Houthi rebels seized the Yemeni capital Sanaa on September 21st and took over government buildings, a state radio and a TV station. A peace agreement was signed between the Houthi rebels and the government of Yemen following the seizure, but the rebels have refused to give up their arms and have captured military installations from the Government of Yemen. On September 21st, Houthis militants attacked and vandalized the home of Nobel peace laureate Tawakkol Karman – other homes have been destroyed and the violence continues. Houthi rebels demand that the measures of the Final Communique of the National Dialogue Conference be implemented and the establishment of a new government in which they are included.
Tawakkol Karman has been documenting the violence occurring in Sanaa on her Facebook page and using the hashtag #SanaaOccupiedCapital in Arabic. Attached is a picture she posted on her Facebook Account of #SanaaOccupiedCapital in the streets of Sanaa.
Women and girls in Yemen already suffer from a severe lack of rights. The National Dialogue Conference emphasized the importance to incorporate women’s rights in the new laws, but also include women in governance. A study lead by Yemen and UNICEF found that girls in Yemen suffer from gender-based discrimination in many areas such as in access to education and to health facilities.
Tawakkol Karman, Nobel Peace Laureate in 2011, is one of the main icons of the 2012 revolution which lead to the departure of previous Yemeni president Saleh. She took part in the National Dialogue Conference organized following his leave. Additionally, Tawakkol was engaged in the development of over 2000 resolutions which include specific measures on women and girls’ rights. The implementation of these resolutions was meant to be held earlier this year, but the process was delayed due to the Houthi rebels’ violence in Sanaa.
Shiite rebels are Yemen’s new masters, The Washington Post, 5 October 2014.
Nobel Peace Laureate accuses the Houthis of betraying Yemen revolution, Middle East Monitor, 1 October 2014.
Report: “How come you allow little girls to get married?” Child Marriage in Yemen, Human Rights Watch, 8 December 2011.
Press release: New Yemen report shows girls lagging behind, UNICEF Press Centre, 17 June 2014.
World Report 2014 – Yemen, Human Rights Watch.