Civic Society Seminar in GCC countries [Archives:2004/743/Local News]

June 3 2004

Taiz Bureau
A seminar under the slogan, “Reality Challenges and Future Horizons”, held at Shamsan Hotel, Taiz, concluded last Wednesday. The seminar was concerned with civil society in the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council and Persian Gulf. It was organized by the Human Rights Information and Training Center (HRITC), supported by the Conrad Corporation. More than 60 participants, representing Yemen, Qatar, Palestine, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates took part in it.
The opening session of seminar commenced on Tuesday, 4 May, in the presence of Secretary General of the Local Council in Taiz, Mr. Mohamed Al-Haj, President of Taiz University, Dr. Mohamed Al-Sofi, Sheikh Jaber Abdullah Ghalib, Head of the PGC office in Taiz and representatives of political parties and civil society organizations.
Several working papers were presented during the days of the session. Dr. Mohamed Mughrum, a law professor at Sana'a University, presented a working paper entitled, “Civil Society in Yemen the legal reality problems”, in which he dealt with Yemeni legislation and constitutional texts that regulate and govern the work and freedom of civil society organizations and the obstacles facing them, in comparison with international laws and conventions.
Mr. Ali Saleh Abdullah presented a working paper concerning the problems in the relations between civil society organizations and official authorities, and Ms. Zainub Al-Dowazy, from Bahrain Human Rights Association, presented a working paper about the civil society movements in Arab countries, in which she dealt with political parties and labor organizations as civil society organizations and the problems facing their work. Sudanese Dr. Alabeid Ahmed, an expert at the Human Rights Support Program at the UN, presented a working paper about the independence and funding of civil society organizations. Several other related working papers by prominent dignitaries and university professors were also discussed.
The participants discussed the current role of civil society organizations and the requirements to discharge this role effectively during the coming periods. They summarized the needed requirements in the followings:
1- Activating effective and serious mechanisms for cooperation between civil society organizations and government corporations, at each country's level and the regional level in order to achieve total integration in activities and goals.
2- The work to enhance the roles of civil society organizations as effective partners in the development and formulation of the future.
3- Spreading the human rights culture in societies.
4- Exchange of expertise and information among civil society organizations at the regional level.
5- Adopting constant open dialogue programs and regular joint sessions between civil societies and activists at the regional level in order to accomplish practical regional programs effectively.
6- Human Rights Information and Training Center (HRITC) is assigned to follow up the continuation of dialogue at the level of Arab countries in the Arab Peninsula and the Gulf toward reaching renewed mechanisms confirming the integrated work between civil society organizations and enhancing their effective roles in society through consultations with various effective organizations and activities.