Human Rights in Yemen [Archives:2004/715/Letters to the Editor]

February 26 2004

Ahmed Ibrahim Almass
GS, Yemen Human Rights Guard
[email protected]

The idea of establishing an organization for Human Rights in the early '80s in the Middle East was considered an act of a big crime. This included our beloved Yemen. This was the atmosphere and the circumstances then.
Whenever you called for a proposed foundation committee, with the idea of establishing a Human Rights organization, a lot of questions were asked by most attended. But, unfortunately, all questioned were concentrated on financial recourses. Which country would give the organization financial assistance?
And some of the attendants believed that such activities were against the government. While some of the learned men were scared to death, although they knew that is was a right to do it, according to the constitution.
A lot of explanations were made to those who believed that there must be financial assistance from outside country, and they also expected good monthly salaries to carry out the Human Rights activities in our Yemen.
They won't digest our explanation to them that all Middle East regimes – the rich and the poor ) considered such activities, at that period, criminal acts. They won't assist financially for such activities. In short, we tried hard to convince them the usefulness of depending upon ourselves, but, it was useless.
During these great difficulties and circumstances, partly mentioned, we held a general meeting and founded the first Human Rights Organization in Sana'a. And we named it at that time Human Rights for former South Yemen.
But after the unity of Yemen, we renamed it to the Yemen Human Rights Guard, which (the name) was taken as a loan to what so called opposition party Mowj, then.
We are very much proud and pleased with the changes happening and in particular in Human Rights activities. It is worth mentioning here, as a great change, the formation of the Ministry of Human Rights, headed by highly qualified and well experienced minister.
The Yemen Human Rights Guard has rearranged its activities, giving priority to prisoners, prisons and detention centers. In addition to this activity, we are studying about how to be involved with social welfare affairs to the effected families – children and old folks in connection to prisoners with the cooperation of other organizations.
We write this article inviting all learned Yemenis, Human Rights Organizations, headed by The Minister of Human Rights, to participate to build modern Yemen.