Feminist Peace Roadmap for Yemen

October 13, 2022 nadia.a.alsakkaf
September 30, 2022 nadia.a.alsakkaf

The Feminist Peace Roadmap was developed in 2019, to provide a unified vision of women to influence peace process in Yemen. The objective was to build trust between women leaders and to design an inclusive space to support the peace process.

Problems and Purpose

Yemen has been suffering from an armed conflict since 2014. Despite several UN Security Council Resolutions, four special envoys of the Secretary General, almost six rounds of talks and deliberations among the warring factions, the violence continues. Today Yemen is considered this centrury's worst humanitrain crises with over 75% of the 30 million population in need of humanitarian aid. The peace process has been almost exclusively by men and for men and dominated by a patriarchal approach to war and peace.

One of the biggest roadblocks to peace is the absence of women and youth from decision-making positions and monitoring committees and at negotiation tables. 

Even though women and youth were the most important actors in Yemen’s movement for change back in 2011, and have played a central role as negotiators and mediators since the beginning of the war in 2015 — leading the release of victims of enforced disappearances, the opening of safe humanitarian corridors, and the fight against child recruitment — they have been largely excluded from the political, social, and economic dialogues of the country. 

So, the peace building processes are lacking accountability and inclusivity due to the absence of these groups.

In addition, the peace agreements being created tend to use very vague or ambiguous language, which makes implementation very difficult.

Background History and Context

The concept of Feminist Peace Roadmap was developed in 2019 by the Peace Track Initiative Foundation to provide a unified vision of women to influence peace process in Yemen. The objective was to build trust between women leaders and to design an inclusive space to support the peace process. 

By 2020, a new phase of strategic work has begun for Yemeni Women leaders after the UN Secretary- General appealed for a global cease-fire in Yemen back in 2020. The Office of the Special Envoy of the Secretary General to Yemen has drafted a weak and unprofessional cease-fire plan and arrangements.

Women stepped in and took the draft from the UN special envoy to Yemen and partnered with 9 women led organizations to hold local consultations on specific thematic issues to strengthen a feminist peace roadmap, such as the detainees’ issue, the salaries, the transitional justice, and opening humanitarian corridors. 

About the Peace Track Initiative

PTI was founded in 2015 by Yemeni women inside and outside Yemen who came together to support the peace process. It was incubated in Geneva at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy in 2017 and then incorporated as a non-profit in Canada in October 2017. 

We’re now leading efforts to directly embed women in peace talks in Yemen. PTI is an official Track II partner, meaning that we are actively involved in hosting consultations with women leaders and women’s groups inside and outside Yemen. 

Our role is to empower women, to create platforms for women’s voices, and to engage women directly with political and international actors engaged in peace processes. We’re also working to link grassroots leaders and activists directly with official Track I peace dialogues.

Organizing, Supporting, and Funding Entities

Phase I: Consultations with 30 women political and civil society leaders and women experts inside and outside the country focusing on the ceasefire process mainly focusing on discussing aspects included in the Joint Declaration drafted by the OSESGY and identifying priorities of women. 

This draft was developed with contributions from women leaders, members of the Women Solidarity Network, the Yemeni Women Pact for Peace and Security, and the National Reconciliation Movement, with contributions from women-led organisations including the Food for Humanity, The Mothers of Abductees,

AWAM Development Foundation, Wogood for Human Security Foundation, To Be Foundation for Rights and Freedoms, Sam Initiative, the Women Alliance for Peace, the Southern Feminist Movement, the Democratic Social Forum, and Taiz Women for life Initiative.

What Went On: Process, Interaction, and Participation

From 28 June – 2 July 2021, the High-Level Virtual Yemen Feminist Peace Convening brought together multiple stakeholders and experts, including members of the Yemeni civil society, political leaders and national counterparts, G19 Ambassadors and sponsors of the peace process in Yemen, Track II partners, and United Nations representatives. The women leaders shared the Feminist Peace Roadmap for Yemen which serves as a human rights based guiding framework for the peace process. The Convening was also concluded issuing a Final Communique. The Convening created a space for discussion with peace stakeholders in Yemen at the national, regional, and international levels, to discuss the factors and challenging of the peace process sin Yemen. The feedback obtained during the convening is being integrated into the Feminist Peace Roadmap, that continues to be revised and validated locally.

Convening Agenda

During five days, the Convening hosted round-tables and interactive dialogues that address the underlying national, regional, and international drivers of conflict in Yemen, current peace factors, and feminist policy options that address these issues. It provided a space to carry out an interactive dialogue to collect feedback about the Feminist Peace Roadmap.

Inclusion Mechanism

The feminist roadmap suggests a multi-party peace process(es) in Yemen that are in parallel to each other, localized to address different conflict(s) dynamics, but at the same time, feeds into a comprehensive peace process, that should lead to a transitional period. This process needs heavy support from the international and regional community.

The international community represented by the UN and member states are urged to facilitate the peace process, and the regional states are urged to support as guarantors to the process. The inclusion mechanism must ensure inter-sectional participation in the peace process at all its stages. The peace process should be designed to respect the quotas established in the national dialogue outcomes, these include no less than 30% for women, no less than 20% for youth, 50% for Southerners, 10 % for marginalized groups, 10% for disabled persons. 5 Additionally, the priorities and needs of inter-sectional groups need to be reflected in the peace agenda, negotiations, and outcomes of the peace process.

Inter-sectionality within women groups should take into consideration social status, age, geographical origin, economic status...etc. As such, the needs and priorities of survivors of war must also be reflected in the peace agreement through ensuring representation in negotiations and holding consultations with them. Specifically, it is important to ensure the integration of the needs and priorities of mothers and wives of abductees and war prisoners, women and girls recruited, displaced women, arbitrarily detained women, breadwinners women, girls and women forced into marriage, survivors of sexual and gender based violence and torture, and women and girls from religious minorities...etc.

Guiding Frameworks

There are three main reference documents that are used to guide the current political and peace process: the UNSC resolution 2216 (2015) adapted under Chapter seven, the National Dialogue Outcomes, and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) initiative and its UN proposed implementation mechanism. The three documents are based on national consensus, inclusivity, and addressing priority political, security, military, economic, human rights and humanitarian issues.

The popular misconception led to the design of a two-party peace process design that might have been the reason for the limited progress in the peace process as it fails to address the complexity of the conflict in Yemen. Additionally, priority issues specifically mentioned in 22016 were not given enough attention. This includes ending child recruitment. It's worth noting that the conflict parties are either selective in using these reference documents choosing aspects that support their interest, or completely reject these reference documents (such as the case of the South Transitional Council). See annex I for a table that summarizes the inclusion mechanism and priority issues in these reference documents.