Yemen's dark side: Discrimination against violence against women and girls

Amnesty International
Publication Date: 
November, 2009
Yemen's dark side: Discrimination and violence against women and girls

Women in Yemen face systemic dicsrimination and endemic violence, with devastating consequences for their lives. Their rights are routinely violated because Yemeni laws as well as tribal and customary practices treat them as second class citizens. 

Women are not free to marry who they want and some are forced to marry when they are children, sometimes as young as eight. Once married, a woman must obey her husband and obtain his permission just to leave the house.

Women are valued as half the worth of men when they testify in court or when their families are compensated if they are murdered. They are also denied equal treatment when it comes to inheritance and are often denied it completely.

Women are dealt with more harshly than men when accused of “immoral” acts, and men are treated leniently when they murder female relatives in “honour killings”.

Such discriminatory laws and practices encourage and facilitate violence against women, which is rife in the home and in
society at large.

Despite this, recent years have seen some positive developments for women’s rights, such as the creation of the quasigovernmental National Women’s Committee (NWC) in 1996 and the appointment in 2001 of a minister of state for human rights, which was upgraded to ministerial level in 2003. The government has also engaged with intergovernmental bodies and reported to the UN committee overseeing the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, to which Yemen is a party.

Read full report: