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"Please, do not abandon us" ", Yemeni women in Sana'a, EU mission to Sana'a, July 2018.
On the occasion of International Women's Day that we celebrate around the world, the war in Yemen enters its four year and Yemenis across the country continue to suffer from increasing of violence. Yemeni women and girls face child marriage, unpaid labour, gender based violence and economic struggles. They are paying the price of war.
Women are active members of their communities, contributing to the Yemen’s social, political and economic life. Yet, existing space for women participation has been considerably narrowed by the conflict. Yemeni women are in all fairness claiming inclusion in the political peace negotiations and more income generating opportunities.
The EU Delegation to Yemen has set women's rights in Yemen as a main priority. Women are central in ensuring inclusive and sustainable peace. Therefore, the EU continues to strongly advocate for reaching a sustainable political settlement by supporting the UN Special Envoy Office and its efforts in the implementation of the Stockholm Agreement. Nothing can be done without the inclusion and participation of Yemeni women in the peace process. The willpower of half of the population of Yemen has to be taken into consideration in the ongoing discussions aiming at ending the war and the humanitarian crisis in Yemen. Women empowerment can be a noteworthy leverage, addressing issues and providing solutions to resolve the conflict. The role of Yemeni women as mediators in the communities is remarkable and has a proven record. Thereof, the EU remains committed to enhance the role of women, also as decision-makers.
The EU is undertaking a number of initiatives with UNICEF and UNFPA to protect and improve living conditions and health of women and girls. Vital infrastructures such as schools and hospitals are deeply damaged and this has a dramatic impact on schooling and access to critical health services. The EU has vigorously heard voices from Yemeni women regarding peace as well as their concerns expressed towards deteriorating living conditions in Yemen.
Throughout the history of Yemen, women across the country have demonstrated strong commitment to improve Yemeni society. All the Yemeni women I have met emphasize their willingness to access to the negotiation table. The future of Yemen is also in their hands as they have an astonishing potential that would build a brighter future for Yemen. I reiterate the EU's commitment to support Yemeni women calling for peace now. Yemen can't wait.
Head of EU Delegation to Yemen