Legal Aspects of Environmental [Archives:1997/40/Law & Diplomacy]

October 6 1997

Mr. Abdullah Al-Muhayya is a lawyer at the Supreme Court. He has recently written a book entitled the “Yemeni Environmental Protection Law.” Al-Muhayya, 47, graduated from the Law College in Baghdad in 1974. He is currently the legal advisor for the Environment Protection Council in Yemen.

Q: What has motivated you to write this book about environment legislation in Yemen? A: I wanted to make a contribution towards raising public awareness of environmental issues. Yemen suffers from various forms of pollution which makes it crucially important to protect and preserve our environment for the common good of all society. It is one of the human rights that people should live in a clean and healthy environment.
Q: How long did it take to author this book? And what references did you rely on? A: I spent six months researching and writing my book. I tried to make good use of a large number of UN publications on this matter.
Q: What are the major environmental problems in Yemen? A: Environmental problems emanate from two major factors: uncontrolled population growth and rapid industrialization. These problems are manifested in the form of bad sewerage disposal, water scarcity, lack of hygiene, desertification, epidemics, etc.
Q: Are there any loopholes or shortcomings in Yemeni environmental legislations? A: There are many points to be dealt with. For example, there is a ministry for urban planning, but there is no housing law in Yemen. On the other hand, the environmental protection law stipulates the issuance of regulations concerning environmental issues related to the housing and urban planning.
Q: What are the problems of enacting the law in Yemen? A: As long as there is not much public awareness, people will not respect the law. To prove my point, there are no legal cases brought by individuals or groups for polluting the environment whether by public or private organisations.
Yemeni Environmental Protection Law (222 pp. published by the author) consists of two main parts: Environmental Protection Law and Complementary Legislations. The first part consists of four chapters. The first chapter deals with the general principles and provisions of environmental protection. Protecting the environment from pollution is dealt with in the second chapter. This is followed by topics on the issues of violations, compensations, and punishments. The fourth chapter presents views, suggestions and recommendations. The first chapter of the second part deals with the marine environmental law. Environmental protection from the view point of the criminal law is discussed in the second chapter. The third chapter deals with environmental legislations in the regulations of various ministries. International environmental conventions complementing the Yemeni law are presented in detail in the fourth chapter.
Managing Editor, Yemen Times