Human Rights ministry observesHuman Rights World Declaration Day [Archives:2003/697/Reportage]

December 25 2003

Mohammed bin Sallam
On the 55th anniversary of World Human Declaration the Yemeni ministry for human rights had on 22 December held speech ceremony. The event was coinciding with holding the training course on qualifying local trainers in the field of human rights.
Several speeches were delivered at the ceremony, all expressing viewpoints on the occasion. The last address was delivered by Prime Minister Abdulqader Bajammal under whose auspices the ceremony was held. Mr Bajammal called in his speech to enhance the culture of dialogue and tolerance before calling for dialogue of cultures and civilization, clarifying that the culture of dialogue occupies the essence of human rights. The PM also stressed on integration of he relationship between the government and opposition and that there was no difference between them regarding issues of human rights but in judgments which all are endeavor to develop via dialogue. He had made it clear that the question here is the man responsibility towards his human brother.

The minister for human rights Ms Amat al-Aleem al-Soussawa indicated in her speech to the level at which the issue of human rights had attained and what they represent of importance for development of contemporary societies and hat they need for dealing with international conventions and non-contradiction with international references and cultural and religious peculiarities between Arab and Muslim countries that entails practical problems in convincing the public opinion about human rights issues.

Address for political parties was delivered by Mr Mohammed al-Ruba'ie who said that changing concepts '' is the right beginning.'' When the concept prevails that the state has killed or tortured or attacked a citizen because a certain official has violated the law and abused his authority, it is then a wrong concept offends then state and its role and it would be enhanced in official insistence on defending the offender instead of clinging to the law and respecting it, Mr al-Rubaie said. He added, in this context comes restriction of freedom, as happened regarding the law in demonstration law which the JMP tied to amend in a manner not contradicting the principle of rights and freedoms. Opposition parties are still calling for reconsidering this law and also for withdrawing the law of press whose discussion has been postponed instead of being withdrawn despite its rejection by journalists. He concluded his address by asking whether it was not injustice and corruption and assailing on human rights when human dignity is offended inside police stations by oppression and beating in addition to the conditions of poverty and firing employees from their jibs?
The UN resident representative Mr James Rawley had also delivered a speech saying :
It is truly an honour for me to address you on this special day that celebrates the 55th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations and its member states. Although promotion and protection of Human Rights have formed the underlying basis of all activities since the inception of the organisation, more recently, they are increasingly recognized as an indissoluble part of human development. Indeed, human development and Human Rights go hand with each other. For instance, alleviation of poverty, a core concern of the UN's development strategy, is no longer only a question of 'Human needs' but that of 'rights'. Universal access to education and healthcare, freedom from intolerance, violence and discrimination, and democratic practices are all basic human rights. Respect for these human rights and freedoms, in turn, ensure the vibrancy, productivity and creativity of a community. From this perspective, the second Arab Human Development Report, a report written by Arabs under the sponsorship of UNDP and launched only this month, has been devoted to assessing the 'knowledge deficit' in the Arab world – and asserts that Arab countries will not be able to make much tangible progress in the long term without acquiring the relevant know-how. In other words, the need for free access to and greater production of 'knowledge' is an integral component of developing human capacity and promoting 'freedom' and democratic governance. Put more simply, protection of Human Rights is about valuing and respecting individuals, each different and respected for his or her uniqueness. Too often, and as we continue to witness around the world including in this region, tolerance and appreciation for this uniquenes have been compromised. Yet, there is no greater source of vitality for any society, and no better way to tap the Human potential, than the shared conviction put into practice, that all members of society are equally valued and respected, regardless of their strengths, weaknesses, values, beliefs, age or gender. Every country's development effort thrives on the energy created by its people, who are treated equally, fairly and justly and according to the rule of law. Thus, the protection and promotion of human rights for all is a country's vehicle for enhancing human development, be it in fighting poverty or accelerating reforms. In Yemen, important progress has been made in the promotion of Human Rights, which in turn is supporting the country's overall efforts in development. Yemen is a signatory to nearly all international human rights treaties. The recent establishment of the Ministry of Human Rights and its Supreme National Committee for Human Rights, under very capable leadership, is widely acknowledged to be a big step in the right direction and bears testament to the government's commitment to making human rights a priority in Yemen. In partnership with UNDP, and with coming. Support from the United Kingdom and Canada, the Ministry has launched a comprehensive Human Rights project, whose primary aim is to build the capacity of both the government and the civil society to promote and protect human rights. Also, the presence of active Yemeni NGOs in the field of Human Rights, as well as in women and children's welfare, attests to the responsibility that the Yemeni civil society is prepared to shoulder. An example of activity in this area was the convention of “The National Seminar on the Status of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in International and National Legislation”, commemorating the Human Rights Day this month. Also, on the same day, Yemen served as a venue for a regional seminar by the Human Rights Information and Training Centre in cooperation with Germany's Konrad Adenauer Establishment. Today, we are also celebrating the closing of the two-week Training – of – Trainer Workshop on Human Rights in which representatives of various Ministries participated. The event was co-sponsored by a number of UN agencies – the OHCHR, UNDP, UNFPA, UNICEF, and WHO – and was organised jointly by the Ministry of Human Rights and the HURIST (Strengthening Human Rights Programme) Technical Team. The event epitomises the growing partnership between the UN agencies and the government of Yemen in the field of human rights. We must not forget, however, that there continue to exist severe challenges around the world in the promotion and protection of Human Rights as we face the beginning of the New Year. Vast portions of humanity labour under severe poverty, epidemics, violence, terrorism, inequalities and injustice, and bad governance, bi it in Iraq, Palestine, or elsewhere. In Yemen, also, much work remains in overcoming some of these challenges. One area of particular concern is the large existing gender disparities in economic, social, and political spheres and the differences in rights and privileges where, in spite of efforts, significant gaps exist between men and women. In working to promote human rights for all, the UN is committed to its partnership with the people and the government of Yemen. First and foremost, our emphasis lies in expanding the capacity of the government of Yemen in the Human Rights field. Today is a special day to reflect on both the achievements and challenges in the pursuit for universal respect forhuman rights, and by extension, winning the battle for human development, both in Yemen and elsewhere in our increasingly interconnected world.