Sana’a Regional Conference on Democracy and Human Rights [Archives:2004/701/Opinion]

January 8 2004

By Sameer Mohammed Abdulhaq,
Senior Specialist of Studies and Research,
Prime Ministership Office

A Regional Conference will be held on 10/11 January, 2004 on Democracy and Human Rights in the historical capital Sana'a with a focus on human rights, freedoms and legislation's that protect these rights and the role of International Criminal Court in protection of these rights. The participants of this conference include delegates from the region, Africa, Asia, Middle East and Europe including Amro Mossa Secretary General of the Arab League, General Secretary aides of the United Nations, mass media representatives and members of the international Criminal Court. The participants will discuss the methods of consolidating democracy and human rights. Democracy is a holy concept which includes procedural and executive institutions.
Sana'a Regional Conference does not come from a vacuum. It is a democratic parade, revealing the significant role of Yemen in the democratic practices since 1994 parliamentary elections and the late 2003 parliamentary elections as well. The European Union has chosen Yemen as a hosting country for this conference due to its democratic practices in the region. For the first time in the history of the region, The leadership of the country nominated a minister for the human rights within its portfolio in addition to the committees in relation with women rights and civil organizations. The democratic developments have not stopped since unification of the country. It is significant to note that democracy could not be exported from one country to another. It is important for each society and country to develop its own democratic traditions naturally in conformity with its democratic institutional traditions. The execution of the democratic principles require building up democratic ruling institutions based on the rule of law and legislative/executive institutions and under an independent judiciary system. In this regard, it is important to protect the rights, interests, voice of the minorities, women rights, and the groups which do not hold power and liable to attacks from those powers that violate the democratic practices. The arbitration to democracy includes its attachment with the progress of equality in life for all human beings. There is no development without sustainable democracy. Specifically, democracy means existence of free independent press that protect democracy from failure or violations. Free independent press should have a role in spreading information about human rights and facilitating the task of public participation, consolidating the principle of tolerance and else of noble principles that activate democracy. Any mis-use of democracy by the ruling power shall threat democracy in form and concept in addition to poverty, corruption, foreign occupation and any violation or aggression on the rights of others. The conference will avail the opportunity to exchange ideas and opinions, which serve the cause of democracy in the region. To develop and provide more concern to this conference, his excellency the premier Abdulkader Ba Jamal has given his instructions to all the diplomatic missions of the country to exert efforts to finalize the preparations for this conference due to its importance. The peoples of the region will be before an important event in relation with new concepts that require building up stabilized democratic ruling institutions. This conference will open the doors for a new era of specifying the points of agreements and disagreement. The principles of democracy and human rights are the issues which prevail the discussions of the conference participants, aiming at creating an appropriate atmosphere for implementation of the democratic reforms within a mechanism agreed upon by the delegates. Protection of democracy means necessarily standing against all the threats that violate human rights and it is important to reach a mechanism for a trial to the individuals that commit crimes against humanity or accused of genocide crimes. It is necessary for the intelligentsia, politicians, and political parties to have a core role in contributing substantially in this conference.