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The EU Annual Report on Human Rights and Democracy in the World 2018 was adopted by the Council on 13 May 2019. It highlights the EU's crucial role in the protection and promotion of human rights and democracy, including in Yemen. Through funding dedicated to relevant interventions, the EU's leverage in the multilateral context and its close coordination with its Member States, the EU continues to stand with the people of Yemen to ensure the realisation of their human rights and the respect for international humanitarian law in the war-torn country.
In 2018, the year of the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the EU continued its efforts to defend and promote the human rights of Yemenis suffering from the consequences of four years of armed conflict. In this context, special attention was paid to the promotion of gender equality and girls' empowerment. The EU allocated EUR 32 million to a global call dedicated to the fight against sexual and gender-based violence, among others in Yemen. It also promoted the role of women at different levels of the peace process, mediation and peacebuilding. The EU has further engaged in the promotion of International Humanitarian Law (IHL), a body of international law of crucial importance to prevent and mitigate the suffering of millions of civilians in Yemen. By funding the NGO Geneva Call, the EU supported the promotion of IHL among different types of non-state armed actors and further reinforced the humanitarian community's capacity to negotiate access with non-state armed groups.
At the heart of multilateralism, the EU continued to play a leading role in making the grievances of Yemenis heard. In the UN Human Rights Council, the EU raised issues of concern and in the Council's 39th session it supported the resolution on Yemen which renewed the existing mandate of the Group of Eminent Experts. Moreover, the EU worked in close cooperation with its Member States to advocate for the protection and promotion of human rights in Yemen. In January 2019, the EU Delegation to Yemen launched the Human Rights Bracelets Campaign on Instagram to accompany the third cycle of the UN Human Rights Council's Universal Periodic Review (UPR), in which Yemen's human rights situation was assessed. Through the campaign, the EU family aimed to demonstrate its support for human rights, the protection of civilians, and for the rapid and unhindered humanitarian access to those in need. As the month of June marks the end of the UPR, the EU encourages the Government of Yemen to thoroughly consider the recommendations put forward during this process, take appropriate measures to improve the human rights situation in Yemen and deliver on its human rights obligations.