1. Home
  2. Middle East and North Africa
  3. Yemen

Girls, poor and black children most discriminated against - study

There are 45 girls per 100 boys enrolled in primary education, according to UNICEF.
(Mohammed al-Jabri/IRIN)

Children of poor families, girls and children of the Akhdaam (servants) are the most discriminated against in Yemen, a new study has found.

The unpublished study, titled ‘Discrimination against Children and its Relation to the Cultural and Social Status in Yemen’, was conducted by Dal Centre for Cultural and Social Studies, a local NGO, in cooperation with Save the Children Sweden.

The study was conducted over a one-year period in 12 out of the country’s 21 governorates, including four main cities (Sanaa, Aden, Taiz and Mukalla), three secondary cities (Seyoun, Zabid and Marib) and 12 villages in Hajjah, al-Mahweet, Ibb, al-Dhalei, al-Baidha and Abyan provinces.

The study surveyed 1,033 people, of whom 54 percent were children aged 6-17, and the rest were parents, adults working with children and religious and social figures.

Some 78 percent of respondents said children faced discrimination in one form or another.

Hamoud al-Awdi, head of Dal Centre, said discrimination against children “threatens social harmony” in Yemen and added that poverty had become a major source of discrimination and contempt.

The study identified 13 categories of children that faced discrimination and 45 kinds of discrimination, ranging from sexism to sexual exploitation. Some 90 percent of respondents said the children most vulnerable to discrimination were Akhdaam (children of servants, who are mostly black), girls and poor children.

According to the study, 12 factors were responsible for discrimination against children, most notable of which were economic disparities, unwillingness of parents to educate children about discriminatory practices and illiteracy.


This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

Share this article
Join the discussion

It was The New Humanitarian’s investigation with the Thomson Reuters Foundation that uncovered sexual abuse by aid workers during the Ebola response in the Democratic Republic of Congo and led the World Health Organization to launch an independent review and reform its practices.

This demonstrates the important impact that our journalism can have. 

But this won’t be the last case of aid worker sex abuse. This also won’t be the last time the aid sector has to ask itself difficult questions about why justice for victims of sexual abuse and exploitation has been sorely lacking. 

We’re already working on our next investigation, but reporting like this takes months, sometimes years, and can’t be done alone.

The support of our readers and donors helps keep our journalism free and accessible for all. Donations mean we can keep holding power in the aid sector accountable, and shine a light on similar abuses. 

Become a member today and support independent journalism

Become a member of The New Humanitarian

Support our journalism and become more involved in our community. Help us deliver informative, accessible, independent journalism that you can trust and provides accountability to the millions of people affected by crises worldwide.