Enhancing Legal Security, Arrest Procedures, and Detention Conditions of Women and Girls (2014)

The Yemen Polling Center is engaged with a long-term project examining the legal security of women and girls in Yemen, ‘Enhancing Legal Security, Arrest Procedures, and Detention Conditions of Women and Girls.’ With particular emphasis given to Article 273 and 274 of the Criminal Code, YPC has been conducting extensive, gender-focused research on experiences and processes of arrests, detention conditions, and prison conditions. The multi-year scale and scope of the project has included female prisoners and pretrial detainees (220 female prisoners in 8 detention centers), local prison authorities and prison personnel (50-100 local prison heads), members and heads of local police stations, members of the prosecution and lawyers, local and national CSOs working on the conditions of female prisoners and women’s rights in general (including, the Yemeni Women’s Union, the Restructuring Committee & the General Inspector’s office of the Ministry of Interior, the Department of Public Prosecutions).
Financed by the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights of the European Union, the multi-step project will result in recommendations for improvements to legal security processes and conditions of female detention centers and prisons. As this projects offers an in-depth, evidence-based understanding of the security sector several activities were completed to achieve the project’s expected outcomes:

  1. A sub-page on gender and security will be added and published on the Yemen Parliament Watch website to publicize available outputs and serve as a general information hub on the topic;
  2. A roundtable will be facilitated and include participants representing all target groups. The discussions will focus on knowledge gaps pertaining to arrest procedures and the hindrance of enhancements to detention conditions for female prisoners, suspects, and pretrial detainees;
  3. YPC conducts research on arrest backgrounds and procedures as well as the detention conditions of female prisoners in the seven official and one non-official female detention centers as well as in local police stations taking into account the input received in the previous activity;
  4. On the basis of the data gathered and processed in the framework of activity three, a policy report in both English and Arabic will be written and published, including recommendations for reform;
  5. A high-profile symposium publishing the results of the survey to trigger public debate will be hosted, during which time YPC will give a presentation of the results of the survey, placing particular emphasis on the needs for reform;
  6. A short 10-minute film will be produced and aired documenting the impact of various Criminal Code on women’s lives as well as focusing on police and prosecution behavior using results of previous activities and interviewing members of target groups.
As a part of the project, YPC produced a paper, ‘Criminal Histories, Arrest and Prison Experiences of Women and Girls in Yemen’, that examines the experiences of women and girls caught in Yemen’s judicial and prison system. Through research primarily conducted in 2014-15, 234 women were interviewed to better understand imprisonment and arrest procedures, the varying nature of pre-war prison conditions for women in Yemen, and critical opportunities for post-war reform. The paper offers an intersectional view of gender, socio-economics, education, and age so as to offer a more comprehensive look at the experiences of the 234 women. With particular emphasis on the needs of children imprisoned with their mothers, the paper makes recommendations for urgently needed reforms and maps the potential for local collaboration at the earliest post-war recovery opportunity.