Government tightens grip on NGOs [Archives:2005/890/Business & Economy]

October 31 2005

Mahyoub Al-Kamaly
A recent field study has indicated that the circle of poverty in the Yemeni society is taking an expanding direction at a time the government has greatly tightened its measures against 1480 civil society and establishment under pretext of their violation of the law of private societies. In reality the reason is related to their activities ranging between the government accusation to them of violating the law and their seeking for obtaining local and external grants to be offered to the poor and using them in civil society activities that need financial supports encounter peoples' sufferings resulting from the policies of economic doses that have been exhausting the Yemenis' potentials since March 1995.

Social Affairs and Labour undersecretary Ali Saleh Abdullah has lately announced that the ministry is in the process of omitting about one thousand civil society organizations out of their total number of 5200 organizations registered with the ministry and those organist ions would be suspended from practicing their work. The ministry's undersecretary called on the organizations to submit statements explaining sources of their funding and the sides beneficiary of their activities.

Many of private organizations have expressed surprise and astonishment regarding the government endeavour to cause damage to the NGOs, despite that Yemen, as the case with Turkey and Italy, is authorized, according to meetings of the world summit of the 8-group countries to work for development of non-governmental organizations activities, enhancement of dialogue among them and work on offering care for them and to practice their activities in a democratic manner.

Officials of those organizations have said the law does not authorize the ministry to delete violating societies without consulting the judiciary, as stipulated in rules of procedure of the law of societies and establishments. Meanwhile, a field study mentioned that cases of poverty are expanding in number despite the Yemeni efforts exerted for fighting it. Local markets are crowded with huge numbers of variety of goods in a manner attracting the attention, but majority of the people is unable to buy. The study said some of the goods have labels mentioning “Made especially for Yemen””