NGO protests exclusion from conference [Archives:2004/702/Front Page]

January 12 2004

Yemen Times Staff
In a press release sent on Sunday to the media and international organizations, the National Organization for the Defense of Rights and Freedoms (NODRF) protested the decision to exclude it from attending the Inter-Governmental Conference on Democracy, Human Rights and the Role of the International Criminal Court held in Sana'a during 11-12 January 2004.
“NODRF was astonished by the preclusion of the most prominent NGOs, political and human rights activists from the participation and the introduction of the political system's elements and partisans as representatives of the civil society.” the press release said.
“It never crossed our minds that such a thing would happen specifically in an international conference sponsored by the EU and particularly following the proclamation about its being prepared in association with an Italian organization named “NO PEACE WITHOUT JUSTICE”.” It added.
The NGO went further by claiming that the exclusion has created the impression by NGOs, political and human rights activists in the Republic of Yemen that such conferences could possibly serve solely to the reintroduction and marketing of the “existing suppressive political regimes” under the cloak of democratic regimes that respect human beings and their freedoms.
Concluding its statement, the NODRF expressed its sorrow for the policy of exclusion and disrespect of the activists and active NGOs in the country whom, it claims, “the regime seems to have accounts to settle with.”
It is worth noting that protesters representing families of prisoners arrested due to suspicion of links to terrorist organization, have demonstrated in front of the presidential palace demanding that they come in to express their grief to participants, but were stopped by armed police. Furthermore, protesters in Hadramout also demonstrated government policies concerning their rights in their governorate and demanded that the participants in the conference get a idea of the 'injustice' they suffer from in terms of distribution of the governorate's wealth, including oil revenues, especially as the citizens of the oil-rich governorate are among the poorest in Yemen.