In the aftermath of the 2011 popular uprising to bring down the Saleh regime, Yemen has faced immense pain and conflict. Various conflict actors have committed war crimes and grave human rights violations and have caused a severe humanitarian crisis. The civic space in Yemen is considered almost closed. Grassroot organizations lack protection, capacity, and opportunities to access international networks. Supporting the civil society in Yemen contributes to efforts towards sustainable peace. This is what PAX, and its partners are working on through the Strengthening Civic Courage programme.
The Strengthening Civic Courage programme in Yemen
It is a five-year program which started in 2021 and seeks to ensure that Yemeni civilians represented by civil society play an active role towards ending the conflict and building inclusive peace and accountability processes, on local, national and international level.
The programme has the following objectives:
- Civic Space: Yemeni civil society activists, particularly women and youth-led civil society, contribute to expanding civic space in Yemen with safe and inclusive initiatives promoting creativity, gender equality and dialogue.
- Conflict and human rights: Yemeni civil society gains access to (gender-) inclusive justice and accountability processes, and has its concerns, and those of its victims and survivors of human rights violations, reflected in local, national, and international agendas.
- External Stress factors (weapons, conflict & environment): Calling for strict application of international standards on arms export control, protecting civilians from the use of explosive weapons in populated areas, and addressing the environmental impacts of the conflict on lives and livelihoods.
Interventions to achieve the above objectives include capacity strengthening, dialogue activities, storytelling, research and advocacy.
This programme is implemented in partnership between three Yemeni partner organizations (Mwatana, the Civic Alliance for Peace and Resonate Yemen), and three alliance members (Amnesty International Nederlands (AINL), ABAAD, and PAX). It builds upon the experiences of these organizations, shared values, complementarity of approaches, strategies for solidarity and experience sharing.
PAX has previously worked with Mwatana on these publications:
- Day of Judgment - The Role of the US and Europe in Civilian Death, Destruction, and Trauma in Yemen, March 2019;
- The Degredation of History - Violations Committed by the Warring Parties against Yemen’s Cultural Property, November 2018