Today, the Equal Rights Trust launches From Night to Darker Night: Addressing Discrimination and Inequality in Yemen. This report – conceived before the outbreak of the current conflict in Yemen, but completed in its shadow – exposes the disproportionate impact which the conflict has had on those exposed to discrimination.
From Night to Darker Night is the outcome of extensive primary field research and desk-based research into discrimination and inequality in Yemen, conducted over the last three years; it has been produced only as a result of the remarkable and courageous efforts of Yemeni human rights defenders, who have conducted research at risk to their own safety. The report highlights established patterns of discrimination and inequality in Yemen and exposes how the ongoing conflict has exacerbated these patterns of discrimination and created new patterns of inequality and disadvantage.
Since the outbreak of the current conflict in 2015, the international community’s attention has largely been focussed on this humanitarian crisis and, to a lesser extent, on violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law being committed by all parties to the conflict. Less attention has been paid to the pre-existing circumstances in the country, and the way in which the conflict has exacerbated the patterns of inequality, disadvantage and discrimination faced by certain groups in Yemen.
From Night to Darker Night examines these patterns of discrimination and disadvantage. It finds that, while the conflict has ravaged the country, affecting the entire population, the effect has not been uniform. Rather, the conflict has had a particular impact on groups historically subjected to discrimination and marginalisation – including women and girls, the Muhamasheen community, and religious minorities – who have become more vulnerable to pre-existing types of discrimination and have faced new forms of discriminatory treatment and exclusion. The conflict has also created a new group vulnerable to discrimination – internally displaced persons – who experience severe deprivation and dislocation.
Thus, the conflict which continues to rage in Yemen has, in the words of Yemeni poet Abdullah Al-Baradouni, plunged Yemen’s marginalised groups from “night to darker night”. As such, the report’s first and primary recommendation is that the parties to the conflict cease hostilities. The report then makes recommendations for immediate implementation, for a future transitional process, and for implementation after the conflict has concluded, all with the aim of increasing enjoyment of the rights to equality and non-discrimination, and so improving the lives of the country’s most marginalised.
To mark the launch of the report, the Trust is convening a side-event to the 38th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, with panel speakers including Yousuf Aburas (Yemeni Coalition for Monitoring Human Rights Violations), Baraa Shiban (Yemeni human rights defender) and Camilla Alonzo (Legal and Programmes Officer at the Equal Rights Trust).
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