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[BRUSSELS – 8 MARCH 2019] On the eve of International Women’s Day, a group of women from across South Yemeni society led a panel discussion in Brussels on the role of women on the ground. The event was an important opportunity for EU policy makers, NGOs, media and the diaspora to hear about the historical context of South Yemen, and how that history would shape the future of the current Yemen crisis.  

The women used the opportunity to press for genuine engagement of all actors in the UN-led political process, with women, civil society and the youth to be at the forefront. Despite international commitments on this track, actors on the ground continued to be marginalised from the broader diplomatic efforts.

In parallel the South Yemeni women urged the international audience to address the Southern issue as part of the political process. Returning to the status quo before the war of 2014 is no longer tenable for the people on the ground in South Yemen. To address decades of marginalisation the South had experienced at the hands of the authorities from Sana’a, the women set out some concrete demands of the international community:

  • Support calls for Southern representation at the UN-led political process. To date the political representatives of the South had been excluded from the talks, including in Stockholm. It is inconceivable to secure a lasting political deal if not all of Yemeni society was represented, and brought into, the process;
  • Earmark humanitarian aid for urgent needs in the South where the crisis remained dire, particularly with high levels of corruption in the recognised government officials, lack of aid access, and transparency on how humanitarian budgets were being allocated;
  • Work with local communities in the South to build resilience for longer term stabilisation. This requires deep engagement with actors on the ground, many of which remained out of sight of the broader international efforts; and
  • Intensify support for Southern women leaders, politicians, civil society and activists. Marginalisation of these groups continued at alarming rates. The international community has the tools at its disposable to put into action strong commitments on women’s inclusion.

The women in the delegation are now taking their advocacy across other European cities to advocate for the needs of the South. The group comprised of the undersigned below.

Entersar Ali Mused al-Hadali, National Council for Southern Women

Sanaa Mubarak, National Assembly of the Southern Transitional Council, Academic Forum Muhammad Ali Luqman

Hend Omairan, South Independent Group

Fatima al-Baiti, South Arabian Women’s Association

Anne-Linda Amira Augustin, Southern Transitional Council in the EU

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