The statement was delivered by the Ambassador of Albania, Ferit Hoxha, ahead of the Security Council meeting on Yemen.
Today the Council convenes to discuss the situation in Yemen. We, the Security Council signatories of the Statement of Shared Commitments for the principles of Women, Peace and Security (WPS), built on the Trio Presidency initiative from 2021, Albania, Brazil, Ireland, Kenya, Mexico, Norway, the UAE, and United Kingdom, have come together to express concern regarding the situation of women and girls in Yemen, who have been disproportionately affected by more than seven years of conflict, exacerbating inequalities faced by women and girls in the country.
We welcome the UN-mediated Truce which came into effect on 2 April, and its extension on 2 June 2022. We recognize that the Truce has alleviated some of the humanitarian suffering faced by many women and girls in Yemen, including by improving the freedom of movement of people and goods across Yemen and reducing civilian casualties, and express concern about the grave humanitarian impact of the continued road closures around Taiz and call upon the Houthis to act with flexibility in negotiations and immediately open the main roads.
We support the Special Envoy's efforts to consult with a diverse group of actors, including Yemeni women, as part of the multi-track peace process, and we urge continued prioritization of this work, which is crucial to achieving sustainable peace. We call on all parties to ensure the full, equal and meaningful participation of women in the peace process in Yemen, and underscore the importance to uphold their commitment to a minimum 30 per cent participation by women in line with the Outcomes of the National Dialogue Conference, as recalled by the UNSCR 2624 (2022).
We are deeply concerned about the shrinking space for civil society in Yemen. Yemeni women activists, journalists, lawyers, human rights defenders and peacebuilders are often targets of arbitrary arrests, harassment or reprisals, and other forms of gender-based violence, particularly by the Houthis. We strongly condemn such attacks and reiterate our call to guarantee the protection and participation of women in all decision-making processes.
Gender equality and women’s socio-economic empowerment are fundamental to achieving Yemen’s economic and sustainable development goals. We remain concerned regarding persistent barriers to women’s participation in the Yemeni economy and workforce, and urge all parties, including UN Agencies, to provide training and technical assistance in sectors that create viable and sustainable livelihoods for women. We express our concern on the impact of the war in Ukraine is having on the global food market, especially in the rise of food prices and growing shortages of basic foods, thus affecting women’s economic situation, especially of women living in the rural areas.
Displacement, poverty and collapse in the rule of law have created an environment in which women and girls, including migrants, are frequently subject to gender-based violence, including conflict-related sexual violence. We are deeply concerned by evidence of a policy of targeting of politically active women by the Houthis. We urge all parties to the conflict to adopt commitments to prevent and address conflict-related sexual violence, develop a victim and survivor-centered approach, and hold perpetrators to account. Humanitarian actors must also be facilitated to provide appropriate assistance and support services to survivors.
The situation of Yemeni women and girls must remain high in the agenda of the Security Council. As Council members, we stand with the women of Yemen and commit to prioritizing their needs during our ongoing discussions.