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The mass consultations concluded by UN Special envoy’s office for Yemen that recently took place sparked some hope for an ending to the war that has been going on for almost six years. Over 500 Yemenis – representing political parties, women’s networks, youth groups, media and civil society organizations – participated in the large-scale virtual consultations. Among the topics were the prospects of a nationwide ceasefire, the future of the political peace process and key humanitarian and economic measures needed to mitigate humanitarian suffering and to improve Yemen’s response to Covid- 19[1].

The mass consultations mark the first time that an UN active mediation process has been arranged with the kind of technology that allows for real-time online discussion in combination with polling. Research proves that a durable peace is built on inclusivity and representation. In particular, women’s participation helps ensure that a future peace will be more sustainable[2]. The consultations could therefore mark an important step towards a peaceful solution in Yemen. 

Further, the international community must condemn serious human right violations such as those we have seen in Yemen. The UN secretary-general recently removed the Saudi-led coalition from his ‘list of shame’, despite continued grave violations against children, including Saudi-led coalitions responsible for 222 child casualties and four attacks on schools and hospitals in Yemen 2019[3]. We must remember that it is always the civilians who pay the highest prize for war. When schools and hospitals are bombed, women and children are the ones who suffer the worst.

Hopefully, the mass consultations can offer a window of opportunity for the international community to take significant steps towards a peaceful solution with prospects for an inclusive and sustainable peace in Yemen. 

Maria Salenstedt, Board trainee 2020, Operation 1325.  

#yemen #massconsultations #UNSCR1325 #ceasefire #unitednations 

[1] https://osesgy.unmissions.org/un-special-envoy’s-office-yemen-concludes-first-online-mass-consultations

[2] https://www.government.se/articles/2015/10/womens-participation-helps-ensure-that-peace-is-more-sustainable/

[3] https://www.hrw.org/news/2020/06/15/un-chiefs-list-shame-drops-saudi-led-coalition