Developing Awareness of Human Rights in Yemen [Archives:2000/45/Focus]

November 6 2000

Jamal AlAwadi,
Yemen Times.
It is an axiom to presume that Human Rights constitute the essence of a democratic governance. However, democracy in this general sense will not succeed in a society unless there is awareness and understanding of its necessity. This requires education in democracy and human rights at both individual and collective levels, and awareness to make it part of thought and culture. Yemen will not be a modern state unless it applies knowledge, democracy and human rights as practical and cognitive mechanisms to achieve that goal. Legitimacy of the ruling political regime depends on the amount of its achievement of societys goals of democracy and progress.
Human rights culture in general needs multi mechanisms to be spread, for it is inevitable to create a new political culture covering all developments of democracy and sound political practices. This would entail discarding violence in society and deepening national integration among the people.
The situation now is prepared to some extent for spreading the human rights culture. In Yemen, particularly since 1990, i.e. when unity was declared and was associated with introducing the democratic experiment, democracy has become the most significant mechanism to re-rectify the relationship between the state and the society. This success of democracy in Yemen is linked to a number of basic requirements. The most important of which is the creation of a political culture expressing all political, social and economic changes whose impact is reflected on the Yemeni society. So, developing awareness of human rights culture is a large-scale process that needs development of all fields of life. The most important mechanisms contributing to developing awareness of human rights can be summed up as follows:

The Role of Governmental Sectors:
1- The States approach to develop the society in all economic, social, political and cultural aspects as the human rights include all those aspects.
2- The States approach to build up seriously and firmly the state of law and institutions so that these institutions organize the relationships of individuals inside the society and they regulate relations between the State and society.
3- The states approach towards legal equality of all members of the people, meaning the necessity of canceling all attempts of outflanking the laws, ending favoritism.
4-The necessity of judicature independence from the Executive Authority that influences it, respecting its decisions and verdicts as well as modernizing of the Judiciary Authority structurally and individually.
5- Raising the level of political and legal awareness among the security, police and judicature to realize and react to the changes that take place in the society so that there is no contradiction between the laws and the practices as it is happening now.
6- The State must activate the Permanent Supervision Committees to supervise the official practices in different governmental institutions whether in the Judicature, Public Prosecution, Police in the civil posts and disclose their violations of human rights.
7- The State must modernize the syllabus of different academic stages for teaching the human rights culture to the individuals.
8- The States approach to all the above mentioned as well as the lawful and legal redress represents a real response to the political changes that is associated with the declaration of the Unified Yemen. It also represents a response to the international conventions that Yemen declared to abide by as in article No. 6 of the Constitution and as in the Revolutions 6th objective. The State, thereby, shows the transparency that is the most important mechanism for manifestation which rectifies any corruption in the governmental institutions and brings back trust to the regime.

Non-governmental mechanisms:
1- All the political parties, specially the Opposition, must activate their activity in the society and must consciously and responsibly realize that the success of democracy depends on creating basics, among which is spreading of the human rights culture through the media, conferences, symposiums and books.
2- These organizations play an active role in spreading human rights culture among the people as they are small and close to individuals and have no administrative complications.
3- All civil society organizations, political parties and social figures must form a bloc dubbed The Bloc of Modernization, Democracy and Human Rights Forces. This bloc must exercise pressures on the government to improve its role in human rights and to renew the educational program by adding academic syllabus on human rights culture at home and in all education institutions.
4- Unofficial and official press should play a role in spreading human rights culture so that every citizen acquires knowledge about these rights and how to deal with them and any violations of them.
5- The mosque, too, has an important role in spreading the human rights culture and its relation to the religious reference, the Holy Koran, that highly appreciates the value of humans.
6-Non-governmental civil organizations must form one organization aiming at monitoring cases of human rights violations in the society by adopting transparency and manifestation concept pursuant to texts of the Constitution and democratic practices.
As the States political address has recently become open to the concepts of human rights and civil society, it has become tangible that his development is still in need of bridging the wide gap, or narrowing it, between the renewable political address, the legal text and the actual practice. The narrower the gap is, the best evidence it would be on evaluating democracy practice and crystallization of human rights in the state and the society.