Annals of Tropical Medicine and Public Health

EDITORIAL COMMENTARY
Year
: 2017  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 513--514

Legal protection for women in Yemen: A sorry state


Saurabh R Shrivastava, Prateek S Shrivastava, Jegadeesh Ramasamy 
 Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Ammapettai, Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
Saurabh R Shrivastava
Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, 3rd Floor, Ammapettai Village, Thiruporur, Guduvancherry Main Road, Sembakkam Post, Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu
India




How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Legal protection for women in Yemen: A sorry state.Ann Trop Med Public Health 2017;10:513-514


How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Legal protection for women in Yemen: A sorry state. Ann Trop Med Public Health [serial online] 2017 [cited 2019 Nov 22 ];10:513-514
Available from: http://www.atmph.org/text.asp?2017/10/3/513/213164


Full Text

Dear Sir,

It has been more than a year since the armed conflict erupted in Yemen in March 2015, and since then, the already compromised health sector of the nation has been almost paralyzed.[1]

In fact, owing to the constant fighting and bombardment, only emergency health care needs of the population have been given importance, while the routine health care services have been neglected.[1] In addition, there have been multiple strikes even on health care facilities, which has not only enhanced the burden on the functioning centers, but even prevented the local residents from accessing health care.[1] Furthermore, a significant shortage of logistics and medical supplies has also been observed, which has also raised the problem for the policy makers and the other stakeholders.[1],[2]

Even though, improvement was observed in the nation's health system since the adoption of the Millennium Development Goals, but since the start of a conflict, everything has regressed and the nation has poor maternal and child health indicators and no avenues for women empowerment.[1],[3] Nation's society suffers from marked discrimination against women, with various social inhibitions and compulsions on them.[1],[4] Even before the start of the crisis, more than 90% of the women reported that they have been exposed to violence in domiciliary settings as well as sexual harassment on the roads.[4] The recent estimates suggest that in excess of 50% girls are forced into marriage before attaining the age of 18 years, while they also have unequal rights in divorce, custody, and inheritance within marriages.[3],[4] However, since the start of the conflict, the rates of gender-based violence or child marriage has increased enormously, and the worst part is that there is minimal hope of justice for the encountered physical-psychological-sexual abuse.[4]

At the same time, the findings of a study in the region revealed that majority of the respondents were of the opinion that an HIV-positive woman should be either sterilized or not allowed to get married, or should be compelled to undergo abortion.[5]

Furthermore, despite the presence of legal options for the prevention of female genital mutilation, they have not been implemented stringently to either prevent or eliminate the practice from the nation.[6] To further complicate the matter, even though, women are allowed to be present in court for testifying or pressing allegations; nevertheless, their presence is excessively stigmatized.[4]

Also, a woman's statement is given only half merit than that of a man's and should be supported by a man, and thus it is highly likely that the female victims will only be prosecuted rather than the male accused, and hence, very few women come forward to report rape or physical abuse as they are never trusted in court.[4] In addition, the nation has very few numbers of qualified doctors to precisely examine the rape victims, and so again, women have no evidence to support their claim.[4]

In an attempt to support the victims of gender-based violence, the United Nations Population Fund has established two shelter homes to offer legal, psychosocial and health services, referral services and even provide access to safe houses.[4] Owing to their efforts, a gradual rise in the number of women reporting abuse and rape has increased; nevertheless, it is very important for the lawmakers and government stakeholders to realize that the future of the nation's women totally depends on increased public awareness and by extending better legal assistance to the women.[1],[4],[6] Also, it is the need of the hour to ensure that all strategies designed for women empowerment are monitored strictly and modified based on the community needs.[2],[3],[6] In addition, all options for international collaboration should be explored to solve the women's health-related concerns.[1],[4]

To conclude, there is an indispensable need for the strengthening of the legal provisions to assist the women and develop strategies to promote and protect the rights of the women in the nation.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

References

1World Health Organization. Health system in Yemen close to collapse. Bull World Health Organization 2015;93:670-1.
2Burki T. Yemen health situation “moving from a crisis to a disaster”. Lancet 2015;385:1609.
3Khan TA, Eshaq AM, Al-Khateeb AA, AlAmodi AA. Women's health and empowerment in Yemen. Lancet 2014;383:2121.
4UNFPA. Fighting for justice for women amidst conflict in Yemen; 2016. Available from: http://www.unfpa.org/news/fighting-justice-women-amidst-conflict-yemen. [Last accessed on 2016 July 19].
5Badahdah AM. Attitudes toward restricting the sexual and reproductive rights of women living with HIV infection in Yemen. J Assoc Nurses AIDS Care 2016;27:180-7.
6Muthumbi J, Svanemyr J, Scolaro E, Temmerman M, Say L. Female genital mutilation: A literature review of the current status of legislation and policies in 27 African countries and Yemen. Afr J Reprod Health 2015;19:32-40.