.[32] Because of the fragile health care system before the conflict, and the collapse of the health care system amid the fighting, especially in emergency care, female genital mutilation causes death or long-term health consequences in many rural areas in Yemen. The Yemeni government does not keep any official data on deaths associated with female genital mutilation, so the number of Yemeni girls who lost their lives due to this practice remains unknown.[33]

No law has yet been passed to prohibit female genital mutilation except for recommendations issued during the National Dialogue Conference, in 2014, which indicated that those practicing FGM should be subject to criminal prosecution. In response to these recommendations and other recommendations of the National Dialogue, the Child Rights Bill, which criminalizes female genital mutilation, and provides for prison sentences and fines for violators, was introduced. The bill was pending before the Council of Ministers when the armed conflict escalated and the government changed.

:Child 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 about 15 years old.[34] Although it is difficult to provide accurate estimates in this context, the exacerbation of economic instability and poverty due to the continuing conflict is among the prevailing causes of child marriage. Girls who marry at an early age face greater risks during pregnancy, including difficulties during childbirth that can lead to death.

The armed conflict in Yemen has had a serious impact on girls’ access to education. UNICEF stated that two million children are currently out of school, and it is estimated that half a million of these children have dropped out since 2015, with 3.7 million others at risk.[35] Girls are particularly vulnerable to dropping out of school for financial reasons. The father of 12-year-old Shahd says that she will stop studying next year, only Muhammad will continue his education, so says their father, although he and his wife both have university degrees.[36] The instability that prompted him to move from his hometown in the countryside of Taiz to the city of Saada to work in the private sector makes him constantly worried about the possibility of losing his job and reduces his belief in the importance of educating his daughters. Boy’s education is seen more as an investment, as they are expected to be more able to earn and support their father when he reaches old age. War reinforces the belief that educating a girl is a waste of resources, because – in the best of circumstances – she will marry and become a part of her husband’s family. The more the family is unable to bear the costs of educating all of its children, the greater the priority in education is for males.

In addition to these economic and social considerations, there are safety elements to consider. The military use of schools by parties to the conflict has disproportionately affected girls’ access to education. The Global Alliance to Protect Education from Attacks reported in 2019 that local militias and gangs were known to cut girls’ access to schools and even threaten members of the school administration with bombing if girls were allowed to continue attending, increasing dropout rates and the likelihood of early marriage and abuse.[37]

:Other forms of conflict-induced gender-based violence

Before the conflict, women and girls received some protection from gender-based violence thanks to the ongoing activism of local women-led community networks. Alongside international organizations, they raised awareness of gender-based violence. However, the de facto authorities refuse to allow protection and awareness programs on gender-based violence; harass, threaten, and detain employees; accuse them of prostitution, and raid their workplaces. This has led to the dismantling of protection and prevention networks and preventing long-term measures to combat gender-based violence, exposing women and girls to more danger and harm while discouraging them from pursuing accountability. Members of armed groups in the southern governorates under the control of the government and the United Arab Emirates have also harassed protection workers.[38]

According to the results of a recent study, years of war and poverty and the accompanying gender-based violence have seriously affected the mental health of many women and girls. It is estimated that one in five people in Yemen suffers from psychological disorders, as many people have lost their jobs and face increased burdens, families have disintegrated, and there has been a spread of gender-based violence within families.[39] Precarious living situations and psychological pressure have increased tendencies towards violence and left women more vulnerable to beatings and deprivation, and more vulnerable to trauma and psychological stress.

:The setback for the humanitarian response to address gender-based violence

The United Nations Population Fund works to empower women and girls through safe spaces and mobile clinics in the affected areas and providing psychosocial support services through which women receive life-saving assistance. 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,[40] but these services are under threat at a time when they are most needed.

The UN Fund is facing difficulties in addressing violence against women and girls in In conflict areas difficult to reach, in light of the high number of women affected by sexual violence, 2.6 million women are at risk of gender-based violence, and 52 thousand women are at risk of sexual violence, including rape.[41]

Funding for these basic humanitarian services has begun to run out, as 50% of the Fund’s programs that address gender-based violence are threatened with suspension. Services for survivors are now in only 29 safe places in 21 governorates, and 4 specialized psychological centers in the governorates of Aden and Sanaa. Hadramawt is threatened with closure, and this will leave an estimated 350,000 people without gender-based violence response services, and 40,000 extremely vulnerable people will lose access to psychological care.[42]

:Looking ahead

The escalation of violence against women and girls brought about by the war threatens to erase the slight gains made in terms of women’s rights and girls’ education. This necessitates the development of strategies to improve the situation of women in the post-war phase, as well as the development of urgent contingency plans to protect women and girls during the conflict phase.

Responsibility for the escalation of gender-based violence is distributed among the parties to the conflict. The Yemeni government, members of the coalition, and de facto authorities, in addition to wider society and the institution of the family, have all participated in the exacerbation of gender-based violence, and failed to respect and protect the rights of women and girls. Official authorities have failed to prosecute perpetrators of gender-based violence and protect women’s rights defenders; have practiced arbitrary detention and hostage-taking, torture and ill-treatment against women; have violated fundamental freedoms, especially the right to freedom of expression and assembly. This is in addition to criminal responsibility for war crimes of rape and other forms of sexual violence, torture, and cruel and inhumane treatment. The worsening humanitarian crisis as a result of the conflict have led to increased rates of female genital mutilation, domestic violence against women and girls, child marriage, and the denial of basic rights.

The following are principles to be taken into consideration to confront gender-based violence in Yemen during the conflict and to promote women’s rights in the post-war period.

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

  • Coordination with the Yemeni government and de facto authorities to cooperate in preparing local communities to receive protection programs, removing obstacles that limit their provision to women and girls in need, and training law enforcement officials in the field of gender-sensitive approaches to violence.
  • Rapid response to the crisis, especially in areas of armed conflict and areas experiencing displacement and forcible transfer, by providing psychosocial service providers to integrate with sexual and reproductive health care programs, and supporting programs that contribute to enhancing awareness among security personnel of the dangers of violence against women, with the participation of men and young men.
  • Official agencies facilitate the work of organizations and put in place measures to ensure effective data collection, take effective measures to address violence by security agencies against women, guarantee the right of women to be free from any form of gender-based violence, and address the social and cultural positions on which it is based.
  • Take the necessary measures to facilitate the movement of women, and facilitate procedures for obtaining identity papers and passports without requiring the approval of the guardian.
  • Ensure that the detention of women, including immigrant women, is in conditions that meet international standards.

:Measures that the Yemeni government could take into consideration in the post-war phase

  • Taking steps to enhance women’s participation in decision-making positions, in addition to recruiting and training women in the ranks of police, courts, and prosecutors.
  • Preparing draft laws that address the perpetuation of violence against women and girls, including domestic violence, female genital mutilation, and underage marriage, considering them as criminal offenses, and setting up mechanisms through which victims can inform official authorities concerned with gender-based violence.

:References and footnotes

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


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

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

[5] Law No. 12 of 1994 Concerning Crimes and Punishments, amended by Law No. 16 of 1995 and Law No. 24 of 2006, Article 232, available through the website (accessed January 11, 2021) http://www.yemen- at

[6] Yemen’s new draft constitution, constitution drafting committee, website of the General Secretariat of the National Dialogue Conference 2015 (accessed January 11, 2021) at

[7] The Dark Side of Yemen, Discrimination and Violence against Women and Girls, Amnesty International, November 2009.

[8] Yemen: Gender Justice and the Law, Assessing Laws Affecting Gender Equity, and Protection from Gender-Based Violence, UNDP 2018, p.11.

[9] The Supreme Council for Women, the National Committee for Women, the national report on the implementation of the Beijing + 20 Declaration and Platform for Action.

[10] 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.

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

[12] Human Rights Watch, idid,

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

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

27 March 2701

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


 Strenthening%20the%20Response.pdf, p. 6.

[16] Annual report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, reports of the Office of the High Commissioner and the Secretary-General, Human Rights Council, forty-second session, 09-27 September 2019, Item 2 of the agenda, p. 221.

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

[18] 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.

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


 Strenthening%20the%20Response.pdf, p.4.

[20] The Dark Side of Yemen, Discrimination and Violence against Women and Girls, Amnesty International, November 2009.

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

[22] Annual Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, idid, p. 216.

[23] Tala Harb, ibid.


[25] Interview with Shurooq, Sanaa, 01/19/2021

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

[27] Tala Harb, idid. Source

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

[29] Annual Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, previous source, p. 220

[30] Annual Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, previous source, p. 223

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

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

[32] Afrah Thabet, UN News

[33] Human Rights Watch Submission to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women on Yemen,

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

[35] 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

[36] Direct interview with Abu Shahd, Sanaa, 15/1/2021

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

[38] Annual Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, pp. 218–219.

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

22 September 2020,

[40] Afrah Thabet, idid.

[41] The United Nations Population Fund in Yemen: The situation of women of childbearing age is deteriorating in light of the conflict and the lack of reproductive health services

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

22, September 2020

Abdulkareem Ghanem

Dr Ghanem is a senior researcher at the Arabia Felix Center for Studies with research focusing on political and social transformations in Yemen. He is a member of the Arab Society for Sociology, obtaining a Ph.D. in political sociology in 2020. He is the author of the book “Political Awareness in Yemeni Society”. He has published many scientific research papers, and has participated in several conferences, including the Sixteenth Conference of the Generations of Arab Sociologists, Beirut (2006), and has many social and political activities. He is the head of the youth lobbying group, Sana'a, since 2014. He is a member of the Yemeni Writers Union and has published several literary publications, including a short story collection entitled “When the sidewalk ate the backside of his shoe” and a poetry collection entitled “the Fragments of waiting”.

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