Poverty, child trafficking and domestic war [Archives:2007/1053/Opinion]

May 21 2007

By: Ali Al-Sarari
The one who observes the Yemeni affairs is bound to be surprised while hearing the official propaganda, which is indulged in optimism that the current situations will be improved and that the future will experience prosperity and bless. Such doesn't mean that the author of these lines is one of those called 'People of black glasses', which take them deeper in the swamp of pessimism, and consequently become unable to see the brilliant achievements the coming regime may reach in the country.

The abstract fact doesn't call for pessimism only, rather it calls for strong anxiety about the rapid deterioration of situations in the country, as well as the increased tangible factors predicting a tragic future to prevail the country's atmosphere. If the official optimistic propaganda is based on allegations of the current regime that it has taken procedures to reform the investment climate and transform Yemen into an investment-attracting country, having a deep glance at these procedures indicates that reforming the investment climate is merely a propaganda that has lost its credibility since a long time. In the meantime, the alleged reform steps are still merely theoretical plans lacking the political will to apply them in real-life situation. In the theoretical contexts, the decisions and laws concerned with reforms covered all the curves leading to emptying reforms from their content and then got changed into useless decisions and laws.

The matter is discussed and expressed via cancelling the Anti-Corruption Law and the Financial Liability Clearance Law concerned with government employees, as well as playing with the procedures of forming a national independent committee to fight corruption. Indifference toward fulfilling the pledges made by the regime at the time elections, which turned to be merely ink on papers, the ridiculous declarations such as those concerned with generating nuclear energy, and building railways convince one to bear in mind that the current situation is impossible to be reformed.

When we turn to talk about situations of the Yemeni judiciary, it seems to be enough for us to know the significance of reforming this judiciary. The Netherlands, one of the European donor countries to Yemen, which is tasked to extend assistance to Yemen, insisted on the government to immediately carry out judicial reforms. The misfortune has been made apparent in the war, which the authorities have been waging in Sa'ada province for four months. The war coincided with official efforts to regionally and internationally promote investment opportunities in Yemen, as the promotion results are erased by the continued civil war. Both negative phenomena are the product of the regimes' unwise policies.

Having heard the most recent statement by the new Prime Minister Ali Mohammed Mujawar, who vows to eliminate the Sa'ada rebels, people bore in mind that the man has a project for decisive war, and not for real reforms. Amid these facts, we know who will dare to say that the investment climate in Yemen is improving, as well as the stupid investor, who will waste his millions of dollars in a country lacking the secure and safe environment for investment. The case is that no glasses worldwide are enough to put an end to the state of pessimism in Yemen. Though sharp these glasses are, they cannot conceal the images of severe poverty printed on the faces of the majority of Yemenis. These images get worse as the prices of foodstuff have kept on skyrocketing since the most recent presidential elections in last September. Economic experts anticipate a new wave of price hikes due to the government's high spending on the Sa'ada war and the low price of local currency as the one dollar is expected to be priced at 250 Yemeni Riyals. These are anticipated steps to be taken by the government to tackle consequences left by the increased spending. Yemen is the poorest country in the region, and due to the unwise official policies imposed on the country, Yemen is now experiencing a new stage of poverty, which is the severest throughout history.

Such unwise policies and the country's deteriorating situations led to the emergence of the most tragic scenes in the human history. By this, I mean child trafficking. Children are trafficked by gangs through the land border from Yemen to Saudi Arabia to be exploited for begging and stealing. In a press probe published by Ukadh newspaper a few days ago, the stats and scores contained in the probe confirmed that around 50 thousand Yemeni children have been smuggled into Saudi Arabia over the past few years.

Ali Al-Sarari is a Yemeni Journalist and a well-known politician. He is the head of the information department at the Yemeni Socialist Party.

Source: Al-Thawri weekly