The Women Solidarity Network condemns the recent procedures taken by the de facto authority in Sana'a, the Houthi group, to prevent women from traveling without written consent from a guardian “Mahram” authorized by the district’s leader ‘Aqel Al Harah’. This procedure is not only a serious set-back towards the rights and public freedoms, but also a clear violation of the International Human Rights Laws.

It explicitly violates Article 2 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which stipulates: “everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status”,  Article 13 of the UNDHR guarantees the freedom of movement without discrimination, including Article 57, Part Two of the Basic Rights and Duties of Citizens of the Yemeni Constitution 2001 which guarantees freedom of movement for all citizens and Article 80 of the draft Constitution issued by the National Dialogue Conference 2015.

This procedure came after the achievements made by women for “My Passport Without Guardianship” campaign, to target political and social activists, journalists, human rights defenders and civil society workers. It is part of a series of procedures of a widespread violation against women’s rights and freedoms and a wider campaign of incitement targeting women in mosques, exploiting religious discourse, spreading misleading misinformation to sharpen societal rejection of women’s work, i.e., repeated accusations of prostitution, all of which is directed to stifle women’s public rights and freedoms.

Yemeni women have worked for many years to change and make several Yemeni legislations related to public rights and freedoms applicable. However, this set-back that Yemen is witnessing as a consequence of the war is critical to the efforts made, especially in Houthi ruled areas, which calls for more efforts and international intervention must be curbed by putting pressure on Houthi group to stop their extensive violations of rights and public freedoms.

Issued by the Women Solidarity Network

April 17 2022