Target: Leader of Rights and Freedom, Arwa Abdu Othman (Chairperson)
Goal: Demand that Yemeni constitution provide adequate protection to all women
Yemeni women face severe discrimination in their country, specifically in terms of marriage, divorce, and child custody. Human rights groups in Yemen and around the world are vying for the rights of these women to be recognized in their newly written constitution.
Unfortunately, Yemeni women face severe discrimination in their daily lives. Even major decisions like marriage cannot be decided by the woman involved. Instead, that decision is made by her legal male guardian. Women also do not have the right to divorce, receive inheritances, or obtain child custody. Additionally, because the law lacks any protection for women, they are vulnerable to physical and sexual assault. The country also has a high percentage of child marriages, some girls being as young as eight when they wed.
Human rights groups, including Human Rights Watch, are asking for several things to be addressed in the new constitution. They want labor groups to ensure that working women are protected in the work place. Women must also have equal rights, be able to participate in political events and activities, and be protected from discrimination and violence. These recommendations are crucial, as every human being has a right to feel protected. The constitution should also ensure that the rights of these women are acknowledged in both international law and treaties. All women should have the same rights and opportunities as men, and should not be denied a position or a promotion based on their sex. All humans, whether they be male or female, should not be discriminated against because of their sex, gender, martial status, or pregnancy. Human rights groups are advocating that the country also host positive events that will provide the citizens with the resources to accept these coming changes in their constitution. Additionally, activists are pressing the Yemen government to set an age limit for marriages to be set at 18. A child being married at a young age – and having a baby before she is 16 – leads to many mental, physical, and emotional problems. Many of these relationships result in the girl being harmed by their spouse and sometimes raped.
If you believe that women deserve the same rights as men and should have protection from both violence and child marriages, sign the petition below. It is imperative that these women are protected. They are a part of Yemen society and it is unfair and inhumane to deny them their rights.
Dear Arwa Abdu,
I am writing this letter to address my concerns with women’s rights in the Yemeni constitution. I recognize that with the current constitution women in Yemen lack important rights, which puts them at severe risk of becoming victims of violence. Many human rights groups are advocating for change and in this letter I am adding my voice in solidarity with theirs. I am asking that you give women the same rights as men in Yemen. I am also asking that protection is granted when they wish to participate in political events and that there be no discrimination when women try to seek employment. I ask that your constitution does not discriminate against individuals based on sex or gender, marital status, or pregnancy, as this is inhumane and violates basic human rights. I also ask that your constitution make it illegal for any woman under the age of 18 to get married. Girls as young as eight should not be getting married, and doing so results in them being hurt mentally, physically, and emotionally.
All of these requests are for basic, inherent human rights. Again, activists around the world are asking that your new constitution include these rights and protections for women in Yemen. They are a part of the society and as such should be treated equally. Sex and gender should not decide what protections and rights a person has.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Jamal Jubra via al-akhbar.com