Some progress was made – the National Dialogue Conference (NDC) concluded in January 2014, and agreed a number of principles to build the capacity of the state to safeguard human rights, increase gender equality, and end child marriage. Laws on children’s rights and human trafficking were drafted, and a government action plan to end the use of child soldiers was agreed. A draft National Human Rights Strategy was also developed.
The appointment of a new government in November, following the 21 September Peace and National Partnership Agreement, was a positive step, with many ministers having technocratic, rather than primarily political, backgrounds. Institutional capacity, however, remained weak, reducing their ability to deliver timely reforms.
The UK continued its human rights work through lobbying, awareness raising and programme work on human rights priorities, including democracy and elections; access to justice and the rule of law; women’s and children’s rights; and protection of civilians. We lobbied the government during Yemen’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in January, and sponsored the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) Resolution on technical assistance and capacity-building for Yemen in the field of human rights in September. The UK government Special Envoy to Yemen, Sir Alan Duncan, lobbied the government on human right issues during visits to Sana’a, and the UK Ambassador to Yemen published a series of blogs to raise awareness of human rights issues, including women’s rights, corruption, conflict and the protection of civilians, and refugees, and raised these in her meetings with political parties.