Dear G7 Leaders,
As you gather as world leaders and global decision-makers, as Yemeni women, we kindly request your attention for a moment.
Today, Yemenis continue to live through 2,555 days of conflict. Our country has spiralled into economic downfall, a loss of some USD 90 billion in economic output. Statistics show that over 377,000 Yemeni civilians have lost their lives as a direct and indirect consequence of war. More than 4.3 million Yemenis have become internally displaced, many experiencing multiple displacement, living in hardship and not knowing when they can safely return home. Over 23 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance, with many on the brink of famine, including 2.2 million children and 1.3 million lactating and pregnant women. Poverty and socio-economic inequality are among the main outcomes of this protracted war, that deepens for women and girls. War has placed many women with the responsibility of running their households single-handedly with a world of burdens falling on their shoulders, down to their most basic needs.
Today, we speak on behalf of all women who carry these burdens and yet play pivotal roles in their communities. However, Yemen’s women-led organisations are seeing far too little backing and resources from international actors and yet we are proud to reflect on the achievements and the vibrancy we bring through our work. We work and deliver against a tide of hostilities and barriers but we nevertheless persist and navigate our way as only we know how.
Today, we want to apply a hopeful lens and try and put optimism into focus. On 2 June 2022, a fragile but welcome two-month truce came to an end and all Yemenis were delighted to see its renewal for a further two months. We have no doubt of our capabilities and our determination to see our families and youth enjoy this optimism too. All Yemeni eyes are now on the prospect of the next steps leading to durable solutions and a comprehensive agreement by parties to the conflict, for lasting peace.
At this critical juncture, therefore, it is imperative that women are NOT excluded from formal and meaningful roles throughout the UN-led peace process and in the future of Yemen. We are most affected by the war and should be at the heart and centre of finding solutions. Though we struggle to uphold our most basic rights, we are determined and driven by our desire to see Yemen being free of conflict.
We ask to be afforded the platform to have a voice and be at the centre of finding solutions.
We ask that any new peace solutions be gender sensitive, inclusive and our voices taken into account.
We ask that we are supported to be empowered to remain active, visible and impactful.
Today, we thank you for your attention and hope all Yemenis are in your thoughts.
Dalia Qasem Farea, CEO, Social Development Hodeida Girls Foundation
Co-signed by local organisations: Youth Leadership Development Foundation, For All Foundation, Generations without Qat, SOS Foundation for Development, Together We Rise Foundation for Women and Child Care, CARE in Yemen