Moving towards more rights for children [Archives:2007/1014/Front Page]

January 8 2007

Khalil Al-Khaubari
SANA`A, Jan. 5 ) The government is hoping to bring key children's right to the forefront with the first consultation meeting for discussing the draft of the first following up report 2006 concerning the level of implementing the International Children Rights Treaty.

The meeting recommends updating the children's database and statistics, establishing an observing systym for the violations against children, increasing the human and financial support for the children concerned authorities.

The meeting was sponsored by the Higher Council for Motherhood & Childhood in cooperation with Save the Children Sweden.

“Before this extended and complicated meeting we used to make a small teamwork by the end of each year collects the information from the concerned authorities and make these information as the base of our national report,” said Ali Saleh Abdullah, the Deputy Minister of Job and Social Affairs.

As the children's issues are almost confined to the table discussions for the periodic reports presented to the international committee, the implementing of these discussion's recommendations remains the big challenge for authorities concerned with child welfare.

“Children issues must have the priority in the development project for the goal of development is human being and childhood is the first and most important stage of human formation,” said Saleh.

Yemen has presented three periodic reports to the International Committee since it approved the International Children Rights Treaty in 1991. The recommendations of each report remained the same.

“In Dec. 2005, we discussed the third report and found that the recommendations are still the same for the previous reports so we decided to make a plane work where every concerned ministry participate in order to achieve the possible amount of these recommendation, ” said Abdul Rahman Ali, a national expert in children rights. “Today we came to see what the concerned authorities have done in term of implementing the plan's goals”

According to the report's draft the Yemeni government made a total revision for the national laws concerning children. These laws are related with children rights, juvenile's custody, military crimes and punishment, crime and punishment law, marital statues law and prison organization law.

A committee of legal specialists along with national and international experts made changes to the law concerned with providing legal protection for children, hardening the punishments on the law breakers, enhancing the agreement between the national constituents and international treaties approved by the Yemeni government.

Concerning sexual exploitation of children the report says there is no available statistic on this regard because due to prominent social customs the number of sexual violations against children could not be recorded in hospitals and health care centers.

A study by the Higher Council for Motherhood & Childhood received accusations as the most violating means toward children inside and outside the home with an average of 76 percent and sexual violations 17.9 percent and now the council is preparing a complete study on the sexual exploitation of children. Child trafficking is a widely problem in the last years in Yemen for a number social and economic reasons, according to the report.

On this regard the, Yemeni and Saudi authorities held a meeting in June 2006 aimed to set a coordinating and cooperation mechanism on regard with children trafficking.

Concerning the educational situation of Yemeni children and the teaching styles followed in children schools the Yemen Country Manager of Save the Children , Waleed Al- Bashhe said, “Now we have a joint plan with the ministry of education in order to get rid of violence against children in schools and provide the alternative means. We also work on integrating the disabled children in the schools which is a positive result of this report.”

The private organizations are expected to present a similar report from their point of view for the year 2006.

“These reports are only means and not goals by themselves, we work on making coordination between the two reports in order to raise up children's position,” said Al-Basheer.

The main challenge in preparing this report was the difficulty to find correct and exact information. This problem created a lot of objection and questions on table discussion about the number and statistics used in the report.

“There is no coordination in collecting children rights information between the concerned authorities and now we ask the participants to work together for a data base for children rights,” said one national expert.