Brussels: Independent Diplomat held a panel on “Women of South Yemen: Past, Present and the Future”

On 7 March 2019, the Independent Diplomat, an innovative venture in the world of international relations, held a panel in Brussels giving voice to the social and critical perspective of Yemenite female activist groups based in the southern region of the country. The discussion was monitored by Ms. Charlotte Isaksson, a Senior Gender Advisor to the European External Action Service (EEAS), who took the floor by introducing the round of talks on the role of Yemenite women though the crisis and internal war which drains the civil energies of the unstable region. Ms. Isaksson insisted on the key role of female society within the reconstructing process of legal and legitimate authority in Yemen, underlining the importance of a sectorial and precise strategy needed by other international key actors.

The panel evolved on a combination of three different interventions coming from Yemenite women’s rights defenders: Sanaa Mubarak, Hend Omairan and Entesar Ali Mused al-Hadali, whose competence and work are entirely dedicated to the process of Southern Yemenite Secession. The general focus of the debate grounded over the political growth of Yemenite nation, shown by all debaters as a fruitless outcome of decades of internal fractions and instabilities. The starting approach to promote women inclusion stems from the recognition of an instable and forced political unity in the region.

Yemen, a relevant regional actor in the Arabic Peninsula area, is suffering since 2015 a status of complete destruction and oblivion, a civil war which opposes two previous governmental realities: The North and the South. The interference of local counterparts such as Saudi Arabia and Iran has dramatically widened the possibility of a diplomatic rapprochement on what seems today as a never-ending conflict scenario. The historical formation of Yemen got across a series of political ups and downs, as well as the democratic process within its borders. On 30 November 1967, the state of South Yemen was formed, comprising Aden and the former Protectorate of South Arabia, a socialist state that in 1972 fought a war with his neighbour counterpart. The war was resolved with a ceasefire and negotiations were directed by the Arab League, where it was stated that unification would eventually occur in the nearest future. This process concluded in May 1990, when the two governments reached a full agreement on the joint governing of the Nation.

As for the human rights issues, the three chairwomen offered a general overview on the rather deteriorating process within southern Yemenite civil society. They illustrated a series of reflections and statistics related to illiteracy, social exclusion, discrimination and civil cleavages, a heavy curtain of silence and fear that in their opinion only through secession can be unveiled.

The European Centre for Democracy and Human Rights (ECDHR) welcomes the continuous struggle of all human rights activists in Yemen. We openly denounce the current unstable situation and the humanitarian crisis depriving collateral victims of needed support and aid. In hope for a positive turn of events, we call the international community for an immediate solution especially for a future and better democratisation process.

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