In conjunction with the International Day of Peace, Abductees’ Mothers Association held, in collaboration with the International Civil Society Action Network (ICAN), a panel discussion titled “Yemeni Woman as Peace Builder, Reality and Ambitions”, as part of She Builds Peace campaign.
The first topic of the session, titled “Women’s Role at Peacebuilding during War”, was presented by the activist, Dalia Mohammed, who worked as an emergency medical technician at the front-line during the war, participated at violations documenting and monitoring, and is a member of Taiz Women for Life Initiative, whose main concern was lifting the siege of Taiz. Dalia said that while Yemen has been in eight long years of war, making thousands of dead, wounded, displaced, exiled, detainees and forcibly disappeared individuals, as well as destroying cities and infrastructure, women have played a major role in peacemaking, conflict mitigation, and continuous peace searching. She explained that, since 2015, women have participated at various events and consultative meetings, both locally and internationally, that aimed to make peace.
She added that women have evacuated the wounded and the civilians out of war-affected areas. They have, also, negotiated humanitarian aid access, lifting siege, and releasing abductees and detainees.
Added to that was their great efforts to achieve a long truce throughout the country, and limit the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic.
The second topic, Men’s Role in Supporting Peace Building Women, was presented by Judge Abdulbaset Mohammed, who heads the Appeal Court of Taiz Governorate. He highlighted that, during the times of war and armed conflicts, women suffer more that men, as they face the common inequity, as well as the deterioration of medical, educational, economical, and social services, the suspension of development programs, and the displacement of civilians. However, their matters worsen while women’s issues are not given the necessary attention after the conflicts.
He added that, as the current conflict continues to unfold, women have succeeded in presenting themselves as key active partners in many large-scale public issues. They have managed to make successful careers, and participated at activism, and peace-building events and projects, locally and nationally. Such actions have been considered a success due to the traditional culture that included only men in such events while women had been completely excluded from such matters.
The third topic was titled “The Role of Civil Society Organizations in Peacebuilding”, and presented by Raghdah Al-Maqtari. Raghdah is a lawyer who has great experience at humanitarian response, delivering medical aids to hospitals, and helping the displaced at camps. She has, also, trained dozens of young volunteers on the mechanism of preserving victims’ rights, worked on resuming the legal processes of courts, reopening women central prison, which was closed on the first day of the war, and provided the needed legal aids and consultations regarding the cases of women, children, and conflict resolution. She, in her presentation, stressed on the duties of civil society organizations, which do not only include building and achieving peace, but also laying the ground for the peace process, politically and nationally. Such duties can be fulfilled by providing the necessary advice to the political and civil parties, organizing dialogue workshops that help converge views between conflicting parties, and building operation networks, which have extensive knowledge and experience on conflict manifestation and grievance.
She added that civil society organizations can mount civil and legal pressure in order to push for a peaceful solution, expose transgressions and violations committed by different parties, find facts, and monitor human rights situations. She indicated that while security institutions weaken, civil society organizations have an effective role in establishing security and spreading justice, for many organizations had adopted projects that concentrated on social security, and had been involved in various initiatives to conflict resolution and mediation.
The panel, which was attended by 30 participants, including activists, lawyers and journalists, was concluded by proposing several recommendations, such as;
• Documenting the Yemeni feminist movement since the beginning of the war, and its involvement in peace process by publishing a qualitative report or research study.
• Forming a body that represents women and their efforts to make peace.
• Establishing the right mechanism to enable civil society organizations to monitor the roles of authorities.
• Coordinating the efforts of civil society organizations in order to provide the proper activities to support the peace process in Yemen.
• Raising the awareness of prioritizing women and their rights in political parties and affiliations.
• Developing long-term strategies instead of short-term events.
• Raising the awareness of society and authorities of their duties in protecting women’s rights.
• Utilizing the experience of influential women in peacebuilding around the globe.