Armies of Liberation

Jane Novak's blog about Yemen

Does Al Houthi call for re-implementation of Imamate in Yemen and political exclusion of women

Filed under: National Dialog Committee, Saada War, Women's Issues — by Jane Novak at 9:11 am on Saturday, November 10, 2012

Update: Houthis reach deal with JMP on some basic principles including need to restructure military, end media incitement on all sides and to overcome obstacles to southern participation in the dialog. Maybe the speech was pre-negotiation bluster to satisfy the Houthis constituency prior to the agreement with the JMP, maybe not.

Original: IN a speech on al Ghadir Day, Abdelmalik al Houthi appears to call for restoring the Imamate and restricting leadership to Hashimites, descendants of Mohammed. In years prior, Al Houthi’s statements supported the concept of the democratic state. The inability of the Saleh oligarchy to share power, and the subsequent failure of the Yemeni experiment in democracy 1990-2010, led to extremism in the southern position, which currently calls for independence, as well as giving credence to the al Qaeda narrative that democracy is a false system. Whether this was Abdelmalik’s hidden agenda all along or whether he was radicalized by a decade of war and political exclusion, there’s no way to go back in time.

NYR | YemenFox | Professor of sociology at Sana’a University considered the declaration of Houthi group leader to march toward Sana’a and restore the state to Imam Ali Ibn Abi Talib as one of the obstacles that will hinder reaching a political settlement and normalizing the coming political and social conditions in the country.

Dr. Adel al-Sharjabi told “Yemen Fox” that the leader of Houthi group has to clarify to the public his stance toward the modern democratic civil state, and to get rid of violent thinking and armed way to impose his opinions.

In his speech on the occasion of al-Ghadir Day festival, Leader of Houthi Abdul Malik al-Houthi said that their struggle will go on until they restore power from what he called “Satan rulers” and return it back to Imam Ali bin Abi Talim- may Allah be pleased with him, and that their struggle will go on until people recognize that power is his and his descendants after him, and other loyalty is only to the devil and America.

Al-Shargabi said there are also tribal groups and factions in the army that possess weapons, calling on them to move away from violent way and adopt peaceful methods.

Professor of sociology at Sana’a University added that the coming National Dialogue conference represents an opportunity for the Yemeni people to get out of the current situation.

“If all Yemeni parties enter the ND conference with sincere intentions and tendencies to build a modern democratic civil state the conference will be a turning point in the history of Yemen,” he added.

Al-Sharjabi concluded that in case the ND conference fails, the country will be heading towards a darkened future, conflicts, and greater divisions in the situation the country goes through.

Houthis object to women and US ambassador at National Dialog Conference

Yemen Fox: Basha: Houthis object US envoy presence, not foreign tutelage

The Yemeni rights activist Amal al-Basha said that Houthi group should not impose their opinions by force and should not prevent others from expressing their opinions.
The activist expressed her full rejection of excluding woman from any political party under whatever religious denomination, and “if Houthi group announces clearly that it is against participation of woman in politics, we will stand against such position.”
Asked about her vision of woman’s future, especially with Houthis having declared to continue struggle to bring back the rule, Ms. Basha said that if any Yemeni sectarian or political current has an unfavorable position of woman participation in political action, we will be against it and will strive in order to secure these rights for women’s participation in politics.
Spokeswoman for the Technical Committee of national dialogue, praised Houthi representatives in the committee.
“Based on my dealing directly in the committee with representatives of Houthis, they seem not to have fanatical attitude against woman. When I suggested that an opening statement to be delivered in the name of women to the committee, they were the first who supported the proposal.”
She attacked Islah Party, which it said since its establishment has always been against political participation of women and against allocating seats for them in local councils or parliament.
Basha stated that Houthis do not oppose foreign tutelage on dialogue, but “they only objected presence of the US Ambassador in particular,” adding that this issue was discussed with them and they gave up this objection.
Commenting on the national dialogue, she stated that the process’s date has not been set yet and that such decision is to be made by President Hadi.

Update: Below is Abdelmalik al Houthi’s original al Ghadir Day speech regarding Imam Ali and the religious qualifications for leadership in Yemen. The traditional Zaidi view is that leadership should be restricted to virtuous Muslims and preferably Hashimites, ie- a theocracy. However in broader Zadi society that view evolved over the last half century. Abdelmalik spent the last decade refuting the idea that the Houthis wanted to restore the Imamate and bemoaning that the promises of democracy and equal rights were not fulfilled:

أعوذ بالله من الشيطان الرجيم

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

الحمد لله رب العالمين، وأشهد أن لا إله إلا الله الملك الحق المبين، وأشهد أن سيدنا وقائدنا وقدوتنا وحبيب قلوبنا محمداً عبده ورسوله الصادق الأمين أرسله الله إلى الخلق داعياً إلى الحق، يهدي إلى الصراط المستقيم.

اللهم صل وسلم وبارك وترحم وتحنن على خير خلقك وخاتم أنبيائك ورسلك محمد وعلى آله الطاهرين.

أيها الإخوة المؤمنون الأعزاء الشرفاء الأوفياء.. السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته

وأرحب بكم في هذه المناسبة العزيزة والذكرى المجيدة، وأبارك لكم وأهنئكم وأسأل الله أن يكتب أجركم وأن يبارك فيكم وأن يتقبل منكم إنه سميع الدعاء.

أيها الإخوة المؤمنون الأعزاء :

في هذه المناسبة العزيزة التي أتت في ظرف مهم ومرحلة خطرة تعيشها أمتنا الإسلامية وشعبنا اليمني المسلم العزيز، أتت هذه الذكرى ( ذكرى يوم الولاية ) ذكرى لها شأن عظيم تجاه قضيةٍ أساسيةٍ بالنسبة للأمة الإسلامية، قضيةٍ مصيرية، قضية أساسية لدينها ودنياها.

أتت مناسبة يوم الولاية في مرحلة تسعى أمريكا فيها لفرض ولايتها على الأمة، الولاء في الموقف، والولايةَ في الأمر، والتدخل في كل شأن من شئون هذه الأمة، والتحكم بمصائر الشعوب الإسلامية والعربية، الأمر الذي يمثل خطورةً كبيرةً جداً على كل مسلم على دينه، وعلى دنياه، وعلى هويته الإسلامية، الأمر الذي ينسجم بحالٍ من الأحوال مع انتماء الإنسان المسلم لإسلامه، الإنسان المسلم الذي ينتمي إلى الإسلام ديناً وإلى أنبياء الله ورسله وخاتمهم محمد قدوةً وقادةً ومعلمين، وينتمي إلى نهج الله المقدس القرآن الكريم نور الله في عباده، لا ينسجم في بحالٍ من الأحوال أن يقبل أي فرد مسلم صادقٍ في انتمائه ثابتٍ على هويته بأن تحكمه أمريكا أو بأن يكون ولاؤه لها، أو تكون ولايتها عليه، إن الله سبحانه وتعالى قال في محكم كتابه “يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا لَا تَتَّخِذُوا الْيَهُودَ وَالنَّصَارَى أَوْلِيَاءَ بَعْضُهُمْ أَوْلِيَاءُ بَعْضٍ وَمَنْ يَتَوَلَّهُمْ مِنْكُمْ فَإِنَّهُ مِنْهُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الظَّالِمِينَ”.

إننا من خلال إحيائنا لهذه المناسبة عندما نحييها بوعي وبفهم لمدلولها ونجعل منها منطلقاً أساسياً لترسيخ وتثبيت مبدأ الولاية بالمفهوم القرآنية فإننا نتحرك في الموقف الصحيح، عندما نرفض الولاية الأمريكية، الولاية في الأمر، الولاية في الشأن، التدخل في واقعنا وفي مصيرنا في شأن من شئوننا، والولاء لهم في الموقف، والولاء لهم فيما هم عليه من سياسات إجرامية وظالمة وهدامة لا تنسجم بحالٍ من الأحوال مع إسلامنا ولا مع قرآننا ولا مع أخلاقنا ولا مع مبادئنا، ننطلق مع هذا الموقف الذي هو نابعٌ من تمسكنا بكتاب الله سبحانه وتعالى، هو الموقف الطبيعي، الموقف الفطري، الموقف السليم، هم بأنفسهم ما كانوا ليقبلوا لا بولايتنا عليهم ولا بالولاء لنا من داخل شعوبهم.

فإحياؤنا لهذا اليوم هو واحد من تعبيرات رفضنا لولايتهم والولاء لهم وسعيٌ منا لتثبيت المبدأ الحق، الولايةُ لله سبحانه وتعالى، وعندما ننادي بهذا المبدأ القرآني ( ولاية الله ) فهو المبدأ الحق الذي تحتاج إليه الأمة حاجةً ماسة، حتى لا تكون أمةً مفصولة ً عن ربها ، عن نبيها ، عن قرآنها، عن نهجها، فتكون أمةً مغلوبة، لأن مبدأ الولاية هو المبدأ الذي يمكن أن يحفظ لأمتنا المسلمة كيانها وعزتها واستقلالها، إذا سقط هذا المبدأ فإن ورائه سقوط الأمة واختراقها وهيمنة أعداؤها عليها، أي ثقافة أو أي مبدأ أو أي فكر أو أي رؤية سياسية يمكن أن تحصن أمتنا الإسلامية من هيمنة أعدائها عليها من اليهود والنصارى ومن سيطرتهم على ولاية الأمر فيها والهيمنة عليها.

في هذه المناسبة العزيزة نحرص وبشكل كبير على تعميم حالة الوعي لمفهوم الولاية وفق الرؤية القرآنية وإدراكِ مدى أهميتها وما يترتب عليها، ونتحدث عن الموضوع كما قدمه الله سبحانه وتعالى في كتابه الكريم قال الله تعالى “إِنَّمَا وَلِيُّكُمُ اللَّهُ وَرَسُولُهُ وَالَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا الَّذِينَ يُقِيمُونَ الصَّلَاةَ وَيُؤْتُونَ الزَّكَاةَ وَهُمْ رَاكِعُونَ * وَمَنْ يَتَوَلَّ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ وَالَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا فَإِنَّ حِزْبَ اللَّهِ هُمُ الْغَالِبُونَ” هكذا.. إنما وليكم الله. الله، أراد لنا الله كأمةٍ مسلمة أن يكون هو ولينا، ما أعظمه من شرف، وما أسماه من تكريم، وما أسوأ وما أقبح وما ألئم من يبحثون عن البديل، من يبحثون عن بديل عن الله سبحانه وتعالى، وبديل عن ولايته جلَّ وعلا، أليس من الكفر بالنعمة ؟ أليس من اللؤم والخسة والدناءة. أي بديل عن ولاية الله سوى ولاية الشيطان، من يتولى أولياء الشيطان هو يتولى بذلك الشيطان ” أَفَتَتَّخِذُونَهُ وَذُرِّيَّتَهُ أَوْلِيَاءَ مِنْ دُونِي وَهُمْ لَكُمْ عَدُوٌّ بِئْسَ لِلظَّالِمِينَ بَدَلًا “.

وليكم الله يا مؤمنون .. يا أمة محمد .. يا شعبنا اليمني العزيز.. وليكم الله تتولونه، ترتبطون به هذا الإرتباط الوثيق، هذا الإرتباط الذي لا يمكن أن ينفصم والذي يترتب عليه كل خيرٍ وكل عزةٍ وكل فلاح، وكل خير في الدنيا والآخرة، وليكم الله يتولى كل شؤونكم، يتولى هدايتكم، يتولى تأييدكم بالنصر، يتولى رعايتكم، يتولى أمركم في كل شأنكم، فيما يرسمه من منهج، فيما يحدده من أعلام، في كل ما يدير به شأنكم كله، إنما وليكم الله، ولاية الله ولايةً شاملة فيها الرعاية فيها الهداية، ألم يقل الله ربنا سبحانه وتعالى ” اللَّهُ وَلِيُّ الَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا يُخْرِجُهُمْ مِنَ الظُّلُمَاتِ إِلَى النُّورِ” إنها الولاية الإلهية التي تخرج من تمسك بها واعتصم بها وثبت على نهجها من كل ظلمات التظليل ومن كل ظلمات الجهل ومن كل ظلمات الظلم، يمنحه الله النور فيكون في هذه الحياة عزيزاً ومستنيراً بنور الله، ينوِّر الله قلبه وينير له الطريق فيعجز كل الأعداء بكل وسائلهم التظليلية من إظلاله، ومن تجهيله، ومن التلعب به، ومن تظليله من مبدأه أو في رؤيته للواقع، والولاية الإلهية فيها نصر عندما نتولى الله ونكون في إطار الولاية الإلهية نكون في طريق النصر، في طريق العزة، في طريق القوة، الله سبحانه وتعالى ” يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا إِنْ تَنْصُرُوا اللَّهَ يَنْصُرْكُمْ وَيُثَبِّتْ أَقْدَامَكُمْ” ثم يقول سبحانه وتعالى ” وَالَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا فَتَعْسًا لَهُمْ وَأَضَلَّ أَعْمَالَهُمْ * ذَلِكَ بِأَنَّهُمْ كَرِهُوا مَا أَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ فَأَحْبَطَ أَعْمَالَهُمْ *أَفَلَمْ يَسِيرُوا فِي الْأَرْضِ فَيَنْظُرُوا كَيْفَ كَانَ عَاقِبَةُ الَّذِينَ مِنْ قَبْلِهِمْ دَمَّرَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلِلْكَافِرِينَ أَمْثَالُهَا * ذَلِكَ بِأَنَّ اللَّهَ مَوْلَى الَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا وَأَنَّ الْكَافِرِينَ لَا مَوْلَى لَهُمْ ” ألم يقل سبحانه وتعالى في كتابه المجيد ” قَاتِلُوهُمْ حَتَّى لَا تَكُونَ فِتْنَةٌ وَيَكُونَ الدِّينُ كُلُّهُ لِلَّهِ فَإِنِ انْتَهَوْا فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ بِمَا يَعْمَلُونَ بَصِيرٌ * وَإِنْ تَوَلَّوْا فَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّهَ مَوْلَاكُمْ نِعْمَ الْمَوْلَى وَنِعْمَ النَّصِيرُ” سبحانه ما أعظمه، ما أقواه، سبحانه ما أجل كرمه، ما أعلى شأنه ويقول جل شأنه ” وَاعْتَصِمُوا بِاللَّهِ هُوَ مَوْلَاكُمْ فَنِعْمَ الْمَوْلَى وَنِعْمَ النَّصِيرُ” هذه ولاية الله. ولاية الله هي هداية، ونصر، وعزة، رعاية شاملة، إدارة كاملة لكل واقع حياتنا من منطلق رحمته، من منطلق حكمته، من منطلق لطفه، من منطلق قوته وعزته، وولاية الرسول صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم ” إِنَّمَا وَلِيُّكُمُ اللَّهُ وَرَسُولُهُ” الولاية الأخرى. البديل عن الله هو الشيطان، البديل عن الرسول هو من.؟ رموز الطاغوت، رموز الشر، رموز الباطل يضلوهم وطواعيتهم وكبارهم إجراماً وفسقاً من أولياء الشيطان.

يا مؤمنون ” إِنَّمَا وَلِيُّكُمُ اللَّهُ وَرَسُولُهُ” وولاية الرسول صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم هي امتدادٌ لولاية الله سبحانه وتعالى والله قال ” النَّبِيُّ أَوْلَى بِالْمُؤْمِنِينَ مِنْ أَنْفُسِهِمْ ” ولاية الرسول هادياً، قائداً للأمة، زعيماً للأمة، مديراً لشئون الأمة، يعمل على هدايتها، وتزكيتها، وبنائها، وإصلاحها، وتعليمها، وله الحق الطاعة وحق الولاء ” مَنْ يُطِعِ الرَّسُولَ فَقَدْ أَطَاعَ اللَّهَ “، ” كَمَا أَرْسَلْنَا فِيكُمْ رَسُولًا مِنْكُمْ يَتْلُو عَلَيْكُمْ آَيَاتِنَا وَيُزَكِّيكُمْ وَيُعَلِّمُكُمُ الْكِتَابَ وَالْحِكْمَةَ وَيُعَلِّمُكُمْ مَا لَمْ تَكُونُوا تَعْلَمُونَ”، ” إِنَّمَا وَلِيُّكُمُ اللَّهُ وَرَسُولُهُ وَالَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا الَّذِينَ يُقِيمُونَ الصَّلَاةَ وَيُؤْتُونَ الزَّكَاةَ وَهُمْ رَاكِعُونَ ” الذين آمنوا . الإمام علي عليه السلام بمؤهلاته الإيمانية الراقية والذي في مثل هذا اليوم الثامن عشر من شهر ذي الحجة في السنة العاشرة من الهجرة والرسول صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم عائدٌ من حجة الوداع وفي وادي خم بلَّغ ما أمره الله بإبلاغه بهذه الولاية.

الإمام علي عليه السلام ولايته هي امتداد لولاية الرسول قائداً من بعده للأمة قائداً، معلماً، مرشداً، زعيماً يعمل على هداية الأمة، يواصل مشوار الرسول صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم في بناء الأمة، في هدايتها، في إدارة شؤونها، في تطبيق دينها وفقاً لمسئولتها العظيمة ودورها العظيم، الإمام علي عليه السلام أبلغ الرسول أمته في بلاغه الشهير والذي نحرص من خلال إحيائنا لهذه المناسبة أن نحافظ على ذلك البلاغ ليبقى للأمة عبر الأجيال، شهادة للرسول بالبلاغ وإكمالاً للحجة وإتماماً لها على الناس، الرسول خطب في الثامن عشر وقال في خطابه المشهور عندما وصل إلى الموضوع المطلوب (يا أيها الناس إن الله مولاي وأنا مولى المؤمنين أولى بهم من أنفسهم فمن كنت مولاه فهذا علي مولاه اللهم والِ من والاه وعادِ من عاداه وانصر من نصره واخذل من خذله) الإمام علي بمؤهلاته الإيمانية والربانية كان هو الجدير بهذا الموقع، كان لديه الكفاءة اللازمة لمسئولية بهذا الحجم، مسئولية عظيمة أن يخلف النبي صلوات الله عليه وعلى آله، ويتولى من بعده الموقع الأول في الأمة، هادياً ومربياً ومعلماً وزعيماً ومرشداً وبانياً لهذه الأمة.

الإمام علي بمؤهلاته التي كانت معروفة ومشهورة وتحدث عنها النبي صلوات الله عليه وعلى آله في مقامات متعددة، منها في مقام خيبر عندما قال صلى الله عليه وعلى آله (لأعطين الراية غداً رجلاً يحب الله ورسوله ويحبه الله ورسوله، كرار غير فرار يفتح الله على يديه) تجلى في ذلك المقام مستوى أهلية الإمام علي عليه السلام لتلك المسئولية العظيمة، رجلاً في مستوى المسئولية، رجلاً لديه الجدار لبناء هذه الأمة بالإرتقاء بها، بتعليمها، بقيادتها في مواجهة أعدائها مهما كانوا ومهما كانت إمكانياتهم، لديه هذا المستوى العالي من الإيمان، منزلةٌ، عظيمةٌ، ساميةٌ، رفيعةٌ عند الله العظيم (يحب الله ورسوله ويحبه الله ورسوله) هذا الرجل العظيم الذي يحبه الله ورسوله أليس جديراً منا بالمحبة.؟ أليس جديراً منا بأن نتولاه.؟ أليس جديراً بالمقام العظيم في قيادة الأمة وهداية الأمة.

في مقامٍ آخر والرسول يؤكد مكانة علي في الأمة ودورة المستقبلي الكبير من بعده قال صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم (أنت مني بمنزلة هارون من موسى إلا أنه لا نبي بعدي) مقام علي من محمد في أمة محمد مثل مقام هارون من موسى في أمة موسى، كيف يمكن للبعض أن يضع في هذا المقام غير علي وقد وضعه الله في المقام اللائق على لسان نبيه، علي بهذه المنزلة، من هذا الموقع كشخصيةٍ بعد رسول الله صلوات الله عليه وعلى آله ليس هناك في كل الأمة من هو في مستواه ولا في مقامه، عليٌ بمؤهلاته الكبرى في كل المجالات، في مجال العلم ( أنا مدينة العلم وعلي بابها ) .. علي قرين القرآن بل القرآن الناطق المهتدي بالقرآن، المستوعب للقرآن، المتمسك بالقرآن، الهادي بالقرآن، قال عنه المصطفى صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم (علي مع القرآن والقرآن مع علي) علي الذي هو على الحق متمسك بالحق، ثابتً على الحق، عاملاً بالحق، يهدي الأمة إلى الحق ويسير بها في طريق الحق قال عنه الرسول (علي مع الحق والحق مع علي يدور معه حيثما دار) علي بمؤهلاته، بكماله، بموقعه العظيم بعد رسول الله محمد أراد الله له أن يكون هو بكل تلك المؤهلات من يقود الأمة بعد نبيها، وأن تتولاه الأمة، لأنه النموذج الراقي لمن يلي أمر الأمة وعندما قال الرسول (فهذا عليٌ مولاه) هذا تعني .. هذا هو اللائق بهذه الأمة التي يراد لها أن تكون أمةً عظيم، يناط بها مهام عظيمة وجسيمة، هذا هو اللائق بهذا الدين العظيم، بأمة عظيمة برسول عظيم، وبمهام عظيمة، رجل لديه المؤهلات كلها في نفسه وتجاه الأمة، حكمة ورحمة، تحدث القرآن ونطق برحمة علي، بإخلاص علي، برأفة علي، الإمام علي عليه السلام الذي تصدق بخاتمه وهو راكع عندما دخل سائل إلى مسجد النبي وطلب من الناس أن يتساعدوا، لم يتعاون أحدٌ معه ممن كان حاضراً في المسجد، والإمام علي كان يصلي في أعظم لحظاته، اللحظات التي يعيش فيها خشوعه وإقباله إلى الله، وفي أهم لحظة وأعز لحظة وأكثرها انشغالاً بقلبه، إلتفاتاً إلى الله وخشوعاً إلى الله وهو في تلك اللحظة الأهم إنتبه لذلك الفقير الذي لم يتعاون معه أحد، وأشار إليه بخاتمه ليأخذه، نفسيةٌ ممتلئةٌ بالرحمة للناس والرأفة بهم والحرص عليهم، علي عليه السلام الذي آثر على نفسه وهو في أمس الحاجة إلى الطعام بعد إتمام صيامه ولا يوجد في البيت غير ذلك الطعام الجاهز للعشاء “وَيُطْعِمُونَ الطَّعَامَ عَلَى حُبِّهِ مِسْكِينًا وَيَتِيمًا وَأَسِيرًا * إِنَّمَا نُطْعِمُكُمْ لِوَجْهِ اللَّهِ لَا نُرِيدُ مِنْكُمْ جَزَاءً وَلَا شُكُورًا” هذا الرجل العظيم الرباني قرين القرآن تلميذ محمد، من هو بمنزلة هارون من موسى أراد الله له أن يكون هو ولياً لهذه الأمة المسلمة بعد نبيها، وفعلاً عندما آل إليه أمر الخلافة بعد فترة زمنية معروفة ثبت أنه عليه السلام بمستوى المسئولية، كان في مستوى المسئولية يتعامل من موقعه في الخلافة، يشعر بالمسئولية لا طامعاً ولا يعتبرها مغنماً، لا يعتبر السلطة ولا ولاية الأمر مغنماً ومكسباً للتسلط وجمع الثروة.. كلا. يعتبرها مسئولية لإحقاق الحق في إقامة العدل، لبناء الأمة، لهداية الأمة، لتزكية أنفسها، لبنائها بناءً عظيماً. قال عبد الله ابن العباس : دخلت على أمير المؤمنين عليه السلام بذي قار وهو يخصف نعله، فقال لي : (ما قيمة هذا النعل ) فقلت : لا قيمة لها. فقال عليه السلام : ( والله لهي أحب إلي من إمرتكم إلا أن أقيم حقاً أو أدفع باطلاً) لا قيمة للسلطة إلا إذا كانت وسيلة لخدمة الأمة، إذا كانت للرحمة بالناس، إذا كانت لهداية الناس بعيداً كل البعد عن الظلم، متورعاً يخشى الله، يخشى الله في عباده ورحيماً بالناس وهو القائل (والله لأن أبيت على حسك السعدان مسعداً وأجرَّ في الأغلال مصفداً، أحب إلي من أن ألقى الله ورسوله يوم القيامة ظالماً لبعض العباد أو غاصباً لشيء من الحطام، وكيف أظلم أحداً لنفسٍ يسرع إلى البِلا قفورها ويطول بالثرا حلولها) وهو القائل (والله لو أُعطيت الأقاليم السبعة بما تحت أفلاكها على أن أعصي الله في نملة أسلبها جلب شعيرة ما فعلت . ما فعلت) عدل حقيقي، الأمة التي ترزح تحت الظلم، الأمة الإسلامية التي تعاني من ظلم ما حل بمثلها على أمةٍ من الأمم، ما حل بمثل ذلك الظلم الذي تعاني منه لأنها ابتعدت عن ذوي العدل، عن ذوي الرحمة حتى صار وضعها على ما هو عليه، وعندما كان يقاتل الناكثين والقاسطين والمارقين لم يقاتل لتثبيت سلطان، ولا طمعاً في جاه، ولا طمعاً في مال، وهو القائل ( اللهم إنك تعلم أنه لم يكن الذي كان منا منافسةً في سلطان، ولا التماس شيء من فُضول الحطام، ولكن لنرد المعالم من دينك، ونظهر الإصلاح في بلادك، فيأمن المظلومون من عبادك، وتقام المعطلة من حدودك) وحينما كان ينادي في الأمة يدعوها لنصره، لتثبيت العدل، لإقامة الحق، للتأسيس لمستقبلٍ قائم على العدل والحق والخير لهذه الأمة فيتخاذل عنه الكثير من الناس ولا يستجيبون صم بكم عميٌ، كان عليه السلام يدعو الله فيقول ( اللهم أيما عبد من عبادك سمع مقالتنا العادلة غير الجائرة، والمصلحة في الدين والدنيا غير المفسدة، فأبى بعد سماعه لها إلا النكوص عن نصرتك والإبطاء عن نصر دينك فإنا نستشهدك عليه بأكبر الشاهدين شهادة، ونستشهد عليه جميع من أسكنته أرضك وسماواتك، ثم أنت بعد المغني عن نصره والآخذ له بذنبه) وهكذا كان عليه السلام في مستوى المسئولية واعياً بها، لا طامعاً بحكم ولا معتبراً لها مغنماً، من هنا نفهم أهمية ولاية الأمر في الإسلام وأنها يجب أن تكون امتداداً لولاية الله خاضعةً للمعايير والمؤهلات التي حددها الله، من يلي أمر الأمة، هذه أمة مسلمة نحن مسلمون من يلي أمرنا يجب أن تكون عنده رحمة، وحكمة، يجب أن يكون عارفاً كيف يربي الأمة، كيف يبني الأمة، كيف يطور حياتها، كيف ينمي اقتصادها، كيف يزكي أنفسها، كيف يواجه أعدائها، وعلى أساس دينها، وعلى أساس منهج ربها، لأن لولاية الأمر صلة وثيقة بإقامة الدين ولهذا قال الله لنبيه محمد “وَإِنْ لَمْ تَفْعَلْ فَمَا بَلَّغْتَ رِسَالَتَهُ”.

عندما أيها الإخوة الأعزاء نتأمل في واقع أمتنا اليوم، في واقع شعوبنا العربية المظلومة المقهورة المعانية عناءً لا نظير له في الأرض، نرى النتائج السلبية لعدم فهم ولاية الأمر وأهميتها وصلتها بواقع حياة الناس، وبدينهم ودنياهم، ولاية الأمر لها صلة بكل شؤون حياتنا، بكل شؤون حياتنا، إقتصادنا، عزتنا، أمننا، سلامنا، هدايتنا، ديننا، دنيانا، هكذا هي ولاية الأمر هي الأساس لبناء الأمة، هي أساس عزها، هي أساس بنائها، أساس قوتها، كل ذلك في صلاح ولاية أمرها، فكيف هو الوضع القائم.؟ ليس هناك أي معايير ولا مؤهلات لا قرآنية ولا إنسانية يعتمد عليها الحكام أو تعتمد عليها الحكومات التي تحكم على الشعوب العربية، لا أي مؤهلات ولا أي معايير ذات صلة بطبيعة المسئولية في ولاية الأمر، في أمتنا الإسلامية، في شعوبنا العربية يحكمنا حكومات جائرة، ظالمة، باغية، تذل الأمة، تقهر الأمة، وتجعل من الأمة أمةً مستعبدةً لأعدائها، خاضعةً مقهورةً مستذلةً لليهود والنصارى، ولاة أمر ليس لهم أي مؤهل، لا إنساني ولا قرآني ولا فطري ولا أي شيء، ولاة أمر وحكومات ظالمون مجرمون، طغاة، مستبدون، لم يفعلوا للأمة شيئاً، لا بنو اقتصاد الأمة، أمتنا الإسلامية في اقتصادها تعيش أسوأ من أي وضع لأي أمةٍ أخرى على الأرض، ولا بنو عزة الأمة، بل أذلوا الأمة، ولم يواجهوا أعدائها، ولم يدافعوا عنها، ولم يوفروا لها الحماية، وضعٌ مؤسف اعتمدت المسألة من دون أي مؤهلات، الحكومة سواءً في اليمن أو في أي شعب عربي لا تحتاج إلى أي مؤهلات لا رحمة، ولا حكمة، ولا دين، ولا ضمير، ولا شرف، يعتمدون على التغلب، وعلى التسلط، وعلى الانتهازية، وعلى فرض الأمر الواقع ليسطروا على الشعوب ولينفذوا في هذه الأمة أجندة الخارج المعادي.

عندما نتأمل المستوى والواقع الذي وصلت إليه أمتنا المسلمة فإنه كارثة كبيرى، كارثة كبرى أصبح من يقرر ولاية أمرها هي أمريكا، بمعايير أمريكا، بالمؤهلات التي تراها أمريكا والتي تكفل وتضمن قيام حكومات انتهازية على مستوى فضيع من الإنحطاط والظلم, والإنتهازية والإجرام، قادرة على تنفيذ مخططات الأعداء، فأصبحت أمريكا هي من تفرض حكومات، وهي من تقرر ولاة وتعين رؤساء، وتصادق حتى على الموظفين والمسئولين، ووفق معاييرها التي تضمن قيام حكومات متسلطة تنفذ أجندتها بعيداً عن كل المعايير الإلهية.

وهكذا وبأي حق، بأي حق تمتلك أمريكا التحكم في ولاية أمر الأمة الإسلامية وبأي معايير وبأي مؤهلات، من يستطيع أن يقول أن أمريكا تحرص وتسعى إلى أن نكون أمةً عزيزة، أمةً قوية، أمةً مستقرة، أمةً في مستوى مسئوليتها، وهل سيحرص الأمريكي حينما يعين حكومة أو يفرض سلطةً معينة على بناء قيمنا.؟ على بناء ديننا.؟ على بناء أخلاقنا.؟ هل لدى الأمريكي قواسم مشتركة معنا.؟ حتى يفوض هو في أن يقرر ولاية الأمر على حسب ما يشاء ويريد.؟

الأنظمة القائمة تتعامل مع ولاية الأمر على أنها مغنم مادي كبير وموقع للتسلط وللاقتدار للممارسة العدوان بحق الآخرين، يعني الحكومات القائمة يعتبرون السلطة ليس لخدمة الأمة وليست السلطة عندهم للدفاع عن الأمة، وليس السلطة عندهم من أجل بناء الأمة ولا من أجل بناء اقتصادها، ولا من أجل أمنها، ولا من أجل استقرارها، السلطة عندهم وسيلة للحصول على ثروات الشعوب من خلال وزارة المالية من خلال النفط، من خلال مصالح الشعوب التي ينهبونها، وسيلة للسيطرة والتغلب وممارسة التسلط والقهر والعدوان من خلال استغلال الجيوش ومن خلال استغلال المؤسسات العسكرية، السلطة عندهم إرضاء للنزعة التسلطية وهواية المناصب وعشق المناصب.

هكذا نرى ما يسمى بحكومة الوفاق، أثبتت ذلك وكشفت حقيقة بعض القوى المتلبسة بالدين الذي ما إن وصل إلى السلطة حتى تسابق موظفوه ومسئولوه للسطو على المال العام وعلى الوظيفة العامة وجعلوها نهباً وجعلوها مغنماً وليست مسئولية ولا قداسة لها ولا أهمية لديها سوى هذا.

لذلك أيها الإخوة الأعزاء نرى ضرورة أن تستمر الثورات الشعبية لأنها بداية تحرك في الإتجاه الصحيح، نحن شعوب مسلمة من حقنا أن نطالب بالعدل، وأن نُصرّ على إقامة حكومات عادلة، حكومات تقيم العدل فينا، حكومات تدافع عن الشعوب، لا تفتح بلدان شعوبها للعدوان والمعتدين، حكومات ترى عزة الأمة فوق كل اعتبار، لا تسعى للتسلط ولا للإذلال ولا للقهر. المعايير الإلهية هي معايير لمصلحة الناس، الله يريد للناس العدل فينبغي أن يكونوا هم من يتفاعلون مع ذلك ويحرصون على إقامته.

يجب أن تستمر الثورات ولو أن هناك جهود كبيرة لإفشال الثورات العربية واحتوائها وإعادة الشعوب إلى أسوأ من الوضع الماضي، هكذا يحرص الأمريكيون على إعادة الشعوب إلى أسوأ من الوضع السابق، يجب أن تستمر الشعوب في ثوراتها حتى يتحقق في واقعها ولاية أمر بشكل سليم وفق المعايير الإلهية، قائمة على العدل والرحمة والمؤهلات القرآنية، بدلاً من المؤهلات الأمريكية وما يحقق للأمة أن تتحول إلى أمة غالبة، قوية، عزيزة، متماسكة هو مبدأ الولاية ” وَمَنْ يَتَوَلَّ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ وَالَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا فَإِنَّ حِزْبَ اللَّهِ هُمُ الْغَالِبُونَ “.

يتحقق لنا يا أمة الإسلام، يتحقق لنا يا شعبنا اليمني العزيز، يتحقق لنا أيها المؤمنون كل مكاسب الولاية الإلهي إذا نحن تحركنا على هذا الأساس، إذا نحن تولينا الله، تولينا رسوله، تولينا الإمام علي، تولينا الذين آمنوا، التولي الصحيح، التولي لله الذي هو قائمٌ على أساس إيمان، وثقة، ومسئولية، وجهاد، وعمل، وطاعة، وتصديق، وثقةً قويةً بالله سبحانه وتعالى.

التولي للرسول إقتداءً به، تمسكاً به، سيراً على هديه، تمسكاً بنهجه، تولياً للإمام علي عليه السلام كرمزٍ للأمة بعد نبيها، وولياً لها من عند الله بعد نبيها صلوات الله عليه وعلى آله، هذا هو ما يفيد الأمة ويضمن لها من الله النصر والتأييد والعزة وفق هذا الوعد الإلهي الذي لا يتخلف أبداً لأن الله لا يخلف وعده، ولا يبدل قوله وهو جل شانه هكذا قال ” وَمَنْ يَتَوَلَّ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ وَالَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا فَإِنَّ حِزْبَ اللَّهِ هُمُ الْغَالِبُونَ”.

إن أمتنا المسلمة اليوم في ظل الهجمة الأمريكية والإسرائيلية عليها وهجمة دول الكفر عليها بين خيارين، وبين مسارين، وبين اتجاهين إما طريق تكون فيها غالبة، قاهرة، قوية، عزيزة، مؤيدةً من الله، منصورةً من الله، مسددةً من الله، وإما طريق تكون فيها الأمة مقهورة، مغلوبة، مستغلة، مهانة، الطريقان واضحان إما طريق الولاء لأعداء الإسلام الذي نتيجته الخسران وإما طريق التولي الحقيقي لله سبحانه وتعالى.

ونحن في هذا اليوم وفي هذه المناسبة نعلن ونؤكد مسارنا الذي كنا ولا زلنا عليه كمؤمنين مسار التولي لله، والتولي لرسوله، والتولي للإمام علي، والتولي لآل محمد صلوات الله عليه وعلى آله، والسير في نهج القرآن والإعتصام بالله، والتوكل عليه، والتمسك بنهجه، ولهذا رددوا معي دعاء التولي ( اللهم إنا نتولاك، ونتولى رسولك، ونتولى الإمام علي، اللهم تقبل منا يا أرحم الراحمين، اللهم إنا نبرأ إليك من أعداءك، ونبرأ إليك من أعداء رسولك، ونبرأ إليك من أعداء الإمام علي، اللهم ثبتنا بالقول الثابت، في الحياة الدنيا وفي الآخرة، واهدنا بكتابك الكريم، انصرنا بنصرك، وأيدنا بتأييدك، واجعلنا معتصمين بك، متوكلين عليك، إنك سميع الدعاء).

أشكر لكم هذا الحضور فأنتم إن شاء الله من أولياء الله وأولياء رسوله وأولياء الإمام علي عليه السلام

والسلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته


12 year old Yemeni girl drugged, raped by 50 year old husband

Filed under: Children, Civil Rights, Hodeidah, Women's Issues — by Jane Novak at 10:30 am on Sunday, August 7, 2011

Seeks a savior

Hodiedah: In an interview with Marib Press, 12 year old “Hanadi” said she was forced into marriage by her impoverished father to pay a debt. Her husband tried repeatedly to rape her, her tears were no deterrent, and he threatened to beat her. After three days, he drugged by her with sleeping pills in her juice. She woke up bruised, confused and bleeding. The child ran away and is currently in the Hodiedah CID, appealing to Human Rights Organizations to save her. A medical exam proves the child was violently raped. The father and husband were interviewed by police. The father asserts the husband promised not to engage in intercourse until she was older. The husband says he didn’t touch her.

“12 year old Hanadi launched a distress call to the Ministry of Human Rights and human rights organizations demanding urgent intervention and to direct the security agencies to arrest the looter of her childhood and to investigate him and refer him to the judiciary.”

The issue is where is she going to go live. And its questionable if either the father or husband will be charged with a crime. There is no law in Yemen designating a minimum marriage age. Without publicity, she might have to go back. If she does not return to her husband, the father’s debt is still in force because she was basically sold like a slave. Children are frequently used as chattel. At least half of all marriages in Yemen occur before 16. Unsurprisingly, Yemen’s youthful female revolutionaries are quite determined to overthrow the system.

Saleh’s thugs burn woman alive in Sanaa? Update probably not

Filed under: Protest Fatalities, Security Forces, War Crimes, Women's Issues — by Jane Novak at 4:30 pm on Sunday, May 22, 2011

I’m hoping this is another false story planted to discredit the opposition media. Update: I am increasingly skeptical as no one saw it and after 24 hours the family hasn’t come forward. There was another fake two months ago where a female student leader was supposedly arrested in Hodiedah. HOOD announced and retracted a notice about a boy raped to death in Sanaa. False stories planted by the regime are designed to undermine the opposition media. The photo accompanying the story is of a Saudi women and a different news story.

SOS: Human Rights Activists seek the International Community’s support

A statement issued by Sister Arab Forum

Today, a female protest activists in Yemen , Ghania Alaraaj was burned to death by the pro-regime tugs in Sana’a, who were spread in the southern part of the capital Sana’a , and cut roads in the morning in Sana’a.

We call upon the International Community to help activist from such brutal acts by Saleh regime.

Yemen: 2nd highest rate of child stunting globally

Filed under: Aden, Children, Donors, UN, Ibb, Rayma, Sana'a, USA, Women's Issues, al-Bayda, poverty/ hunger — by Jane Novak at 8:17 pm on Tuesday, February 22, 2011

These figures are up slightly since 2005. The good news is that one million poor Yemeni women and children who never had access to health services in their lives will now receive some support from the international community. Less than half of Yemenis have access to medical services. Clean water, sanitation, electricity, and other basic services are similarly lacking. This World Bank press release contains the appalling medical current stats. Update: Neonatal tetanus kills 30,000 new born Yemeni babies a year. Pampers SA is chipping in for some vaccines, but over three million doses are needed. (Read on …)

Saudi al Qaeda wives

Filed under: Religious, Saudi Arabia, Women's Issues, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 11:38 am on Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Arab news: Saudi women played a marginal role in deviant group’s activities

Wafa Al-Shehri is another notable Saudi female terrorist. She is wife of Saeed Al-Shehri, the second in command of Al-Qaeda in Yemen. Her association with Al-Qaeda started with her marriage to Abdul Rahman Al-Ghamdi, who was killed in a clash with police in Taif in 2004. Later, Wafa married former Guantanamo detainee Al-Shehri after fleeing to Yemen.
(Read on …)

Judge in Ibb, Yemen jails a raped pregnant child

Filed under: Children, Civil Rights, Ibb, Medical, Religious, Women's Issues, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 7:17 am on Monday, November 15, 2010

A 14 year old girl was raped by her father and became pregnant. For God’s sakes, why would the judge put her in jail and not a hospital?

al Tagheer: Lawyer Adnan Al Jabri, who pleads in the case of a child raped in the governorate of Ibb, expressed his displeasure at what was happened to Sumaia M. A. A. (14 years) who was raped by her father and then sent to prison, when he tried to release her through a number of memoranda from many authorities, including human rights, but all the attempts have failed.

The Yemeni police has arrested on October 5, 2010 a person accused of raping his daughter, who made pregnant.

According to exclusive sources of “Al Thagheer” the Security Administration in Khadeer Al Odein in Ibb governorate accused “M. A. A. 37-year-old,” of raping his daughter (Sumaia) 14-year, last month.

Lawyer Al Jabri, said in a statement to “Al Thagheer” that the head of Mudaikhara Court, Judge Ali Issa, is insisting on imprisoning her without justification.

Al Jabri added: she was investigated just as a defendant and was taken into the custody of the central prison in Ibb, rather than taking care of her in any social department, and her only fault that she was raped by her father and made her pregnant, which caused her psychological health to decline, as well as the continuous delay of the DNA examination, pointing out that the lack of such tests in such issues, which happen to lives of female children, that the scarcity of centers or private hospitals is the biggest obstacle in the proceedings of the case, stressing that such an examination identifies the perpetrator of the crime and according to it the litigation continues. (Read on …)

Yemen: “Fanatics to have intercourse with children in the Parliament”

Filed under: Children, Parliament, Religious, Women's Issues — by Jane Novak at 3:24 pm on Monday, November 1, 2010

Yes I know that’s a poor google translation of an al Wasat headline about the dispute over the marriage age in Yemen, but the fanatics are claiming their right to have intercourse with children all over Yemen, they might as well do it in the Parliament.

The Yemeni Parliament is overwhelmingly illiterate, and comprised of powerful sheiks and businessmen. Half of Yemeni female children are married before 15, and many before 12 and mortality rates are very high. Most drop out of school if they ever attend. With 70% in rural areas, most spend their lives doing manual labor. Here’s an English language write up of last week’s debate, which came to blows with sticks and fists, but it is not only Islah’s MP’s that support child marriage, some in the GPC do as well. The drive is to set the marriage age at 18, but even 15 would be a vast improvement.

YemenOnline.oct 28,2010- Debate was intensified between the MPs of ruling party GPC and opposition Islamist Islah party in the House of Representatives last Wednesday because of determining of marriage age of minors in Yemen . MPs of GPC demanded to vote on the new law that Which sets the marriage age from 18 years old while the Islamists MPs rejected that on the grounds of its contrary to Islamic dispensation. Sultan Al-Barakni,head of MPs group of GPC stressed that his party has the majority and they approved to determine minors marriage age.

We decided to vote in favor of law’ Al-Barakini declared. Two of Islamists MPs attempted to attack Al-Barakini using their hands and sticks . So, the Spokesman of the parliament decided to postpone the vote on the law until another session

Police pressure family of 13 year old to allow marriage to 50 year old

Filed under: Children, Civil Rights, Taiz, Women's Issues, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 9:14 am on Thursday, October 28, 2010

Seyaj rejects the pressure of a police officer to marry a child

Seyaj organization for childhood protection has directed a letter to the Interior Minister and Taiz’s governor demanded them to guide the Security’s manager in Maqbanah district to respect the orders of judgeship as enforceable to implement and as the responsibility of the police. (Read on …)

Saudi Prince Funds Orphan Marriages

Filed under: Children, Sana'a, Saudi Arabia, Women's Issues, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 9:32 am on Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Its just a happy story. The inability to procure funds for a dowry is one of the many social stressors young Yemenis face.

Saudi crown prince funds 3,200 marriages
October 22, 2010

Saudi Arabia’s crown prince has funded the marriage of 3,200 Yemeni orphans, described by local officials as the largest mass wedding in the region, Saudi newspapers reported on Friday.

The couples tied the knot after getting the nod from Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, who is also Saudi Arabia’s deputy premier and defence minister.

The wedding, which was staged in Sanaa on Thursday is “a unique and unprecedented marriage even in the Middle East,” said Hameed Zaid, head of the Yemeni Orphans Charity Establishment, which organised the wedding.

Tetanus Vaccinations for Yemeni women

Filed under: Children, Medical, Women's Issues, Yemen, poverty/ hunger — by Jane Novak at 10:12 am on Sunday, October 10, 2010

Thank God. What happens when a baby gets tetanus, usually through infection of the umbilical cord after birth, is that it withers and dies, slowly and painfully. As I noted in my recent article, one third of under five deaths in Yemen are from vaccine preventable illnesses. (And another significant portion can be traced to dirty water.) The maternal mortality rates may be understated in the following article. Its difficult to say anything about Yemen with clarity, but some estimates go as high as 340 deaths per 10,000 births. With two vaccine doses, the mother is able to provide some immunity for her newborn. Public awareness of the importance of keeping the umbilical cord clean is another issue. The medical workers still can’t get into Sa’ada though.

Up 1.7 mln women to be immunized against tetanus in Yemen
[09/أكتوبر/2010] SABA

SANA’A, Oct. 09 (Saba)– The Ministry of Public Health and Population in collaboration with UNICEF will launch on Saturday a weeklong Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus Elimination (MNTE) Campaign from 9-14 of October 2010. In a press release, UNICEF said that the campaign will target 1.7 million women of child-bearing age (15-49) in 202 districts in 14 Yemeni provinces. (Read on …)

Vote on marriage age in Yemen delayed again

Filed under: Children, Civil Rights, Parliament, Religious, Women's Issues — by Jane Novak at 10:34 am on Monday, October 4, 2010

Hardliners maintain their opposition. Yemeni girls are the voiceless of the voiceless.

Other news from Parliament includes Saleh orders the dropping the election amendment after the JMP withdraws, and Chairman of the Central Organisation for Control and Auditing (COCA) Dr Abdullah al-Sanafi presented a statement on revising accounts of the state for the last year. I’d love to see those figures.

z(CNN) — Yemen’s parliament has delayed a vote on a child-marriage law that would have raised the minimum legal age for marriage to 17. (Read on …)

Dowry for Yemeni-American women up to $75K due to high demand

Filed under: USA, Women's Issues — by Jane Novak at 6:12 pm on Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Dowries for women with American citizenship range now from $30K to $75K. The reason being that the newlywed husband can gain a visa to emigrate to the US. It is considered fraud and illegal in the US for an American citizen to marry someone just to enable their spouse to get a green card. The rest of the article deals with the hardship the women endure, while their fathers profit well. I checked to see if the article means riyals, but no, in Yemen they are saying its dollars. Many Yemeni-Americans come from Ibb.

al Masdar The marriage of nationality” (Citizen) is spreading in the province of the “father” – which has the largest Yemeni community in America – and I mean to marry a Yemeni who have the U.S. citizenship, the fact of carrying a U.S. citizen can give her husband, “Visa” to immigrate to America.
ولقلة الفتيات الحاصلات على الجنسية الأميركية، وزيادة الطلب عليهن، ارتفعت المهور بشكلٍ ملفت، حتى أصبحت المرأة -بمعنى أو بآخر- سلعةً تجارية خاضعة لقوانين البيع والشراء، وعلى الطريقة الأميركية؛ السوق المفتوح. Girls and a few crops to U.S. citizenship, and increased demand for them, the higher the dowry dramatically, to become women – in the sense or another – a commodity subject to the laws of buying and selling, and the American way; the open market. إذ وصل المهر في بعض حالاته إلى 75 ألف دولار أميركي، بيدَ أنه في أدنى مستوياته لا يقلّ عن ثلاثين ألف دولار أميركي، وأصبحت المرأة تنكح لجوازها الأميركي، دون النظر إلى جمالها أو حسبها أو دينها، ودون الرجوع إليها. Dowry, as it reached in some cases is 75 thousand U.S. dollars, but it at the lowest levels of not less than thirty thousand U.S. dollars, and women are married to American permissible, without regard to her beauty, lineage, religion, and without reference.

If you have to tie her to the bed, or drug her, then it is rape

Filed under: Children, Civil Rights, Hajjah, Religious, Women's Issues — by Jane Novak at 2:40 pm on Sunday, September 5, 2010

A ten year old has no capacity to consent.

al Jazeera: The International Centre for Research on Women (ICRW) found that just under half of all girls in Yemen are married before they are 18 – classified as underage by the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which Yemen is a signatory.

With no legal minimum age for marriage, a study by Sanaa University found that in some of Yemen’s regions half of all girls are married before the age of 15.

“The greatest problem facing Yemeni women today is child marriages,” said Wafa Ali of the Yemeni Women’s Union. “These early marriages rob the girl of the right to a normal childhood and education. The girls are forced to have children before their bodies are fully grown.”

Many girls suffer repeated miscarriages or end up with complications brought on by the trauma of forced sex, said Dr Arwa Elrabee, a leading gynaecologist.

In April a local women’s rights group reported that 12-year-old bride Elham Shuee had died three days after marrying a man in his 20s. The girl suffered a rupture of the womb caused by sex, said Majed al-Mathhaji, a spokesman for the Sisters Arab Forum.

Last September, another 12-year-old, Fawziya Abdullah Youssef, bled to death during three days of child birth – her body, doctors said afterwards, was simply too small to cope. (Read on …)

Yemen: Trafficking in Persons Report 2010

Filed under: Children, Crime, Donors, UN, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Women's Issues, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 10:53 pm on Thursday, June 24, 2010

Somebody is making big money from this. Some of these kids are very young four and five years old.

Trafficking in Persons Report 2010
YEMEN (Tier 2 Watch List)

Yemen is a country of origin and, to a much lesser extent, a transit and destination country for women and children subjected to trafficking in persons, specifically forced labor and forced prostitution. Yemeni children, mostly boys, migrate across the northern border with Saudi Arabia, to the Yemeni cities of Aden and Sana’a, or – to a lesser extent – to Oman, and are forced to work primarily as beggars, but also for domestic servitude or forced labor in small shops. Some of these children are subjected to commercial sexual exploitation in transit or once they arrive in Saudi Arabia by traffickers, border patrols, other security officials, and their employers. The government and local NGOs estimate that there are hundreds of thousands of children in forced labor in Yemen. (Read on …)

The Marriage of the Small Girls by Ms. Tawakkol Abdul Salam Karman

Filed under: Children, Civil Rights, Religious, Women's Issues — by Jane Novak at 7:36 pm on Friday, April 23, 2010

Quite a logical manifesto by one of Yemen’s leading female activists

Marriage of the Small Girls, and the Absence of Religious Renewal and Reform

By / Tawakkol Abdul Salam Karman*

In our jurisprudence heritage there is a wide place for harmony and compatibility with the claims of banning the marriage of small girls and determining the age of eighteen as a minimum for marriage for girls, and this is exactly what is deemed by the Maliki school.. It is exactly what was transformed by Ibn Abbas, whom he said 23 years old, and 25 said by others, and who knows maybe there is space for what is higher.

In light of the broad claims by engaging the need to complete the process of religious reform and renewal, it is painful that we find that the horizon is narrower than the eye of a needle; since it was supposed to accomplish many of jurisprudence that achieve urgent requirements of the times .. and provide evidence that Islam is valid for all times and places. They are glued deep in the heritage and are looking for fatwas that are closer to the shackles and handcuffs which ,in the best situations, are no longer valid since hundreds of years.

The following day to the protest of Aleeman University in front of the Yemeni parliament opposed to enact a law forbids marriage of small girls, it was quoted by the news that ((a handicapped girl had been raped by several persons)), unless they will not hear in the future that there is a similar demonstration will emerge to claim the application of the punishments of God in the perpetrators, so I will claim from now, that the law of God has nothing to do with all this drivel, and what is required is a show of force and political presence, which is closer to the bad exploitation of religion for instantaneous political purposes.

* Anomaly and the psychological deviation (Read on …)

Marital Rape a Violation of Islamic Law: Yemeni Scholar

Filed under: Children, Civil Rights, Religious, Women's Issues — by Jane Novak at 10:04 am on Saturday, April 17, 2010

Update: the opposing view

LAT Sheik Mohammed Hamzi, an official of the Islamist Yemeni opposition party Islaah and the imam of the Al-Rahman mosque in the Yemeni capital of Sana, is one of those who staunchly opposes a legal ban on child marriage… “I am against the child marriage law because it restrains the freedom of others. When a certain age [for marriage] is set, it violates the rights of others. For example, imagine a young man of 13 or 14 years of age who wants to have sex. … This is a violation of his rights,” Sheik Hamzi told The Times in an interview at his Sana home last week.

Wow, how warped is that thinking? Boys have a right to have sex whenever they have the urge, but girls do not have the right not to be raped. On to the original post, an article published by the Yemen Times:

There is no law in Yemeni legislation that defines a minimum age for marriage. However, there are Islamic legislations that prevent men from forcing their wives into intercourse. Renowned religious scholar Mohammed Hassan said that the Islamic Jurisprudence prohibits forced intercourse between the husband and wife.

“If a woman is forced to bed by her husband, she should know that he is committing a sin and should be punished according the jurisprudence. She should not think that Islam discriminates against women, it is the sole act of this man,” he said.

He emphasized that, in Islam, marriage is a relationship based on kindness and empathy as read in the Roman’s Chapter in the Quran verse 21: “And among His signs is that He created spouses for you from yourselves for you to gain rest from them, and kept love and mercy between yourselves; indeed in this are signs for the people who ponder.”

“The essence of the marital relationship is passion and the husband should make his wife feel that he wants more than just her body for early pleasure but also her companionship and emotions, and so should the wife. Aggressiveness and violence in the bedroom is not acceptable in Islam,” he added.

The Prophet Mohammed (MPBH) had said: “Do not fall onto your wife like an animal, and have a messenger between the two of you.” He was asked: “What is this messenger?” He replied: “The kiss and the conversation.”

Zindani Fatwas Child Health Advocates

Filed under: Children, Civil Rights, Medical, Women's Issues, Yemen, state jihaddists — by Jane Novak at 9:45 am on Thursday, April 8, 2010

This is from the guy who said women cant talk and remember at the same time. At least I think thats what he said because I can’t remember now that I’m talking. Sheik Zindani has a new statement that nine is a fine age to marry and any one who supports a ban on child rape is an apostate. Its not a small thing in Yemen to be takfired, and it comes with a level of risk. First though, the news that a 13 year old child died from bleeding four days into her marriage. The tragedy reminds me of the 12 year old who died in childbirth after four days of painful labor.

WaPo Some of Yemen’s most influential Islamic leaders, including one the U.S. says mentored Osama bin Laden, have declared supporters of a ban on child brides to be apostates.

The religious decree, issued Sunday, deeply imperils efforts to salvage legislation that would make it illegal for those under the age of 17 to marry.

The practice is widespread in Yemen and has been particularly hard to discourage in part because of the country’s gripping poverty – bride-prices in the hundreds of dollars are especially difficult for poor families to pass up. (Read on …)

Video: Akhdam Women Endure High Level of Discrimination and Abuse

Filed under: Civil Rights, Demographics, Women's Issues, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 12:36 pm on Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Yemeni film maker chronicles Akhdam women’s struggle for life and dignity in Yemen at HUB, click here for vid.

“Breaking the Silence” chronicles the lives and injustices against the Akhdam women in Yemen. The ‘Akhdam’ , singular Khadem, meaning “servant” in Arabic, are a social group in Yemen, distinct from the majority by their darker skin and African descent. Although they are Arabic-speaking and practicing Muslims, they are regarded as non-Arabs and designated as a low caste group, frequently discriminated against and confined to unskilled and menial labor. In a society already riddled with patriarchy and poverty, the distain and discrimination against the Akhdam renders Akhdam women easy targets of violence and abuse. Akhdam women are subject to hate-based attacks and sexual assaults without any type of legal or social recourse.

This video, produced by Sisters Arab Forum for Human Rights and WITNESS, featuring the stories and voices of these three women, Haddah, Qobol, and Om Ali recounting their stories of violence, injustice and forced poverty uncover the legacy of discrimination the ‘Akhdam’ live with daily and the necessity for urgent action against these atrocities.

WFP Unable to Feed Millions of Children and Mothers Due to Lack of Funding, Access

Filed under: Children, Demographics, Donors, UN, Women's Issues, Yemen, poverty/ hunger — by Jane Novak at 11:01 am on Sunday, November 22, 2009

WFP hunger hotspots: Yemen – 20 Nov 2009
Source: United Nations World Food Programme (WFP)
20 Nov 2009

Lack of funding has kept the CP on hold since June; under the HFP EMOP, 40 percent of mothers and children will not receive nutrition assistance for six of the 12 planned months. Overall, limited and late funding will leave 1.4 of nearly 1.7 million beneficiaries of the CP without assistance in November.

Following a three-week blockade of supply routes to Sa’ada town in October, WFP has been able to re-supply. Planned distribution to 55,500 IDPs in the town and camps is expected to begin 17 November. (Read on …)

Zero School Enrollment in Parts of Rural Hodeidah, Mothers 96% Illiterate: SEYAJ

Filed under: Children, Education, Hodeidah, Women's Issues — by Jane Novak at 9:37 am on Sunday, November 22, 2009

On the average half of kids even have access to a school in walking distance, and for girls that access is even more limited by the shortage of female teachers. (Related issues include corruption in schools, the withholding of teachers pay, punative teacher transfers, and the failure to fully implement the 2005 Wages Strategy, all of which will become more severe as the oil money runs out.) The original press release and contact info from Seyaj is below the fold and I’ll add the raw data:

HODEIDAH, 19 November 2009 (IRIN) – Nearly half of children in rural areas of the western Yemeni governorate of Hodeidah, have no access to basic education, according to a new report by the Seyaj Organization for Childhood Protection (SOCP) and the Yemen News Agency.

A survey was conducted on a random sample of 3,249 boys and girls from 1,542 families in the districts of Lihyah, Zahrah and Beit al-Faqih, said Fahd al-Sabri, lead author of the report.

The survey results, announced on 18 November, indicate that 45 percent of boys and 52 percent of girls in the 6-15 age group have no access to basic education – for several reasons, including vulnerability of their families, lack of schools and teachers, or schools being far away from their homes, al-Sabri told IRIN. (Read on …)

Sexual Assaults on Female Prisoners in Yemen Routine

Filed under: Civil Rights, Crime, Women's Issues, prisons — by Jane Novak at 1:05 pm on Thursday, August 6, 2009

There’s a list no one can publish that names dozens of women who went into a specific jail and then had a baby more than a year later. The abuse (is that word strong enough?) of female prisoners is systemic and in some areas, organized. Its really very depressing, some of these are young girls.

Update: The post seems to be generating some response, including shock, so here’s a bit of our earlier coverage of the topic: Women Raped and Babies Sold from Jail, a report by the Sajeen Organization; Rape Victim Victimized a Second Time by the State, the cases of Susan M.S. Al-Mudhla’ and Anisa al-Shuaibi; Witness Testimony from Yemeni Prisons, heartbreaking stuff there; and CID Investigated on Rape Charge, not much happened…

The following is a bit from the current report from the Yemen Times:

Hodeida jails house large-scale human rights abuses, including rape, illegal detentions, overcrowding and shortages of food and water, according to a new report prepared by the National Forum for Human Rights.

The worst abuses take place when male guards are in charge of women, said Abdulhafidh Mu’jab, who prepared the report after a team of nine lawyers toured Hodeida detention centers.

“Women located in these unsafe places encourages violations or rapes,” he said.

And many women in Hodeida are detained before trial longer than is legal or humane, in facilities that are inadequate for female prisoners, he added.

“They should work on procedures to release women from prison and makes these procedures as fast as possible,” Mu’jab said.

According to Khalid Ayash, who heads the organization, women do not to report sexual assaults in jails because they fear the severe social stigma associated with rape in Yemen. (Read on …)

WFP Appeals for Funds to Feed Yemeni Women and Children

Filed under: Children, Demographics, Donors, UN, Medical, Women's Issues, Yemen, govt budget — by Jane Novak at 11:45 pm on Sunday, July 26, 2009

Half of Yemeni children are stunted from malnutrition. That’s a stat from 2006, things are much worse now. A third of Yemenis are malnourished, and children suffer the most. However corruption, economic monopolies, wars and the diversion (and sale) of aid are among the most detrimental factors impacting Yemenis.

World Food Programme appeals for $23 million to help Yemenis women and children 9. July 2009

The World Food Programme (WFP) issued an urgent appeal on Tuesday for $23 million in “financial support from international donors for food aid to Yemen specifically targeted at women and children,” AFP/ reports. (Read on …)

More on the Chinese Massage Parlors in Sana’a

Filed under: China, Crime, Parliament, Religious, Women's Issues, Yemen, Yemen-Corruption, smuggling — by Jane Novak at 11:17 pm on Sunday, July 26, 2009

The relationship between Yemen and China is quite strong and well established. Yemen balances its external relations in a similiar manner to its internal affairs. Yemen’s alliance with the US is offset by its relation with China, Russia, Iran, even Cuba. Yemen supports the Chinese position on Taiwan, and China never pressures Yemen on Human Rights issues, of course. First up, we have Yemen quite understanding of the Chinese crackdown on the Uighur’s and insisting its some conspiracy, which is the standard line for the Yemeni government regarding civil unrest in Yemen.

CNN: The July 5 riot in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region is an internal affair of China, the Yemeni ambassador to China said on Wednesday. Yemen supports China’s efforts to defend its national sovereignty, to safeguard its social stability, and the people’s security and property, Abdulmalek Mualemi said in a written interview with Xinhua.

The riot in Urumqi, the capital of the Xinjiang region, left 197 people dead and more than 1,680 injured….

“Considering the grave loss of lives and property caused by the violence, we believe the incident did not happen spontaneously as some people have claimed, instead, it was premeditated and organized,” he said.

AQAP may target Chinese interests in Yemen- report.

Bloomberg: Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb said it will target the 50,000 Chinese workers in Algeria and Chinese nationals and projects across northwestern Africa, said Stirling Assynt, which has offices in London and Hong Kong….“Some of these individuals have been actively seeking information on China’s interests in the Muslim world which they could use for targeting purposes,” Stirling Assynt said, adding locations included North Africa, Sudan, Pakistan and Yemen. Other militant groups may make similar threats and al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula “could well target Chinese projects in Yemen,” according to the report.

More from Yemen Observer and al Sahwa.

Next: Chinese investment in Yemen, the overt kind. China needs to secure energy supplies and is one of Yemen’s main trading partners.

July 14 (Saba) – Yemen and the Chinese Commercial Vessel Building Company reviewed on Tuesday benefits and investment opportunities provided to investors in Aden Free Zone (AFZ).

Vice-chairman of the General Authority for Free Zones, and Head of the AFZ Abdul-Jalil al-Shuaibi re-invited, during his meeting with deputy general director of the company, Chinese investors to invest in Yemen, especially in establishing a factory for Chinese cars in the country.

Finally the Chinese massage parlors in Sana’a targeted by the Virtue and Vice Commission. The Chinese girls trafficked to Yemen as sex slaves were left crying on the street.

Al Arabyia: Yemeni religious police were out in force Tuesday in a major crackdown that saw many massage parlors and Chinese restaurants in the capital Sanaa shut down for allegedly promoting prostitution and vice.

The Yemeni religious police, modeled after Saudi Arabia’s Committee for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, targeted popular tourist areas in Sanaa.

Authorities dragged Chinese women working in several spas and restaurants to the streets and sealed the businesses after posting a sign reading “closed by the authorities,” an eyewitness told Al Arabiya.

The number of Chinese restaurants and spas in the capital has increased significantly in the capital despite the fact that none of them have a legal work permits or Ministry of Health authorization, said an official who supervised the clampdown but spoke on condition of anonymity. (Read on …)

Over 70% of Yemeni Women Economically Inactive

Filed under: Civil Rights, Employment, Women's Issues, poverty/ hunger — by Jane Novak at 10:16 am on Monday, July 6, 2009

frm the Yemen Post:

Like Ali, thousands of Yemeni women work in unpaid jobs and these jobs include farming, herding, collecting firewood, etc. They are denied any rights. They receive no medical care or education.
Compared to women of rural areas who work in unpaid jobs, the unemployment rates hit high among urban area women. There is just a small number of women who work in public and private sectors.
According to official statistics, women’s unemployment rates reaches 39 percent in Yemen while it is just 16 percent among men. (Read on …)

Yemen Harasses Head of Southern Woman’s Union, Zahar Saleh Abdullah

Filed under: Civil Rights, Civil Society, South Yemen, Women's Issues — by Jane Novak at 10:58 am on Sunday, July 5, 2009

Followg the first statement of the Southern Womans Union, ( see here) Yemeni security raided the home of Zahra Saleh Abdullah, the president of the Union.

Statement of Southern Yemeni Women’s Union

Filed under: South Yemen, Women's Issues — by Jane Novak at 1:31 pm on Wednesday, July 1, 2009

I’m so happy to see this. The power, courage and wisdom of Yemeni women is an essential requirement to free Yemen, which ever way it goes in the end. Once the women mobilize for justice, its all over. Democracy is about “the people” holding the government to account and making it better. Everyone talks about the fractured nature of Yemeni society holding back progress, and there is no bigger fracture than the gender differential. The most discimination occurs not by region or sect or tribe, but by gender. There’s less of that in the South but it exists. Also and unsurprisingly, the Woman’s Union has a darned good plan of action and most likely will carry it out steadfastly.

My Southern sisters:
We ask for each Southern woman to join our Union, which aims to restore the South. We’d like to inform you that the Union held a meeting on Tuesday in the city of Khormaksar at 4 p.m., and resulted in the following resolutions:
1) To continue with the peaceful struggle until the liberation and restoration of South is achieved.
2) The participation of southern women in all peaceful activities carried out by the leaders of the south revolution.
3) To monitor the violations carried out by the system on the sons of the South
4) To visit the injured, and the families of detainees and martyrs of the south
5) To provide financial and moral support to the university students who were harassed by the system in Sana’a
6) Forming committees in all the southern states
7) To work with the newspapers, and sites which have been blocked by the system, such as Alayyam and Al Ghara’a newspapers, and Shabwa press and Mukalla press (websites).
We condemn such practices that are designed to blind the media as the crimes that are committed against the defenceless people of the south
8 We also strongly condemn the kidnappings and murders of tourists and foreigners, and we consider theses actions as an ac of terrorism, and we demand that these criminals be brought to justice.
We believe that the Sana’a regime is responsible for the murder, injury and abduction of the children.

The Southern activist Zahra Saleh Abdullah, the president of the Union, Dhia Al-Hashemy and Jihad Al-Radfani, and a huge selection of southern women attended the meeting.

Issued by the Southern Women’s Union
Translated by: Rasha Rashed
Source: Sout al ganoub

Yemen Rejects Int’l Human Rights Standards for Women as Un-Islamic and Un-Yemeni

Filed under: Diplomacy, Donors, UN, Women's Issues — by Jane Novak at 8:55 am on Saturday, June 27, 2009

Yemeni women are ranked as the least equal on earth for the last two years in a row on the gender equality scale which measures educational, employment and political inclusion etc.

From the Yemen Post In an address to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Yemen rejected outright 13 of the recommendations as they violate the Islamic law and content with the Yemeni social norms, reported.

Yemen told the United Nations that more than 13 recommendations other countries say will improve Yemen human rights standards cannot be fully accepted, the source added.

Meanwhile, the source said that the United Nation Human Rights Council recommended that different forms of violence against women in Yemen should be abolished.

The sources revealed that the most important recommendations included all violations of the human rights of women in situations of capital punishment, and in particular, murder, systematic rape, sexual slavery and forced pregnancy.

In a statement, Amnesty International said Yemen “has shown little commitment to take new steps to address serious human rights concerns in the country.”

The so-called Universal Periodic Review is the way the council launched in 2006 to replace the discredited Human Rights Commission, assesses the respective human rights records of all 192 UN member states.

Earlier this year, Amnesty International condemned the execution of ‘Aisha Ghalib al-Hamzi and has called on the Yemeni authorities not to execute Fatima Hussein Badi and to halt all other executions immediately. The organization opposes the death penalty unconditionally in all situations as a violation of the right to life and the ultimate cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment.

Trafficking in Persons 2009, Yemen

Filed under: Children, Judicial, Refugees, USA, Women's Issues, smuggling — by Jane Novak at 5:13 pm on Thursday, June 18, 2009

US State Department

YEMEN (Tier 2 Watch List)

Yemen is a country of origin and, to a much lesser extent, transit and destination country for women and children trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and sexual exploitation. (Read on …)

State Report on Women

Filed under: Demographics, Employment, Medical, Ministries, Parliament, Women's Issues, poverty/ hunger — by Jane Novak at 7:40 am on Saturday, June 13, 2009

Some women in Yemen believe they are subordinate to men. Some don’t. One time one of the “hard Muslims” as he called himself, told me that women have only half a brain. So I asked him if he ever met a smart woman and a stupid man, was it possible a woman’s half brain could be larger than a small brained man? He didn’t have an answer for that or the question, why would God give women talents if not to use them? He just started ranting he loved Osama bin Laden and offered to send me a book

State report on women issued
SANA’A, June 11 (Saba)-
Woman National Committee (WNC) issued its recent state report on challenges facing women, empowering her and future tendencies to promote her in different fields, political, economic, cultural and social.

Granting the two sexes equal opportunities to get work based on equity in all issues included in the report.

Women limited and weak political participation, women parliamentarian representation, enacting with quota demand, woman lower participation in the work, illiteracy spread, increasing mortality percentage among woman and false conceptions on woman’s issues are the main issues the report talked about. (Read on …)

Assorted Yemeni Government Officials Asked Female YJS Candidate to Withdraw

Filed under: Biographies, Civil Society, Media, Unions, Women's Issues — by Jane Novak at 8:18 pm on Friday, April 10, 2009

Raufa ran for the head of the YJS and faced a lot of pressure from many quarters, including the VP of Yemen and Yahya Saleh.

Yemen Post

FK: Were you subject to pressures from higher ranking officials to force you to withdraw your candidacy?
RH: I was actually asked to withdraw from the elections and this was published in newspapers. In the beginning, Nasr Taha Mustafa, the former YJS chairman, was delegated by the General People Congress (GPC) to convince me to withdraw. This clearly means this party will not wait until the results come out to see who wins, but rather it works on making other candidates withdraw their candidacy to facilitate the task of its candidate, something that contradicts the core of democracy. I apologized to Mustafa and told him over phone, because I was then abroad, that I will never withdraw.

FK: Have your received similar calls or have you been subject to other sorts of pressure?
RH: Yes, I got a telephone call from Yahya Al-Shauibi, but he did not mention withdrawing the candidacy and offered to meet when I return; however, I avoided him because I knew the message he had wished to convey. I received another call from Yahya Mohammed Abdullah Saleh who later came to my house and told me that GPC Secretary General and Vice-President Abdu Rabu Mansour had requested him to convince me to withdraw.

Women Raped and Babies Sold from Yemeni Jails

Filed under: Children, Civil Rights, Security Forces, Women's Issues, Yemen, prisons — by Jane Novak at 8:58 am on Tuesday, March 31, 2009

These are not random cases of rape. Its an organized system of forced prostitution. In Taiz, there’s a substantial number of babies born to women who were in jail for more than a year.

Yemen Post

Newborns of female prisoners at Yemen’s central jails are subjected to be sold, an organization interested in prisoner affairs said on Saturday.
The Sajeen Organization said at a symposium on female prisoners in Yemen that most prisoners are tortured at jails and sometimes raped.
And when they try to protest maltreatment and illegal acts they are threatened by officials at the jails.

Chairman of the organization said a daughter, named Muntaha, was sold in August 2008 for YR 15,000 that went for her mother and $5000 for her father who works in Sana’a.

Many others abuse issues of female prisoners in the country go unreported, lawyer Abdul Rahman Berman said. Female prisoners face difficult moments during investigations as they are prevented from hiring lawyers.

For her part, Amal Al-Basha, Chairwoman of the Sisters Forum said violations against female prisoner rights take place with permission from the leadership.

She added that human rights organizations and activists are prevented from meeting female prisoners in the country, criticizing arrest and imprisonment measures.

Many are jailed over honor charges and when a female inmate ends her term she finds none to help here and house her. As a result, many female inmates turn into bad community assets.

Related, in Yemen if you don’t have someone to bring you food or money in jail, then you don’t eat

Sahwa Net – Yemeni human rights groups have demanded the Yemeni government to lift suffers of Yemen’s prisoners resulted in by government reducing to food and care expanses allotted to them.

In a letter to President Saleh, the groups which included HOOD , the Arab Sister Forum , Prisoner Organization and human rights activists demanded to grant prisoners all their rights guaranteed by the constitution and law.

Ten Year Old Yemeni Divorcee Too Young to Travel

Filed under: Children, Civil Rights, Security Forces, Women's Issues, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 10:20 am on Friday, March 6, 2009

Not just the journalists barred at the gate, poor Najoud can’t leave either. The idiot regime doesn’t realize that her story is one of courage and progress and reflects very well on Yemen, or how stupid they look saying she is too young to get on a plane when Parliament hasn’t ratified the change in the law for the minimum marriage age.

VIENNA — Yemen has barred a former child bride from being honored in Austria, saying she is too young to travel alone. When she was less than 10 years old, the girl was forced to marry a man at least three times her age. After being raped and abused by him, she successfully filed for divorce and traveled abroad to talk about her ordeal.

(Read on …)

Oh the Marriage Age is Not 17 in Yemen?

Filed under: Children, Medical, Parliament, Women's Issues — by Jane Novak at 1:32 pm on Sunday, February 22, 2009

No not yet, al Motamar

On the other hand members of parliament received today a letter signed a number of religious men, t the forefront of who is the member of the Higher Body of the Islah Party, the President of Al-Eman University Sheikh Abdulmajid al-Zandani. The message mentioned that limiting girls marriage is a restraint f what the Sharia permitted , considering the amendment of the article in the law of personal status on determining marriage age by 17 years is unconstitutional a the Islamic Law id the source of legislations , according to the constitution of Yemen.

It is worth to mention that the amendment that the parliament has previously approved has been returned to parliament for more deliberations in response to proposal by MPs from the specialized committee and the Islah bloc.

Family Planning Rates Low in Yemen

Filed under: Children, Media, Medical, Women's Issues, poverty/ hunger — by Jane Novak at 10:33 am on Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Part of the reason family planning rates are low is cultural, which leads back to the following article’s point about the importance of media campaigns, but clearly another contributing factor is the deep corruption in the Health Ministry which substantially and negatively impacts every citizen.


51% of Yemeni Women don’t use means of family planning in society of high fertility rate

Studies and Figures

Number of government and non-governmental organizations reveals an improvement in the demand for family planning methods among Yemen families who actually using family planning methods, whether traditional or modern ones. According to a multi-indicator cluster survey 2006, 7.27% of married women are using the family planning methods.

The survey showed that the number of women in cities is higher than rural rates by 42.3% and 21.1%, respectively, the age of play a great role in that as the group of 35-39 years were more popular by 35% to 10.4 % for the age group 15 – 19 years. The economic situation index showed that 43.7% of women belong to rich families compared to 17.7% of women from the poorest groups. (Read on …)

Women’s Rights and Protections Codified in Yemen

Filed under: Children, Civil Rights, Parliament, Women's Issues — by Jane Novak at 7:48 am on Friday, February 13, 2009

This is excellent. HOOD

SANA’A, Feb. 11 — Nojood, 10, Arwa, 9, and Reem, 13, are three girls who went through traumatizing ordeals after being forced into marriage by their families. The three girls’ stories have been an issue of debate in social sessions, conferences and the media. But most importantly the matter was discussed in Parliament, where members have finally approved setting the minimum age for marriage for both boys and girls at 17 years old.

The new law stipulates:

“No child under seventeen years of age is to be married, unless the marriage is seen in the best interest of the child by the judge. The girl’s guardian who violates this law will be penalized. The judge conducting the marriage has to present the marriage document within one month of the marriage at most to the concerned body and the marriage contract must include related documents such as birth certificate, dowry and identity cards. The guardian of either the wife or husband will be financially penalized if they do not register the marriage certificate within the mentioned period. No marriage is to be carried out at any age without the consent of the woman.” (Read on …)

Yemen Starts Tetanus Vaccination Plan

Filed under: Children, Demographics, Medical, Women's Issues — by Jane Novak at 3:13 pm on Wednesday, January 28, 2009

This is excellent news. Neonatal tenanus is a killer that can be prevented or treated like measles, diabetes and cholera.

SANAA, 26 January 2009 (IRIN)
– A major campaign to eliminate neonatal tetanus and measles – two killer diseases of children in Yemen – is under way, according to the Health Ministry’s National Programme for Vaccination (NPV).

The six-day campaign began on 24 January.

The neonatal tetanus campaign is targeting some 2,170,000 women aged 15-45 in 17 of the country’s 21 governorates. Over 15,000 health workers are involved in the drive, which is being funded by the Ministry of Health, the UN World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Bank, according to Essa Mohammed, head of the NPV. (Read on …)

AIDS Increases as Poverty Fuels Prostitution

Filed under: Demographics, Medical, Religious, Women's Issues, Yemen, poverty/ hunger — by Jane Novak at 10:01 pm on Thursday, January 8, 2009

The hesitance to acknowledge there is prostitution trade in Yemen is part of the reason why more people are getting infected with this sexually transmitted disease. As the article notes, some young girls are driven by poverty to turn to the streets to make money to eat. AIDS is also transmitted by homosexual sex, another taboo topic. The use of condoms significantly reduces the odds of getting aids from an infected partner as well as being a reasonably effective method of birth control. But its such a conservative society that getting even these basic facts to the public become more difficult. It doesn’t make a country look bad when it deals with its problems, but often the tendency is to sweep these difficult issues under the rug.


Yemen is ranked 153 out of 177 countries on the UN Development Programme’s (UNDP’s) 2007-08 Human Development Index. According to the Poverty Assessment Report 2007 prepared by the UNDP, the World Bank and the Yemeni government, the percentage of poor people among Yemen’s 21 million population stood at 34.8 percent. According to the UNDP office in Yemen, 15.7 percent of the population lives on less than US$1 a day and 45.2 percent live on less than US$2 a day.

Khaled Abdul-Majid, a programme officer at the UNDP office in Sanaa, said state institutions lacked the capacity to tackle HIV/AIDS, adding: “When there are not enough jobs, young people feel they have no future. Some resort to prostitution.” He also said internal and external migration had played a role in spreading the virus.

Commercial sex work on the rise

Some 16 percent of Yemen’s 21 million population lives on less than US$1 a day and 45 percent lives on less than US$2 a day, according to UNDP

Suad al-Qadasi, chair of the Women’s Forum for Research and Training (WFRT), a local NGO, said prostitution and commercial sex work had begun to increase rapidly over the past three years.

“But Yemen is a conservative community which does not acknowledge this phenomenon. This is a problem in itself,” she told IRIN.

The WFRT recently conducted a survey on commercial sex work but found that people were not willing to admit to its existence. “Denying it is a problem as awareness rests on acknowledging that the phenomenon exists,” Suad said, warning that if the situation continued, HIV/AIDS would be rife.

According to the US Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons Report 2006, Yemeni children were trafficked internally for sexual exploitation, and Yemen was also a destination country for trafficked Iraqi women.

Yemeni Women’s Political Participation Statistics

Filed under: Local gov, Ministries, Parliament, Political Parties, Women's Issues — by Jane Novak at 9:07 am on Friday, December 26, 2008

The Reality of Female Participation in Public Institutions

Yemen Times

Despite the presence of women in elections, their contribution in decision-making is still weak. In the legislative field, there is a single seat for women in the entire parliament, from a total of 301. In the Shura Council, women occupy only 2 of 111 seats. On the level of the executive authority, only 2 of 33 ministries are directed by women. There are 39 women deputy ministers and assistants compared with 1210 men in similar positions. Out of 44490 general directors in Yemen, only 168 of them are women. In the diplomatic field, women represent a mere 10 percent of all diplomats, and in the judiciary field they represent 7 percent.

Female participation in the parliamentary elections of 1993 was low as they represented only 18 percent of the total voters. In 1997, this level of participation increased to 27 percent, and by the 2003 elections, the level of women participation increased to 42 percent of the total voters.

Interestingly, it is true that the number of women candidates decreases whenever the number of women voters increases. In the 1993 elections, women candidates represented 1.3 percent, yet in 1997 the percentage of women candidates was down to 1.4. This trend has continued, as in the 2003 elections the ratio of women candidates was only .8 percent.

The GPC attains the highest ratio of women votes, such as in the 2003 elections where it captured 60 percent of the female vote – 43 percent of the total votes for that party. The Islah party received 22 percent of the female vote, which represented 40 percent of the total votes for that party. Only 5 percent of female votes went to the socialist party, which represented 39 percent of the total votes that the party attained. The Nasserite party gained 2 percent of the women’s votes, which represented 39 percent of the party’s total.

Voting for parties is not based entirely on their programs. It is right that women in the Yemeni society have a negative view of the extremist religious powers and their rigid stance toward women. However, votes are also affected by other issues. The presence of women in these parties affects the distribution of votes. For example, women represent 31 percent of GPC members, which may account for its popularity among women voters. In the GPC’s General Committee, women represent 12.8 percent of its members, and 9.1 percent of its Permanent Committee.

In the Islah Shura Council, women represent 9.1 percent, and in its General Secretariat they represent 6.3 percent of the total members. Women represent 9.01 percent of the total members in the Socialist Party’s Central Committee, and 10.52 percent in the General Secretariat.

Women’s Health

Filed under: Demographics, Women's Issues, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:24 am on Saturday, December 20, 2008


SANAA, 20 January 2009 (IRIN) – The maternal mortality rate (MMR) remains high as a result of poor health care and harmful social practices, including child marriage and female genital mutilation, a UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) official in Yemen has said.

“Maternal mortality is very high in Yemen. Some 360 women die per 100,000 live births and that figure could be higher,” said Naseem Ur-Rehman, UNICEF’s chief information officer in Yemen, at a press briefing on 18 January to launch the State of the World’s Children 2009 report.

Eight women or girls die from pregnancy or childbirth complications every day in Yemen, he said; globally the figure is 1,500.

According to the UNICEF report, the lifetime risk of maternal death in Yemen is 1:39, making it the highest in the Middle East.

At the same time Yemen has the lowest percentage of births in the Middle East at which a skilled attendant is present: Delivery care coverage is 36 percent, and 24 percent of births take place in hospitals.

The report said a study by the World Health Organization (WHO) found that female genital mutilation/cutting, which is widespread in rural areas, affected the reproductive health of women: It caused severe pain, prolonged bleeding, infection, infertility and even death.

The report defines maternal mortality as “the death of a woman while pregnant or within 42 days of the pregnancy’s termination, regardless of the site or duration of the pregnancy, from any cause related to, or aggravated by, the pregnancy or its management”.

Shortage of health workers

UNICEF’s Ur-Rehman said the lack of health workers was one of the reasons for the high MMR and neonatal mortality rates, adding that Yemen was among 57 countries where “the shortage of health workers is acute”.

“Worldwide, there is a shortage of 4.3 million health workers who provide care at the time of pregnancy and delivery,” he said, adding that there should be a minimum of 2.28 health workers per 1,000 people.

Yemeni health officials estimate there is one doctor per 10,000 people and that health services reach only 60 percent of the country’s 21 million people.

Child marriages

Ur-Rehman said child marriage, which aggravates high fertility rates by giving girls a longer period in which to have children, added to the risks.

“Yemen faces this problem of child marriages. There are a large number of child marriages and they ultimately contribute to the deaths of children,” he said.

Nabil Mohammed al-Ammari, executive director of the Yemeni Family Care Association, said lack of awareness about family planning and reproductive health care services also translated into a higher MMR.

He said his association carried out a survey in 2007 in 15 of the 21 governorates on the use of family planning methods and found that people preferred not to use them for fear of possible side effects.

Al-Ammari said social attitudes also had an impact on MMR. “A father of four or five daughters would love to have a boy even at the cost of having many children,” he said.

According to UNICEF’s Ur-Rehman, three things can reduce the high MMR: better community and family support for pregnant women; comprehensive health insurance to cover the costs associated with pregnancy, child birth and post-natal care; and the setting up of establishments where pregnant women from remote areas can go for advice and help prior to their due date.

“Many of these women who are dying are too poor to get to health facilities. Some families take the mother to hospital, but she turns out to be dead on arrival,” he said.

Zindani: Women Cant Talk and Remember at the Same Time or at least I think thats what he said because I cant remember now that Im talking

Filed under: Religious, Women's Issues, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:18 am on Monday, December 15, 2008

To view this clip, visit MEMRI

“Women Are Subject to Menstruation, When Their Endurance and Mental Capacity for Concentration Are Diminished”

Abd Al-Majid Al-Zindani: “Allah said, with regard to women bearing witness: ‘If two men are not available, then a man and two women, such as you choose as witnesses, so that if one of them errs, the other can remind her.’ Some heretics – communists and other atheists – ridiculed [this verse], saying: How come a man’s testimony equals that of two women? They used this to mock [the Muslims].

“The Muslims used to respond that women are subject to menstruation, when their endurance and mental capacity for concentration are diminished. When a woman witnesses a killing or an accident, she becomes frightened, moves away, and sometimes even faints, and she cannot even watch the incident. [...]

“The American Time magazine, in its July 31, 1995 issue, published this picture from research about the brain functioning of men and women. This is the ma… This is the female brain, and this is an image of the male brain. What do we see? We find that in the case of women, this area… And there is another here…

“Two areas in a woman’s brain are activated when she talks. As we can see, there are many centers of speech in a woman’s brain. There is a center in each lobe, while in the case of a man, there is only one center, here. The opposite center does not operate during speech, because it is busy remembering.”

“When a Woman Talks, She Might Use the Part of the Brain Containing the Memory for Talking – And That’s It, The Data is Lost”

“Both men and women have centers for speech and for memory. In the case of men, the center for speech is here, while the center for memory is here. When a man talks, his center for speech is active, and when he remembers something, his center for memory is active. On the other hand, when a woman wants to talk, she puts both centers into action. This may give us an explanation why women are more talkative.

“What is the outcome of this? When a woman talks, she uses the part of the brain that contains the memory, because in the case of women, both centers function for speech and memory. So when a woman talks, she might use the part of the brain containing the memory for talking – and that’s it, the data is lost.

“Therefore, if we need the testimony of women in cases pertaining to human lives, property, honor, or the stability of justice, we must take into consideration this fact of life in the nature of women.”

Yemen: Female Illiteracy Declines to 60%

Filed under: Education, Employment, Women's Issues — by Jane Novak at 5:13 pm on Monday, December 8, 2008

Yemen Post:

Prime Minister Ali Muhammad Mujawar said Saturday that the rate of illiterate women in Yemen declined to 60% this year from 76.3% in 1994.
At the opening of the fourth annual conference of Yemeni women held in Sana’a, Mujawar noted that the number of Yemeni females who joined primary and secondary schools has increased to represent one third of Yemeni students at these schools.
The rate of female university students also rose to 28% out of the total amount of Yemeni university students, he said.

In his speech that was delivered by Minister of Information Ahmed Hassan Al-Lawzi, the premier pointed out that Yemen has made strides in women’s education saying the number of female university students outnumbers males at some universities and that the number of female lecturers at the government universities increased as well.

“There are about 984 female lecturers out of which 803 lecturers who teach at the government colleges,” he added.

At the event, Mujawar said there is a remarkable progress on women’s rights particularly with women being seen in various sectors mainly medically and politically, a matter which illustrates the government is doing its utmost to empower women in the belief that women play a crucial role in the society.

Yemen has over 2800 girl soldiers, 75 female officers and 76 female judges as well as 414 women with technical and administrative posts, he said.

“The presence of Yemeni females at the medical sector helped reduce the mortality rates among mothers as well as improving the family care services.”

“The country third economic and social development plan included new terms recommending the empowerment of women and combating all forms of discrimination against them.”

Last week, the government approved the recommendations of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women to be among its priorities regarding the rights of women, Mujawar concluded.

Gender Inequality: Yemen Last for Third Year

Filed under: Women's Issues — by Jane Novak at 5:51 pm on Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Sana’a: Among 130 countries, Yemen has come the last for the third consecutive year in gender equality, according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2008, which was released earlier this week.

Yemen continues to occupy the last position in the region as well as in the overall rankings, being the only country in the world to have closed less than 50 per cent of its gender gap, the report said.

However, it made gains on economic participation, educational attainment and political empowerment this year, the report says.

Ramzia Al Eryani, chairwoman of the Yemen Women’s Union and the Secretary-General of Arab Women’s Union, attributed such a gap to a high rate of illiteracy among women in addition to traditions and customs that encourage inferior position to women.

“The gap between men and women is still very wide for a number of reasons, chief among them being illiteracy, traditionally inferior role in society and economic dependence,” Al Eryani told Gulf News.

On the gap between men and women in the economic participation and available opportunity, Yemen holds the last position among the countries.

“The economic participation of women is still very weak. Women are not economically independent. In the rural areas and in some cities, women work more than men but they don’t receive their financial rights,” Al Eryani said.

In terms of exposure to education and political empowerment, Yemen ranked 129 achieving a little improvement. For political empowerment of women, Al Eryani criticised the report which said Yemen ranked only 129th.

“Yemen has made great efforts in field of political empowerment of women compared to some Gulf countries. So, it is unjust to say that Yemen has not done anything,” Al Eryani said.

There are women representatives in parliament, in local councils and in political parties. However, there is still a huge gap between men and women in the political participation because of illiteracy. The percentage of illiteracy among women is high with about 60 per cent, while illiteracy among men is estimated at 30 per cent, she said.

Yemen remained in the last position; in 2006 and 2007 reports, and ranked the last in gender equality.

Most Middle East and North Africa region countries continue to perform far below the global average; countries such as Tunisia, Jordan, Algeria, Oman, Egypt, Morocco and Yemen have all shown improvements in scores.

On the other hand, some Gulf countries have deteriorated.

© Gulf News 2008. All rights reserved.

Hillary, Condi and Najood Named Women of the Year 2008

Filed under: USA, Women's Issues, Yemen, photos/gifs — by Jane Novak at 8:23 am on Wednesday, November 12, 2008



Yemeni Child Bride Honored At “Glamour” Gala
Reported by: RNS
Tuesday, Nov 11, 2008 @10:10am CST

(New York, NY) — A ten-year-old child bride from Yemen has been honored as one of “Glamour” magazine’s women of the year Monday night.

The “New York Daily News” is reporting that pint-sized Nujood Ali broke with tradition by demanding a divorce.

The girl was given up for marriage by her impoverished parents.

Although her 30-year-old groom had promised to wait until Ali was older before becoming intimate, he reportedly raped and beat her on their wedding night. When no one would take Ali to the courthouse to seek a divorce, she went on her own and sat there until a judge took notice.

Human rights lawyer Shada Nasser shared the “Glamour” award for helping Ali become the first child bride in Yemeni history to be granted a divorce. The two flew in for the posh Carnegie Hall gala. Among the other honorees were Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Senator Hillary Clinton.

How nice, think I’ll post another:

(I have that same necklace.)

Yemeni child bride honored among Women of the Year
Mon Nov 10, 2008 9:54pm EST Email | Print | Share| Reprints | Single Page | Recommend (0) [-] Text [+] NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) – A Yemeni child bride, who gained international renown after refusing to accept a forced marriage to a man nearly three times her age, on Monday received an award as a “Woman of the Year” alongside nine others.

The annual Women of the Year Awards, published by Glamour Magazine for the past 19 years and sponsored by L’Oreal, pay tribute to women who have made major contributions to entertainment, business, sport, fashion, science and politics.

Nujood Ali, who is now 10, was chosen for the award after her unusual story of rebellion against an arranged marriage made her an international celebrity, with her story highlighted by various magazines and TV networks.

Like many young girls in Yemen, where the majority are Muslim, Ali was pulled out of second-grade from her school in the capital Sanaa by her impoverished father and married to a man in his 30s. He beat and sexually assaulted her.

Under Yemeni law the minimum age of marriage is 15, according to the U.S. Department of State, but tribal customs and interpretations of Islam often override this and girls are married much earlier with bride-price payments widespread.

But rather than accept traditional custom, Ali went to court, got the help of a human rights lawyer and successfully filed for divorce in April this year.

“With the help of human rights lawyer Shada Nasser… Yemeni child bride Nujood Ali took the stand against her husband in court, and was granted a historic divorce,” said a statement about her award, presented at a ceremony in New York.

“Together Nasser and Ali are committed to saving other little girls from early marriage.”

Ali was also picked for the Women of the Year Fund Initiative, where one of the awardees is chosen as the basis for fund-raising for their project.

Other women to make the annual list were TV personality Tyra Banks for her charity that supports young women, Hillary Clinton for inspiring generations of women, and Chanel Chief Executive Maureen Chiquet for her role in international business.

Jane Goodall, best known for her ground-breaking work with chimpanzees, was awarded a lifetime achievement award for her humanitarian and environmental work while Australian actress Nicole Kidman was praised for her work with the United Nations Development Fund for Women.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, beach volleyball duo Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh, and artist Kara Walker also featured in the 2008 list.

The winners, featured in the December issue of Glamour magazine on the newsstands on Tuesday, were picked by an advisory board made up of past honorees ranging from Diane von Furstenberg to Nora Ephron to Queen Latifah.

Childhood Physical and Sexual Abuse Rates Very High in Yemen, Other Statistics

Filed under: Children, Civil Rights, Crime, Medical, Women's Issues, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 9:43 pm on Saturday, November 8, 2008

These are astounding and heartbreakiing figures, over 90% physical violence and over 40% sexual abuse, rates of boys and girls are similiar.

Yemen Times:
Nearly 94 percent of Yemeni children aged between two and 14 years old are subject to psychological or physical violence from their parents or guardians, according to the Multiple Indicators Cluster Survey (MICS) conducted by Ministry of Public Health and Population in September 2006.

The results of the survey, which took place over a period of 21 days, were made public at a workshop held last month. They show that 82 percent of these children are subjected to physical punishments, of whom 44 percent were boys and 38 percent were girls.

The survey shows that 25 percent of children aged between 2-9 years are affected with at least one type of disability, the more widespread being delayed motor skills and slow cognitive development in that order.

The results also reveal that early education in Yemen is rare as only 3 percent of children aged between 3 and 5 years old attend early education institutions and only 40 percent of children attend first grade of elementary school when they are six years old.

Up to 68 percent of children aged from 6 to 14 attend elementary school, of which 76 percent are boys and 60 percent are girls. On average, only 24 percent of adolescents aged between 15 and 17 years old attend secondary school, with 32 percent for boys and 15 for girls.

As for illiteracy among mothers, the health ministry’s survey shows that on average 35 percent of married Yemeni women aged between 15 and 24 are literate, with 59 percent of married women in urban areas and 26 percent of married women in rural areas being able to read and write.

The study, which involved 4,000 families across the country, reveals that only 22 percent of children under the age of 5 years of age were registered at birth. The widespread reason for this low statistic was the unawareness of the importance of obtaining a birth certificate for one’s child.

With regards to vaccination, around 38 percent of children aged between 12 and 23 months old had been completely vaccinated during the period the survey took place, and that 18 percent of them have received all vaccinations before reaching one year of age.

The study reveals that 34 percent of children aged under five years old had diarrhea during the first two weeks of the survey, of which nine out of ten children have received oral re-hydration salts to help them get better.

In the same period, 13 percent of under-fives were suffering from acute respiratory tract infection. Dangers of the infection in Yemen have increased due to the use of solid cooking fuel, which is used by 30 percent of families in urban areas and 52 percent in rural areas.

The mortality rate for children under five years old in Yemen decreased from 102 per 1000 during the five years before the survey to 78 per 1000 cases after conducting the survey.

The results of the survey also reveal that the mortality rate among newborns has dropped to 37 per 1000 in comparison to 69 per 1000 during the five years before the survey. Fifty percent of newborn mortality in Yemen occurs during the first month of age, which means that nearly one child in 15 dies before reaching one year of age.

Conducted upon directions of the World Health Organization (WHO) toward achieving the health-related Millennium Development Goals, the study indicated that 28 percent of married women use contraceptives or birth-control and 47 percent of women receive health care during pregnancy, but only 24 of them deliver at health centers.

The results show that the fertility rate in Yemen is 5.2 deliveries to every woman. They show that the fertility rate in rural areas is higher than that in urban areas, with 6 children per woman in rural areas and 4 children per mother in urban areas.

The survey also reveals that 59 percent of Yemenis use improved water resources -74 percent in urban areas and 52 percent in rural areas- and that 52 percent of Yemenis live in houses with improved sanitation facilities, while 31 percent lack this basic service.

Similar surveys that have been carried out in 50 countries across the world with the support of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the Arab League’s Pan Arab Project for Family Health.

Women as Minors, Who Work 16 Hours a Day

Filed under: Demographics, Employment, Tribes, Women's Issues — by Jane Novak at 9:34 am on Saturday, October 11, 2008

Yemen Observer:

However mature and well-educated they may be, women in Yemen still do not enjoy equality status with men. This is largely due to social traditions that still regard women as minors needing help and support, said a paper on women and tribal traditions in Yemen.

Women’s roles largely remain confined to giving birth, raising children and caring for the home and family, said the paper which was presented by researcher Dr. Afaf Al Haimi in a symposium held in Sana’a this week on the political role of tribes in Yemen, Jordan and Iraq.

“Education for women is not regarded as essential, especially in rural areas where women generally work about 16 hours per day on farms, in houses and gathering water,” said Al Haimi.

The rate of illiteracy among women in rural areas is as high as 75.7 percent and 40.5 percent in the urban areas, she said.

The gap between male and female education is 76 girls for every 100 boys, but in the high classes the number of girl’s decreases. At this level, there are only 44 female students for every 100 male students, she said.

The researcher also noted that there is a high drop out rate for girls at nearly every level of education. Girls generally drop out of schools because of early marriage, and because the prevailing culture does not stress female education. Also, housework, especially in rural areas and family traditions, often prevent women from leaving the home, the researcher said.

In government institutions, the researcher said, the number of female employees is around 90,464 compared to 440,061 men.

The researcher also criticized Yemen’s educational curriculum, saying it discriminates against women by focusing solely on what are typically regarded as male virtues- heroism and success, and it stresses the power of men.

She said the country’s political parties do nothing to help women. These parties are strongly affected by the country’s tribal culture which looks at women as inferior, the researcher concluded.

Half as Many Women Working Over Last Decade

Filed under: Women's Issues, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 1:08 pm on Thursday, August 14, 2008

News Yemen

The report, published by the Supreme Women Council along with the Women’s National Committee on “Status of Yemeni Women 2007”, said that “the equitable participation remains a challenge due to traditional cultures, in addition to challenge of motherhood, giving birth, work obligations.”

Figuring out the number of women’s contributions to economic field, the report said that the percentage of working women has deceased in the period of 2005-2007 to 10.5% compared to 24% in 1999.

It found that the percentage of being paid working women in urban areas between 2004 and 2006 was 14 percent while in rural area it was only 2 percent. These percentages indicate lack of work opportunities available for women for social reasons as well as due to insufficient development plans, said the report.

Womens Freedoms, Opportunity Diminishing

Filed under: Women's Issues, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 1:07 pm on Thursday, August 14, 2008

The National

Two decades ago, women in Yemen used to adorn their hair with the fragrant leaves of the al mashaqir, a traditional flower. Today, the flower is banned and women’s faces are covered with a veil.

Yemen’s move to a more conservative Islamic society has coincided with a drastic reduction in women’s rights, which is supported and even perpetuated by negative references to women in popular folklore, researchers said.

“These flowers are no longer there because women’s faces are all veiled. I do miss them for they stand for women’s freedom and respect,” said Arwa Othman, the director of the House of Folklore, a non-governmental group that organised a workshop last month titled: ‘Al Mashaqir: Violated Femininity in Folklore’. (Read on …)

Al-Zindani President of the Virtue and Vice Commission

Filed under: Civil Rights, Religious, Tribes, Women's Issues, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 4:18 pm on Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Yemen Observer

The newly established vice and virtue committee elected Sheikh Abdulmajid al-Zindani as a president of the committee, Sheikh Sadiq Bin Abdullah Bin Hussein al-Ahmar vice president and Sheikh Hamoud al-Tharihi as a Secretary General, said Sheikh Hamoud al-Tharihi. (Read on …)

The Virtue Conference: Mostly al-Iman Students

Filed under: Civil Rights, Islah, Presidency, Religious, Women's Issues, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 11:09 am on Sunday, July 20, 2008

Having played the terrorism card to exhaustion, Saleh plays the religion card with some trick to divide the Islah party, something to bolster his political capital at a time of weakness. Whatever it is, its a furtherance of the growing Talabanization of Yemen. This is an interesting post by a Yemeni woman entitled “Yemen, Sexual Harassment and Women”, who writes:

The problem in Yemen and Saudi in my opinion stems from the sexual objectification of women and a culture that views them as inferior, not only are they physically weaker but intellectually and morally inferior….The strict segregation is part of the cause as well, it creates lack of interaction and familiarity between the sexes. I consider it unhealthy that relatives for example cannot mingle with each other, instead females retreat hastily in another room if a man is approaching without even a greeting. Curtains are used to separate the sexes when talking to each other, those situations sexualise a perfectly normal environment. Any interaction between the sexes is deemed to be sexual.

The above author concludes , “It’s important that we strike a middle and balanced ground in order to have a healthy society and when pursuing virtue not achieve the opposite.”

An article from the Yemen Oserver notes the attendees of the conference were mostly al-Iman students, so the whole thing is looking like an al-Zindani creation, including the declaration that any women in the work force will lead to chaos in society and sex in the streets. Meanwhile the vice in Yemeni society is concentrated among its elite and leaders who steal food daily from the mouths of starving children. They are the ones who need moral guardians on an hourly basis. As the Italians say, a fish rots from its head. And of course and predictably, the conference focused on villifying journalists in particular.

The Yemen Observer: An alliance of Yemeni religious scholars and tribal leaders has decided to watch and safeguard the morals and values of the society through holding annual meetings rather than permanent committees, which were strongly criticized before being established.

Under the slogan “It’s the guards of virtue who will protect the ship from drowning,” the clerics and tribesmen – the self-appointed guardians of virtue – decided to hold a yearly conference, called “The meeting of promoting virtue and combating vice.” They backed down from a previous proposal submitted to President Ali Abdullah Saleh last May, for establishing virtue committees (religious police) and for monitoring the activities of individuals and institutions by banning any vice-related activity such as selling alcoholic drinks, night clubs, hotels, restaurants, or massage centers.

The clerics and tribesmen retracted from establishing their committees of promoting virtue and combating vice after strong criticisms from journalists, writers and politicians, who viewed the job of such committees as the responsibility of the state.

No single woman attended the one-day meeting held on Tuesday July 15 by the tribesmen and the Sunni religious scholars. The meeting was chaired by the tribal leader, Sadeq Abdullah al-Ahmar – sheikh of Yemen’s most influential tribe, the Hashed – and cleric Abdul Majeed al-Zandani, who is accused by the United States of supporting terrorism.

Most of the nearly two thousands male attendees were students of Al-Eyman University, a religious university run and owned by al-Zandani. The rest of the attendees were Salafi clerics and tribesmen. No prominent politicians from the Islamist party Islah attended the meeting except Sheikh al-Zandani, who has his own Salafi current inside the party. The politicians of Islah refused the demand of establishing committees for virtue, saying that it was only a political trick from the president Saleh to divide the Islah party, the largest opposition party on the one hand, and divide the opposition alliance which includes the Islah Islamists, Socialists and Nasserites on the other.

“Talking about committees for virtue has political reasons behind, aiming to mix the cards and confuse political life in an official attempt to divert the attention from its helplessness and corruption of the government, and thus holding others responsible for its faults including weakening the effectiveness of the official bodies and working outside the constitution and law,” said the alliance of the three parties in a statement issued three days before the meeting of the clerics and tribesmen. (Read on …)

Virtue & Vice Commission: Complete Segregation of the Sexes and No Working Women

Filed under: Employment, Religious, Women's Issues, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 7:30 pm on Friday, July 18, 2008


Text of report by London-based independent newspaper Al-Quds al- Arabi website on 17 July
[Report by Khalid al-Hammadi in Sanaa: "Analysts consider the formation of the Virtue Commission in Yemen as a sign of the weakness of the state or intended to divert the attention of the public away from its suffering prior to the parliamentary elections; the Commission for the Propagation of Virtue or the 'Yemeni Al- Mutawa'ah' declares war on prostitution, alcoholic beverages, drugs, and child trade"]

The commission to protect virtue in Yemen held its first conference in Sanaa yesterday. The conference -that was held with official backing -was attended by a large gathering of senior religious scholars and intellectuals from various parts of Yemen with a noticeable absence of the leaders of the opposition parties, including the Islamist Reform Party. The conferees decided to change the name of the commission from the Virtue Commission to the Commission for the Propagation of Virtue thus becoming identical in character and tasks to the Saudi Commission for the Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice that is popularly known as the “Al- Mutawa’ah”. (Read on …)

Yemeni Womens Union Rejects Fatwa Against Work

Filed under: Reform, Religious, Women's Issues, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 4:16 pm on Thursday, July 17, 2008

Beautiful women who work outside the house will drive society to chaos. What does that mean? Men and woman have no self-restraint and are consumed only with thinking about sex? Are we talking about animals or humans here? How insulting to everybody.

Mareb Press:

The Yemeni Women Union condemned today the religious decree issued by the religious scholars about quota system.

The YWU accused the religious scholars who issued that decree of defaming the women and offending their honor, dignity and decency.

The YWU mentioned some Quranic verses in support of their viewpoint. Allah says “Those who persecute or draw into temptation, the believers men and women, and do not turn in repentance, will have the penalty of hell”.

The YWU said the statement of the religious scholars is reducing the value and importance of the great role of women in building the society.

The statement added that everything in this booklet is contradicting with Islam which gives women absolute equality with men, said the statement denying any superiority for men over women citing from Quran “Mankind, we created you from a single (pair) of a male and female, and made you into nations and tribes that you may know each other, verily the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you and Allah has full knowledge and is well-acquainted.”

“The women quota contradicts with our religion,” said the fatwa in the booklet. “Women racing to get out of the houses and be mixed with men in the places of work showing their beauty for all men, will lead to non-marriage relations, relations of lovers, and continuation of these relations will make the society drop to sexual chaos, loss of the decency, spread of adultery and illegal kids,” the booklet said. “We are with the equality of religious responsibilities of men and women, but we are not with the equality of employment of the roles of men and women,” said the scholars.

FGM: 25%

Filed under: Medical, Women's Issues — by Jane Novak at 3:02 pm on Friday, July 4, 2008

Smarter than God, maybe we should cut off our ears also.


[04 July 2008]

SANA’A, July 04 (Saba)- A recent study has showed a quarter of Yemeni women have been subjected to circumcision and 71.4% of the Yemeni women favored female circumcision while 48% of the Yemeni men support continuing the process of the circumcision.

Among five provinces of the county, Hodeidah and Hadramout provinces were ranked first in the number of the circumcised women by 97.3%, while the prevalence of female genital mutilation in the provinces of Aden and Maharah reached 96.5% in each and in the capital Sana’a has hit 45.5%, according to the study.

The study was conducted by the Centre of Gender Studies and Research in University of Sana’a, UNICEF and Yemen Women Union.

Child Bride Seeks Divorce II

Filed under: Children, Women's Issues — by Jane Novak at 1:57 am on Wednesday, July 2, 2008

What a miserable life for these little girls. Child marriage is a significant element in the cycle of poverty as the article suggests and is condoned by the religious hardliners who are a pillar of support for the regime. A nine year old bride of a thirty year old man is an overt victim of torture and rape, socially a thing not a person and certainly not an a person with rights equal to that of her husband.

IHT: JIBLA, Yemen: One morning last month, Arwa Abdu Muhammad Ali walked out of her husband’s house here and ran to a local hospital, where she complained that he had been beating and sexually abusing her for eight months.

That alone would be surprising in Yemen, a deeply conservative Arab society where family disputes tend to be solved privately. What made it even more unusual was that Arwa was 9 years old.

Within days, Arwa – a tiny, delicate-featured girl – had become a celebrity in Yemen, where child marriage is common but has rarely been exposed in public. She was the second child bride to come forward in less than a month; in April, a 10-year-old named Nujood Ali had gone by herself to a courthouse to demand a divorce, generating a landmark legal case.

Together, the two girls’ stories have helped spur a movement to put an end to child marriage, which is increasingly seen as a crucial part of the cycle of poverty in Yemen and other developing countries.
(Read on …)

Women’s Issues

Filed under: Women's Issues, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 10:49 pm on Monday, June 16, 2008

7th Space reports on Yemeni progress or lask thereof in areas of woman’s empowerment.

While praising Yemen today for being among the first countries to have ratified the Women’s Convention and for having updated its citizenship laws in women’s favour, the Committee monitoring countries’ compliance with the Convention expressed concern about the prevalence of underage marriages, including tourist marriages, polygamy, domestic violence and negative sexual stereotypes, and questioned the Yemeni Government’s political will to implement the treaty.

Yemen ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women in 1984, without any substantive reservations, but it had far to go to achieve full equality between the sexes, experts of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women agreed as they considered Yemen’s sixth periodic report.

(Read on …)

The Talibanization of Yemen: Gender Mingling Draws Attack in Aden

Filed under: Civil Rights, Religious, South Yemen, Women's Issues — by Jane Novak at 8:41 am on Sunday, June 8, 2008

Talking to women in public: haram. It leads to sex in the street according to the fanatics.

Student attacked for walking with women
Friday 06 June 2008 / Mareb Press

A 23-year-old university student said he was beaten up for walking with a female friend in Aden in May.

“A bearded man attacked and slapped me while I was walking with my girl colleague, saying it’s haram to talk to women in the street,” said the student.

The student was going home from the Aden law college along with two boys and three girls when a group of religious men intercepted them and had a fight with them over “walking and talking” with girls in the street.

In an interview with Gulf News this week, the student, who asked not to be named, said: “When I asked the men why are you doing this, one of them rudely said, ‘Do you want us to wait until you have sex with her in the street?’” (Read on …)

Yemen, a centre for trafficking Iraqi women

Filed under: Iraq, Women's Issues, Yemen, smuggling — by Jane Novak at 4:12 pm on Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Good topic. FYI I didn’t write this article and Jane’s is not me. Jane’s Intelligence Digest is published by Janes Information Group, which produces independent publications on the defense, security, transport and law enforcement sectors. Jane’s Information Group and associated publications like Janes Defense Weekly are in no way associated with the British military or the US Pentagon and are not published by any government. (D’oh, the regime idjits misunderstooded.)

An important point raised by this article is the collusion between criminal elements in Iraq and in Yemen, and the extent to which the smuggling pipelines of all sorts are within the domain of officials in the Yemeni adminstration. There are well established transportation routes between Yemen and Iraq upon which persons and contraband pass both ways.

In the last three years, Yemen has become a centre for trafficking Iraqi women.

In Yemen, this has focused on transhipment; the women are brought to Yemen and then sold to clients in other countries, mainly the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) countries.

A number of factors have contributed to Yemen’s development as a centre for human trafficking. Yemen is relatively close to the GCC countries and the Yemeni police are either unwilling or unable to stop or impede the traffickers.

Trafficking not only exacts a terrible cost in human terms but also contributes to the continued instability of Iraq. The amount of money being generated through the sale of these women is substantial. While most of the money generated through the trafficking operation remains in Yemen, some of the money is returned to Iraq where it helps fund additional criminal activity.

Given the continued instability in Iraq and the lack of enforcement in Yemen, it seems certain that even more women will be sold into sexual slavery this year.

Half of Yemeni Women Marry Under 15

Filed under: Children, Civil Rights, Demographics, Women's Issues, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 9:42 am on Sunday, June 1, 2008

Its sad, sickening and infuriating all at once to imagine the lives of these young girls with no education, no rights, no healthcare, no employment opportunity, no ability to determine the course of their own lives, no recourse to justice and on an average six kids….

Sanaa, 9 June (AKI) – Over half of women who marry in Yemen are under 15 years of age, said a field study conducted by Yemen’s Women and Development Study Centre, which is affiliated with the University of Sanaa.

According to the study which was cited in the Yemen Times newspaper, the rate of child marriage among females in Yemen reached 52 percent, compared to less than seven percent among males.

On top of that, in rural parts of Yemen, girls usually get married at an average age of 12 to 13 years old.

The parliament in Yemen is reportedly working to raise the minimum marriageable age, which currently stands at 15 years old and so far there is no punishment for those families who allow their daughters to marry under this age.

“Recently the case of early marriage in Yemen has come to light, especially after the divorce of a little girl last month,” said Amatalrazaq Hummad, Yemen’s Minister of Social Affairs, in an interview with the Qatari daily Al-Watan.

Hummad was referring to the case of ‘Noujoud’, the first eight-year-old child to obtained a divorce from her husband who is in his early 30s, through a court in Sanaa.

Actually Yemen is ranked number one in gender inequality globally, so it is no surprise that Yemen makes the list of “Worst Places to be a Woman” compiled by Foreign Policy Magazine.

Worst in the Middle East

Share of women in Assembly of Representatives: Less than 1 percent

Female-to-male income ratio: 30:100

Female literacy rate: 35 percent

Early marriage is commonplace in Yemen, with 48 percent of girls married by the time they are 18 and some brides as young as 12. The result: poor health for mothers and babies. One in 39 women die during pregnancy or childbirth, and 1 in 10 children doesn’t make it to a fifth birthday. Yemeni women live particularly restricted lives; for example, getting a passport and traveling abroad requires a husband’s or father’s permission.

Seven Year Old Bride in Yemen

Filed under: Children, Civil Rights, Women's Issues, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 9:41 pm on Thursday, May 15, 2008


Just weeks after the country was shocked to hear about Nujood, the 8-year-old bride, who demanded the court to divorce her from her husband, today comes a much shameful case, as Arwa, a 7-year-old girl got married to a 35-year-old man in Ibb governorate.

Such cases give the country shame that it cannot handle and gives a very bad image to the culture of Yemen, which many seem to be proud of.

Why would a girl in such a young age get married? Is it because Yemen has run out of women, or do people who marry such young girls do it for a passion.

Yes, I agree that it did happen in the past and over a thousand years ago, but that is not an excuse. You cannot compare women today to women in the past. I could not believe what I was being informed when I heard of Arwa’s case, and what is surprising to me is sources mentioned that the girl did not have a problem with the marriage. Of course she would not have a problem, because she does not know what she is getting herself in. All she sees is that she is given gold, gifts, and jewelry, but does not know what awaits her.

For the sake of our culture, growth of our country , and most importantly the future of our young girls, lets stand together in ending such marriages that will eventually destroy the future of young girls year before it even begins.

Midwives Urgently Needed

Filed under: Medical, Women's Issues, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 7:42 am on Thursday, May 8, 2008

UN official reveals Yemen’s urgent need of 5 thousand midwives
Tuesday, 06-May-2008 – Public Health and Population Undersecretary Jamila al-Raee stressed Tuesday the necessity of paying attention to midwives working in the rural villages due to their important role in reducing fatality of mothers and children. She affirmed readiness of the ministry to approve the employment description of the midwives in addition to beginning soon a national project for training and qualification of midwives.

Al-Raee remarks came in her address to the ceremony given Tuesday by the National Society for Midwives in Yemen.

On his part the representative of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Yemen Hans Obdein mentioned in his address that Yemen urgently needs 5 thousand midwives of the total needed number of 20 thousand midwives to face expected averages of mothers fatalities. He said that the latest statistics point out that there is one midwife for every 12 thousand women in the governorates of Yemen. He said in the capital there is one midwife for every 900 women, pointing out that is reflected on raising the average of mother fatalities to 365 women out of every one-hundred thousand live birth.
Chairwoman of the National Society of the Yemeni Midwives Huda Jahlan said the midwives are the first key for offering reproductive health services and the health of the mother and the newly born as well as the health of the family. She said that since its establishment in 2004 the society managed to increase the number of midwives joining the society from 117 to 241 in December in 2007.

Polling Results

Filed under: Elections, Women's Issues, Yemen, Yemen-Statistics — by Jane Novak at 7:18 pm on Monday, May 5, 2008

A poll of 75% men finds opposition to a woman as governor….

YPC: 53.8% of Yemenis refuse idea of electing woman as governor

[05 May 2008]
SANA’A, May 05 (Saba)- A poll showed on Monday that 78.3 percent of the respondents had expressed support to the upcoming elections of the mayor of the capital Sana’a and governors of the provinces, which to be held on 17 may, while 21.5 percent said that the elections have no significance.
(Read on …)

Early Marriage Stats

Filed under: Children, Demographics, Women's Issues, Yemen, Yemen-Statistics — by Jane Novak at 6:53 pm on Thursday, May 1, 2008

Yemen Times

According to a 2006 estimate by UNICEF, 60 million marriages occurred worldwide before the age of 18, while in the Middle East, which includes Yemen, there were 3.3 million marriages before age 18, said Naseem Al-Rahman, chief of communications and advocacy for UNICEF-Yemen.

He further noted that in Yemen, 365 out of 100,000 women annually die in childbirth, often because their bodies are too young and immature to endure labor.

“Parents believe that the earlier and sooner they marry off their daughters, the better off they’ll be and hence, they are rid of the responsibility, so this is forcing young girls to marry while they’re still immature and not ready to become mothers,” Al-Rahman added.

Regarding early marriage in Yemen, general health expert Dr. Abdullah Al-Kamil says some studies assure and focus that nearly 25 percent of girls under age 15 marry in Yemen, while the other 25 percent marry between ages 11 and 15, 70 percent of whom live in rural areas. (Read on …)

Yahya Saleh and Stooge NGO Make Statement Supporting His Uncle Saleh

Filed under: Biographies, Reform, Women's Issues, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 7:22 pm on Monday, April 28, 2008

A GONGO its called, not an NGO but a Goverment Operated Non-Governmental Organization. He’s talking about the proposed quota for women. It would be good if he got Uncle Ali to appoint any women to governmental positions or in the GPC. Currently there’s two ministers. The GPC in the last election nominated women for 1% of candidates and physically harassed the independent women candidates.


Chairman of the Progress & Advancement Forum (PAF) in Yemen Yahya Mohammed Abdullah Saleh said Sunday the initiative of President Ali Abdullah Saleh regarding empowering the women to practice their political rights through allocation of a quota amounting to 15% at the parliament is an important step. He added in case of its success and achievement it will open more spacious horizons for the society in general and the Yemeni women in particular. It will enable them exercise their tights effectively away from slogans that made this question mere decors in their political and electoral programmes.

In a symposium the PAF held Sunday in participation with other organisations with the aim of supporting the women in the upcoming elections, he affirmed the importance of drawing a dividing line between empty words and truthfulness and to associate words with action with regard to empowering the women to practice their political and social rights. (Read on …)

Female Genital Mutilation and Underage Marriage Continue

Filed under: Children, Women's Issues, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:31 am on Monday, April 21, 2008

Yemen Times

SANA’A, April-13 — Preventing female circumcision and pre-marriage medical tests evoked turmoil and disagreement among Parliament members (MPs) in last week’s session.

The session ended with a unanimous agreement to cancel the term 3, which would prevent female circumcision, and delay the discussion of pre-marriage tests.

The two terms were part of a draft written by the Safe Motherhood Law Project, and introduced by the heath committee inside Parliament.

Najeb Ghanem, the Chairman of the Health Committee in Parliament, expressed his sorrow over the way Parliament discussed the two issues.

“These two topics are very important for guaranteeing women’s rights in Yemen,” he commented in a phone call to the Yemen Times after the session. (Read on …)

Tawwakol Karaman Threatened and Insulted Again

Filed under: Civil Unrest, Media, Women's Issues, Yemen, Yemen-Journalists — by Jane Novak at 2:58 pm on Thursday, April 10, 2008 – An information source at the General People’s Congress (GPC) ruling party on Tuesday expressed the GPC solidarity and sympathy with the Yemeni writer and political activist Ms Tawakul Karman against the threat of killing she has been exposed to in addition immoral words on the phone; as it was reported in media instruments.

The source affirmed that differences in opinion in the national arena whatever they were must not slide to this immoral level of personal assailing and insult that is inharmonious with religious, ethical and human values as well as with bases of democratic freedom and opinion and other opinion.

The GPC information source asked all to stand against such inconvenient practices and asked the security authorities to take their measures for providing protection for the activist Tawakul Karman and hold accountable those who carried out such irresponsible and condemned action.

Eight Year Old Seeks Divorce in Yemen

Filed under: Children, Women's Issues, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:37 am on Thursday, April 10, 2008

Yemen is ranked number one in the world in gender inequality. One study found that rural women work 17 hours a day on average. Domestic abuse is not considered a crime nor is it socially unacceptable. Women are required by law to submit to their husband’s sexual demands-ie, there is no such thing as marital rape in Yemen. Rape is a largely under-reported crime because social mores blame the victim.

The laws do not criminalize underage marriage. In rural areas, the marriage age for females is often 10 to 14. In cities, the marriage age rises to a whopping 14 to 16. Children over the age of seven automatically are awarded to the husband in a divorce, and many wives stay in an abusive marriage in order not to lose their children. Efforts to change the laws are repeatedly thwarted by the government which relies on the support of Salafi hardliners in order to retain power. Some fundamentalists advance the idea that women should leave their homes only twice, once to marry and once to go to the graveyard.

Women often have problems taking possession of their legal inheritances, which are confiscated by male relatives. Genital female mutilation is a regular practice, found mostly in the countryside. One method includes placing hot stones on an infant girl’s genitalia for several weeks. Women in the work place face discrimination and harassment. Few women work outside the home, except for domestic farming which is the primarily an unpaid position. Women less than fully veiled face discrimination and harassment. Female activists are regularly slandered by the government media as immoral.

Female illiteracy is over 50% and highest in rural areas. One reason girls drop out of school is that they are needed to haul water, which is in short supply. A shortage of female teachers and segregated classrooms is another factor. Several schools for girls have been attacked by extremists who oppose the idea of education for women. The level of medical care for pregnant and postpartum women is extremely low, with many women never seeing a doctor and delivering with the help of neighbors. Newborns die at high rate, often from diseases like tetanus which are preventable with a vaccine.

In sum, women have little legal rights. The laws in existence are infrequently enforced. Women are expected to work and serve men. They have few opportunities to develop their education, talents or job skills or to achieve financial independence.
Now on to our story, an eight year old girl went to court, alone, to seek a divorce from her 30 year old husband who was repeatedly raping her. Kudos to the Yemen Times for running the story.

SANA’A, April 9 – An eight-year-old girl decided last week to go the Sana’a West Court to prosecute her father, who forced her to marry a 30-year-old man…”My father beat me and told me that I must marry this man, and if I did not, I would be raped and no law and no sheikh in this country would help me. I refused but I couldn’t stop the marriage,” Nojoud Nasser told the Yemen Times. “I asked and begged my mother, father, and aunt to help me to get divorced. They answered, ‘We can do nothing. If you want you can go to court by yourself.’ So this is what I have done,” she said.

Nasser said that she was exposed to sexual abuse and domestic violence by her husband. “He used to do bad things to me, and I had no idea as to what a marriage is. I would run from one room to another in order to escape, but in the end he would catch me and beat me and then continued to do what he wanted. I cried so much but no one listened to me. One day I ran away from him and came to the court and talked to them. Whenever I wanted to play in the yard he beat me and asked me to go to the bedroom with him.”

Read the rest.

New Law: Husband Gets Wife’s Pension

Filed under: Employment, Women's Issues, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 9:25 am on Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Yemen Post

Yemeni Parliament approved amending the law numbered 25 of 1991 concerning the insurances as obligatorily put pension age at 60 and while the pension age for women was optionally fixed for 55.

The amendments allow the husband to have both his pension and his wife; however, it did not allow him to have more than one in case he is married to more than one wife and he has the right to select which pension to have with his.

Attacks Against Female Schools

Filed under: Elections, Islah, Religious, Women's Issues, Yemen, political violence — by Jane Novak at 12:43 pm on Saturday, March 22, 2008

Yemen Observer

Principals of all girls’ schools in Sana’a staged a sit-in at the 7th of July school on Wednesday, condemning the attack and at the same time condemning the silence of official authorities and the teachers syndicate about the previous attack that targeted 7th of July school principal Shafia’a al-Seragi. Supporters of al-Seragi said that this silence encouraged the terrorists to launch the second brutal attack.

“Any man that beats a woman, whether she is a teacher, a principal or even an ordinary woman is a coward, as are the officials that close their eyes to violence committed against women,” said the principal of al-Nizari girls’ school.

Three principals of girls’ schools, including al-Seragi, have been attacked in the past two weeks. The three attacked principals are believed to be political and social activists that promote girls’ education and the adoption of new educational methods that prohibit violence in schools.

In addition to the beating of Shafia’a al-Seragi by three men, a principal of a school in Hodeidah was beaten by five women from the Islah Islamic party and also received threats of having her house blown up. A third principal’s car was stolen and had its seats and tires stripped. Her house electricity was cut off by unidentified persons at the same time that the other two female principals were attacked.

Women Worth Half of a Man in Yemen

Filed under: Islah, Parliament, Reform, Women's Issues, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 9:04 am on Thursday, March 20, 2008

Yemen Times

Reviewing the legislative system of Yemen for the first time, one gets the impression that the laws are well-drafted and ensure the rights of both men and women. Upon analyzing and dissecting those laws and regulations, one will inevitably realize that certain elements of this system, which regulates private and public relationships, involve a considerable degree of discrimination against women. This conclusion is supported by the legal teams formed by the National Women’s Committee (NWC), which have been working since 2000 to examine Yemeni laws for gender bias.

The NWC wanted to ensure this system complies with the Islamic tenets and principles as the main source of legislation, with the Constitution and with the international conventions ratified by the Republic of Yemen, particularly the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). The legal review teams came up with proof that there is flagrant discrimination embedded in some provisions, most severely in the Personal Status law, the Nationality law and the Penalty law.

The Personal Status law does not specify an appropriate age of marriage, which as a result, inadvertently permits early marriage among young females – an especially common problem in rural areas. Early marriage in turn affects girls’ ability to continue their education. With early marriage comes early pregnancies, which can cause problems like fistula (a condition that causes incontinence) or even to death during childbirth. (Read on …)

51% of Girls Not in School

Filed under: Education, Women's Issues, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 7:55 pm on Wednesday, March 12, 2008

SANAA, 9 March 2008 (IRIN) – Yemeni women, especially those living in rural areas, continue to have high illiteracy rates, insufficient medical care and face gender discrimination, specialists said at an event held in Sanaa on 8 March to mark International Women’s Day 2008.

Lack of education was seen as the driving factor behind women’s gender inequality in Yemen.

The National Women Committee (NWC), a government body, presented a draft report on the status of women at the event. Entitled Women’s Status from a Gender Perspective 2007, the report said 51 percent of girls aged 6-14 were not enrolled in elementary schools.

“This high dropout rate would represent a fertile source for illiteracy. There is no law to make education obligatory and free for all age groups,” the report said.

According to NWC, the report will soon be released officially.

The report added that the rate of enrolment for girls in elementary schools was 54 percent compared to 72 percent for boys. Linking the rate of female school dropouts to insufficient numbers of female teachers, the report said there were some 44,000 female teachers in the country compared to about 146,000 male teachers in the 2005/6 academic year. (Read on …)

Female Victims of the Saada War

Filed under: Saada War, Security Forces, Women's Issues, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 10:25 am on Thursday, March 6, 2008

Mareb Press:

At least 220 women were either killed, injured, attacked or detained during a four-year sporadic armed confrontation between the government troops and rebels in Sa’ada north of Yemen, a women’s rights group said on Tuesday.

The recently established organisation, Defa’a Movement, listed the 220 women by name and incidents in a press release issued on the occasion of the World Women’s Day.

As many as 71 women were killed, 67 injured, 59 attacked and 22 were detained during the period from mid 2004 till end of 2007. These figures do not present all cases, the organisation said, because many families preferred not to reveal the sufferings of their women.

The violations registered by the organisation included killing, detention, torture, expelling from house, plundering properties, threats and discrimination.

The organisation blamed mainly the government troops, tribesmen loyal to government and Salafi religious groups for the sufferings of those women.

The organisation called for neutral investigation into such violations, and for giving fair compensations to all war-affected women.

A Qatari-brokered deal is being implemented now to end the war between the government troops and the rebels.

Head of Women’s GONGO al-Eryani Denounces Women in Commercials

Filed under: Civil Society, GPC, Women's Issues, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 9:56 am on Tuesday, February 19, 2008

She is related to presidential advisor Abdulkarim al-Eryani somehow. I forget how: sister, niece something.

Information Undersecretary criticises organisations’ dealing with woman issues
Tuesday, 19-February-2008 – Chairwoman of Yemen Women Federation Ramziya al-Eryany on Monday called for fighting media instruments that have rendered the woman goods for promoting commercial products and criticised styling the woman’s image and dealing with her issues in a reversed manner.

Al-Eryany also demanded the media the communication of accurate information to the new generation, indicating that her call for supporting issues of the woman was governed by religious and national values and constants which cannot be violated.

During a workshop on supporting the issues of the woman in the media organized by the Yemen Women Federation and Care organisation, al-Eryany criticised the media instruments that deformed the image of the woman in Yemen and the Arab countries.

She said the Islam religion preserves the woman’s decency and honoured her and made her equal to the man and an example for all non-Muslim women.

At the same workshop the Information Undersecretary Fathiya Abdulwasie stressed the necessity of sowing the correct concepts on the woman that the media should deal with accordingly. She indicated that what concerns her ministry in this question is represented in presenting all the issues preoccupying the society via offering a balanced image of the woman out of the national and religious constants.

Ms Abdulwasie affirmed her ministry’s activation of partnership with the civil society organisations but expressed her regret that the civil society organisations did not deal in depth with the issues of the woman and in many cases are sufficing their interest in news coverage of the woman’s activities, calling in this regard fore clarity of the media message and drawing up plans for the audience and decision-makers.

Yemen Last in the World in Gender Equality, Again

Filed under: Women's Issues, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 11:42 pm on Sunday, December 30, 2007

Yemen Observer:

Yemen ranked 128th in the latest Global Gender Gap Report 2007 among the countries that have the smallest gap between male and female.

According to the report, the country with the smallest gender gap acquires the most number of points. The Global Gender Gap Index, introduced by the World Economic Forum last year, aims to be a tool for benchmarking and tracking global gender-based inequalities on economic, political, education- and health-based criteria. (Read on …)

Population Explosion in Yemen

Filed under: Children, Education, Religious, Women's Issues, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 9:50 pm on Sunday, December 23, 2007

I’ve seen estimates of 50 million by 2050, but that may be based on optimum reproduction rates. If things stay the way they are, apparently its 90 million by 2045. But thats what happens when girls get married at 14 and have an average of seven kids.

SANA’A, Dec. 15 — In the Fourth National Conference for Population Policy, held under the theme, “Toward further implementation of a population policy,” participants stressed the necessity of providing family planning and reproductive health services in all health care centers.

Some of the papers reviewed warned against the risk of increased population growth, indicating that UN estimates show that if population growth in Yemen continues to increase at the present rate, the population will increase from its current 22.4 million to 29.9 million in 2015, then to 43 million in 2025, 62 million in 2035 and 90 million in 2045, finally reaching 108.6 million in 2050. However, the reports mentioned that if Yemen achieves the national population policy goals, estimated population growth will decline by 7 million in 2025, 16 million in 2035, and 49 million in 2050, accomplishing a balance between population growth and available resources and allowing Yemen to achieve its millennium objectives.

Studies also indicated that the annual 3 percent population growth rate is one of the key challenges facing development efforts. They also showed that Yemen is categorized as one of the least developed countries in human resource, ranked 174 out of 184 countries. According to the studies, poverty levels have progressively increased, from 19 percent in 1992 to 34 percent in 1999, and lastly 34.4 percent in 2005.

They also advised utilizing resolutions of free of charge health care units in addition to family planning consultations, encouraging women to breastfeed babies naturally, and increasing efforts to increase society awareness about prenatal care. (Read on …)

Women in Prisons

Filed under: Women's Issues, Yemen, prisons — by Jane Novak at 11:57 pm on Thursday, December 20, 2007

Yemen Observer

The women’s division of Sana’a Central Prison is full of women that should not be there but are, due to deficiencies in the courts and prosecution procedures, according to Mutaher Ali Naji, general manager of Sana’a Central Prison.

From among 57 female detainees in the prison, there are 15 accused of acts of shame or crimes against morality. Human rights organizations report that women are frequently subjected to arbitrary detention for crimes against “morals”. Some of the prisoners are accused of the Khalwa crime of being alone with a man who is not a relative. This has previously been considered a crime according to Islamic Shaira, however the new amended law of 1994 does not mention it and there is no clear law stating it as a crime.

“In Sana’a there are more than 35 prosecutions sending women to detention in Sana’a Central Prison,” Mutahar said. “Sometimes they send the women even before ending investigation procedures,” he added.

Ahlam (whose name has been changed for her privacy) rode in a car with a man who was not her relative. She was hoping to spend some time enjoying herself, but she ended up arguing with the man. Police caught them, and after few hours of investigation in penal prosecution, she was sent to prison. Another detainee, 20 years of age, went with her two friends (one of them married) to a “suspicious” place. They ended up in prison as well.

“In a conservative society such a thing will mean the end of a woman,” Husnia al-Qadri, head of the women’s research center at Sana’a university, said. “It could destroy the woman’s future as well as the reputation of her family. The worst thing is that women learn things in prison that can make them criminals,” she added.

Ameera, 22, is accused of adultery and is currently in the women’s section of Sana’a Central Prison . The one with whom she committed adultery is in prison as well. “He is the only one in the world who loves me and knows my values. I want to see him only,” she said. To Major Najeeba, a security official in the prison who informed her that her brother had come to visit her, she said, “I don’t want to see him. I don’t want to see any one of them. Don’t push me or try to convince me. Seeing them will just turn me crazy and tire me.”

If Ameera married the man that she was accused of being with, the charges would be dropped and she could get out of prison. “She should not be in prison,” Major Najeeba says. “There should be someone or some organization that could help her.”

According to the penal code, the maximum punishment for these crimes is one year, but in a report for the year 2000, several cases are documented of women convicted of zina that have spent more than four years in prison.

Khaleed al-Ansi, a lawyer for the Hood Organization for Human Rights, says that there are a lot of unjust procedures in prosecutions and the courts.

Fatima killed her husband because he had tried to rape her daughter. In the court session, the daughter changed her story under pressures from the family and the medical examination approved that the girl was still a virgin.

“The court sentenced her to death,” al-Ansi said, “neglecting the fact that the woman was trying to protect her daughter.”

Sonia stole gold. She has spent two years in prison where she delivered her son. She has served the period of her sentence but she is unable to get out of prison until she repays the value of the gold. Her husband is also in prison because of helping her. Sonia does not have money and there is no one to help her.

“I hope that there are parties who could help Sonia and other such cases,” Major Najeeba said.

Fatima is in jail for killing her husband with help from her brother. Her brother was sentenced to death and executed seven years ago. Fatima was also sentenced to death but she could be released if her son Walid would forgive her, but he refuses.

“We have tried to contact him to convince him despite the fact that it is not our work,” Mutaher said. “There is no one else to do that.”

Shadh Naser, Fatima’s lawyer, said that the Supreme Court sentenced Fatima to four years in prison. They retried her despite the law stating that a sentence of the Supreme Court should not be retried. Fatima has had four sentences; the last one being the death sentence.

“Unlike Amina al-Tuhaif’s case, where there are films about the injustice of her trial, Fatima’s case was neglected,” Shadh said, adding that people did not know that Amina would return to jail on the accusation of adultery.

Yahia al-Haidari, responsible for quality and reform in the prison, says that there are a lot of cases that show the deficiencies in the courts and the systems and procedures of prosecution. He added that there are detained women who wait in prison for months while their cases undergo investigation. “Many of them are waiting years for sentencing. Sometimes those years of waiting are more than what their crimes would be punishable for.”

He said that the change of judges and the court vacation of four months is one of reasons behind their unjust stays in prison. “One of the detainees waited for four months to receive a copy of the primary court’s sentence. The period of appeal ended before she received a copy of her sentence,” al-Haidari said.

Research has shown that as many as half of all women being held in prison are still awaiting formal charges and have not yet appeared before a court. In one case, a woman who had left her allegedly abusive husband was arrested and was being held in Ta’iz prison more than one year later for allegedly sleeping in the house of another man. Even when women do finally appear before a court, gender discrimination, as outlined above, affects both the hearing and sentencing of their crimes.

In a visit to Mansoora prison in Aden in 2000, Oxfam researcher Marta Colburn interviewed ten women detainees; one had been imprisoned for performing illegal abortions, two for theft, one for abuse of alcohol and six for zina. Of these ten women, only two had had their cases tried in court and had been sentenced. A majority of the remaining eight had already served more than a year in detention without trial.

Investigator Tariq, working in the South East Secretaries’ Prosecution, said that in khalwa cases police or penal investigation catch the couple and send them to prosecution. They send them to prison according to the proof and evidence they have.

“But this time there are no more khalwa crimes” he said. There are no females to investigate women in spite of the fact that there are many female suspects coming to prosecution. He said that he had investigated four detained women in the last two months. He added that he had not faced any problems or difficulties when investigating women. “Women are weaker than men and confess faster. They do not lie, especially in the face of evidence and proof, and they do not insist on their story if it is based on lies.”

He added that the prosecution, unlike the courts, does not take vacation. He denied that there is any delay of cases or torture of the suspects. “Investigation takes from one and a half to two hours,” he said. “We do not yell during the investigations, even with male suspects. There is no one saying that he has been tortured during investigation.”

Amal al-Huraibi worked in prosecution for 16 years. During this time she investigated male as well as female suspects. She moved from the South East Secretaries’ Prosecution to Passport and Personal Affairs Prosecution, saying that prosecutors did not stay in one place, but keep changing offices.

She deals with many accused women in Passport and Personal Affairs Prosecution. She said that most of them are accused of forged personal information; especially marital status, particularly in changing their status from divorced to married or single. Some of them do that in order to travel with their children outside of the country.

Some men use the visa and personal information of their ex-wives to be able to travel with their new wives. The women are detained for using the other identity. But Amal deals more with non-Yemeni women who are illegally residing in the country or those who have committed crimes such as stealing while working as house staff.

According to many human right organizations, the law stating that a female shall be held in prison until one of her male relatives comes to get her has been changed.

“There is not a single woman in prison after the completion of their detention period,” Mutaher said. “We release them when they have served their sentence period and they are free to go where they want.” There are shelters that women can go to after being released from prison or for those women who have no home to go to, among them the center for women in Aden and the GTZ shelter.

60% of Men are Against the Quota

Filed under: Presidency, Religious, Women's Issues, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 9:41 pm on Thursday, December 13, 2007


70% of Yemeni women support electoral quota system
Sunday, 09-December-2007 – An opinion poll published Sunday in Sana’a revealed that about 70% of Yemeni woman support a legal text obliging political parties in Yemen to allocate a defined proportion for women in the parties local elections.

Supporting that was 40% of men and refused it 29% of females and 59% of males.

Regarding general elections more than 68% preferred a law or an agreement document among political parties compelling them making the 15-30 % of parties candidates from women. A law of this kind was supported by around 40%, while refusing specification of a proportion of female candidates in political parties was refused by around 58% of men and 29% of females.

The opinion poll conducted by the Yemeni Opinion Poll Centre (YPC) indicated that allocation of 15% for the woman in election needs more efforts for enlightening the society about it in coincidence with legislative texts and mechanisms contributing in empowering the woman to the right of the quota.

The constitutional amendments proposed by President Ali Abdullah Saleh last September with the aim of developing the political system in Yemen included allocation of 15% for the woman in the general elections for membership the parliament and to be stipulated in a law.

The opinion poll sample included 334 Yemeni employees from both sexes over the age of 18 years, among them married and unmarried women distributed over 31 constituencies in governorates of Sana’a, Aden, Ibb and Hadrmout.

GPC Discusses All Ammendments Except Woman’s Quota

Filed under: GPC, Presidency, Reform, Women's Issues, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 9:18 pm on Wednesday, December 5, 2007

All talk no action.


Draft constitutional amendments will be ready after Eid: al-Barakani
Wednesday, 05-December-2007 – The Assistant Secretary General of the General People’s Congress (GPC) Sultan al-Barakani confirmed Wednesday that the committee entrusted with drafting the constitutional amendments would finish its work in the next days, saying “the draft will be ready in its final form after holidays of Eid al-Adha.” (Read on …)

Violence against Yemeni Women

Filed under: Women's Issues, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:57 pm on Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Comprehensive report in the Yemen Observer

Violence against Yemeni women by authority
• The family of a woman who is murdered receives half of the “blood money” of that provided to the family of a murdered man. This sends the message that a woman’s life is worth “half” that of a man. According to a study carried out by a team of legal researchers from the National Women’s Committee in 2001, this provision is contrary to both Quranic law and to the Constitution, both of which provide for equality between men and women in all matters including the payment of “blood price.”
• According to the Personal Status Act governs family law in Yemen, the groom is a direct party to the marriage contract while the bride is not.
• Women may initiate divorce proceedings, however they, unlike men, must provide a cause of justification such as: abandonment, non-payment of maintenance, alcohol, etc. A critical legal issue for women seeking divorce is that they must return their dowry (mahr)
• The rules governing child custody in the event of divorce recognized that “the mother is the most deserving party to guardianship of her children” until her son turns nine or her daughter turns twelve. Importantly, women wishing to obtain guardianship of their children must show “maturity, sanity, faithfulness and moral and physical capacity.” Remarriage or “misconduct” are sufficient grounds for the father to revoke or bar custody. No similar requirements exist for men seeking custody of their children.
• The Citizenship Law states that Yemeni women are not permitted to marry foreigners unless they receive permission to do so from the Minister of the Interior. Under a 1995 Regulation by the Ministry of the Interior, a Yemeni woman wishing to marry a foreigner must present proof to the Ministry of her parents’ approval. A foreign woman wishing to marry a Yemeni man must prove to the Ministry of the Interior that she is ‘of good conduct and behaviour’ and is ‘free from contagious disease. ‘There is no corresponding requirement for men
• Article 6 of the Yemeni Passport Law is interpreted in practice as requiring women to seek male sponsorship prior to being issued with a passport.

Violence against Yemeni women by community
Harmful traditional practices embody several forms of violence that have been committed against women in certain communities and societies. So long that they are considered part of accepted cultural practice, they continue to be carried out. (Read on …)

Targeted Yemeni Woman Journalist Fights for Rights

Filed under: Media, Security Forces, Women's Issues, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 12:06 am on Monday, December 3, 2007

Tawakol Karman is the founder and Chairwoman of Women Journalists Without Chains (WJC). Ms. Karaman is an effective Yemeni activist dedicated to advancing press freedom in Yemen. Hood on Line, the Yemeni National Organization for Defending Rights and Freedoms, notes that Tawakul Karman has been harassed for more than a year. For example, she received a phone call November 12, 2007 from the Yemeni phone number (011-967)734606844 in which she was accused of undermining national unity because she attended public rallies in Radfan and Dhalie which called for enhanced democracy. She received death threats on herself and her children and was ordered to stay at home. Ms. Karman also received numerous lewd messages repeating the slander published in the attack newspapers, Al-Dastor and Al-Belad.

On December 1, 2007 Political Security Organization confiscated WJC documents on press freedom during a civil society exhibition. Ms. Karman and WJC have also been denied a newspaper licence despite fulfilling legal requirements. The organization was originally called Female Reporters Without Borders, but a regime-loyal clone was issued a license for the same name.

Among Ms. Karman’s many accomplishments is the production of the Semi-Annual Press Freedom Report which showed an uptick in assaults on Yemeni journalists with 53 recorded in 2005 and 69 in 2006. Another WJC report tallies hundreds of assaults on journalistic freedom by perpetrator and finds the National Security Organization the biggest violator. The Ministry of Information, Ministry of Interior, Political Security Office and the Military Guidance Unit also committed numerous attacks.

She lead journalists in a weekly sit-in protesting a regime ban on text message news alerts. At the seventh weekly sit-in by journalists in Sana’a, Ms. Karman explained, “While we are holding this sit-in for the sake of freedom of expression and the right of having its media means, we salute journalist, Abdulkareem Al-Khaiwani, and announce our solidarity with him, considering him one of the pioneers of freedom of expression” She added. “The good pressmen are being violated, imprisoned, abducted, beaten, and wiretapped all over Yemen.” After fourteen weeks, the ban was reversed with the exception of WJC’s text messages, which remained banned.

In the highly conservative Islamic country, “Karman is one of very few Yemeni women who removed her face veil publicly to prove that Islam doesn’t impose the face veil on women, so she used herself as an example,” the Yemen Times noted. During the cartoon controversy, Ms. Karman wrote an article, “Burning Embassies Is Not the Way”, which stated, “We are not to call for tyranny and bans on freedom.” Speaking at a forum against organized voilence, Tawakol Karman said she could not find herself offended in “an offended country in general”. She noted, “ I have received many critical messages about alleged relations with American and about my parent’s remorse to get a girl like me. But many Yemeni men face more violence than women,” NewsYemen reported. Those who want to unite in solidarity with Ms. Karaman may send his/her support via e-mail to: info(at)hoodonline(dot)org or by fax at 00967 1 2125212

Qat and Babies

Filed under: Children, Medical, Qat, Women's Issues, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 10:04 am on Monday, November 26, 2007

Yemen Times

Most Yemeni women don’t know the negative medical effects of chewing qat, especially for pregnant women who chew qat, where both mother and child face health problems. Numerous studies and campaigns call upon Yemeni society, especially women, to reduce the increasing phenomenon of female qat chewers. (Read on …)

Girls Education

Filed under: Education, Women's Issues, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 10:51 am on Sunday, November 25, 2007

al-Motamar – Deputy Education Minister Dr Abdulaziz Bin Habtour said Tuesday that 40% pupils in Yemen is still outside school and that constitutes an additional burden on the ministry of education in its policy for expanding education and spread and for providing educational services in all parts of the country especially the rural areas.

In a meeting he held in Sana’a today with leadership of the ministry and representatives of donor organisations the official pointed out the necessity of joining all official, political parties and civil society organisations forces for the encouragement of joining education as education is considered the responsibility of all.

In the meeting held on the sidelines of Education for All Week Bin Habtour said the ministry was able to reduce the gap between males and females through the rise in girls joining of education from 34- 62% besides training of 100 thousand teachers and intensification of programmes and activities aimed to meet Yemen’s commitments to providing education for all by the year 2010 through abolishing school duties, providing female teachers to the countryside and increasing allocations for school nutrition that is expected to lead to raising the rate of joining the public education among girls.
The meeting also listened to remarks and suggestions made by members of the national committee on education for all and donor organisations and countries that aimed to reach successful solutions for the development and progress of education in Yemen.

Projected Population Growth

Filed under: Economic, Women's Issues, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:28 pm on Monday, November 12, 2007

Yemen Observer:

The Resident Representative of the United Nation Population Fund, Hans Obdeijn, last Tuesday presented to the Minister of Planning and International Cooperation, Abdulkareem Al-Arhabi, the results of the UNFPA’s analysis of the potential dangers for Yemen of continued population growth in the coming years in the fields of the economy, health, education and the effects on the individual’s share of natural resources like water and electricity.

The analysis is for the period of 2008-2033 and is based on two possible hypotheses, the first is that Yemen’s fertility rate continues at its current level of 6.1 children born per woman, and the second scenario envisions the rate falling to 3.3 children born per woman by the year 2020.

The report adds that Yemen’s population is set to exceed 50 million if the current growth rate is maintained, 2.2 million job opportunities would be required and the number of pupils enrolled in primary education would be 14.7 million, which would mean 490,000 more teachers would be needed.

In terms of the effect on the health sector, 16,000 extra doctors would be required, and an extra 8392 million cubic meters of water will have to be found, this without considering the effects on electricity, security and other areas.

In the case of a reduction of fertility to 3.3 children per woman, the report predicts the population to reach 43 million in 2033.

Quota Proposal

Filed under: GPC, Reform, Women's Issues, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 9:47 am on Wednesday, November 7, 2007

An excellent and practical analysis.

News Yemen

Some political parties in Yemen have shown in previous elections that they will not voluntarily increase women participation as candidates.
Because political parties are dominated by men and because no one likes to give up power.
But also because women in the parties have not been able to convince the leadership that it is smart or beneficial to nominate women, or that parties can win with women candidates.
So before talking about a legal regulation, I would like to emphasize that whether or not a quota is implemented, it remains part of the task of women within political parties to show their party leadership the importance and value of having women representing the party as candidates and party leaders.
Including women should not be thought of as a moral imperative. Because the reality is that political parties just want one thing: to win elections. So women need to convince the men that it is strategic to include women because parties can win more votes by doing so. (Read on …)

Contraceptive Use, a Function of Health Center Proximity

Filed under: Demographics, Medical, Women's Issues, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:35 pm on Friday, October 26, 2007

Yemen Observer

A new study has found that very few Yemeni women use contraception. The study, conducted by researchers in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Science in Sana’a University, determined the factors influencing the use of contraception among married women in different Yemeni governorates in 2005. (Read on …)

Arab Sisters Forum Welcomes 15% Quota for Women

Filed under: Civil Society, Elections, Presidency, Reform, Religious, Women's Issues, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:52 am on Thursday, October 4, 2007

Me too. - The Arab Sisters Forum for HUMAN Rights (SAF), one of the most active civil societies in Yemen, welcomed what was included in the president’s initiative regarding allocation of 15% quota for women in the parliament and called on the Joint Meeting Parties not to announce their reservation on that article of the initiative or taking negative stand regarding the women quota in the parliament.

The SAF mentioned it has received with interest the presidential initiative announced by president of the republic on 24 September 2007 whose 8th article included adoption of a positive allocation of 15% in parliament for women and to be stipulated in the election law. (Read on …)

Women’s Political Participation

Filed under: Civil Rights, Women's Issues, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 9:05 am on Monday, September 24, 2007

SANA’A, News Yemen:

Yemeni women have stated they are angry with political parties after the later said they do not prefer the quota system that women are fighting to get it realized since four years to be able to occupy high posts.

A group of women, members of the so-called “The Country Alliance”, formed by lead Yemeni women, have stated that women were planning to organize protests against those parties’ anti-quota statements, but said the advent of the holy month of Ramadan has prevented them.

We will organize such protests to pressure parties to give women members chance to be found in decision-making positions, said Intesar Senan.

We were embarrassed to hear about the position of the Yemeni Socialist Party against quota despite it has assured before the latest presidential and local elections that it supports quota system, Senan added.

Last Saturday, the leader in the Yemeni Socialist Party Mohammad al-Makaleh announced at a meeting of Arab Sisters Forum that YSP does not agree with the quota system and that the party “will be against the system in case it is applied”, asking women to support an initiative by parties to apply the party-list proportional representation system as an alternative.

Women’s frustration came early before the Parliamentary elections scheduled in 2009 as they found themselves between two challenges. They are unable to achieve their goal, the quota system, without the help of parties and they are prevented by the constitution to form their own party. In addition, the Yemeni community still refuses the political power of women.

Thus, Yemeni women have to continue attempts to convince parties they affiliate with to agree to give women an appropriate quota before the coming elections.

Women see that “parties’ abrupt objection against quota means that parties do not admit women as partners in making decision”. (Read on …)

Low Awareness of Aids in Rural Areas

Filed under: Medical, Religious, Tribes, Women's Issues, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:15 pm on Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Yemen Observer

The latest study on AIDS awareness in Yemen, conducted by the Ministry of Health, concluded that only 34 percent of females in rural parts of the country are aware of AIDS, compared to 95 percent of urban women.

The high level of awareness among urban women shows that public awareness campaigns have been effective, but the government’s efforts to spread awareness in rural areas are still too little.

Also, the increase in AIDS victims in Yemen shows the government is not doing enough to prevent the spread of the disease. The Minister of Public Health and Population, Abdul-Karim Rasee, said the government is committed to fighting AIDS and stop it’s spread. “The National Anti-AIDS Program achieved much during the 2002-2006 period and many centers for fighting AIDS have been established,” he said.
(Read on …)

Women Threaten to Boycott Elections

Filed under: Elections, GPC, JMP, Women's Issues, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 7:23 am on Tuesday, September 11, 2007

there ya go

Quotas or Closed Constituencies, either way

Yemen Times Political Parties rejected the Quota System as a solution to ensure women’s representation in the elections. As a consequence female activists threatened to retaliate by withdrawing from coming elections as candidates, but most importantly as voters.

SANA’A, September 9 — Yemeni women should not be influenced by western concepts, such as the quota system, and want to change their lives accordingly. This was the reaction of political parties to female activists demanding a quota of 30% in the coming parliamentary elections 2009. The debate was part of the Second Democracy Forum organized by Sisters Arab Forum for Human Rights in cooperation with National Endowment Development. NGOs representatives and members of the Democracy Forum challenged the political parties’ that as they used women as voters, they must allow them a chance through positive discrimination as candidates.

“Resolving women issues should not be based on a Western concept instead it should be based on Islamic values stemming from the Islamic history,” said Abdulwahab Al-Anisi, Secretary General of the Al-Islah conservative party. He stressed on rejecting the ideas coming from the west as they create ethical ciaos and referred to how the situation for western women is miserable supporting his argument with the statistics of harassment and rape in the western countries.

Frustrated by this attitude, Intisar Sinan, director of the political component of the Woman National Committee said: “This is not acceptable at all. Let us try the quota system and if it does not work we’ll try something else.” She added that democracy as many other concepts have been adopted through western influence so why should the Quota System be any different. (Read on …)

Educational Gender Gap in Yemen

Filed under: Children, Education, Employment, Women's Issues, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:29 am on Friday, September 7, 2007

IRIN: Gender gap

The government says the gender gap with regard to education is “considerable”. While national illiteracy rates stand at about 30 percent for men, they exceed 67 percent for women, it says.

The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) says access to education is one of the biggest challenges facing children in Yemen today, especially girls. Nearly half of primary school age girls do not go to school.

According to the most recent Arab Human Development Report (AHDR), the gender gap in education in Yemen is among the highest in the world. Girls’ education is a highly gender-sensitive issue, the 2005 report said, citing cultural factors like gender specific roles, early marriage, segregation between the sexes, and poverty as the primary barriers.

This results in gender inequality in education, with human development indicators for female literacy and the net enrolment ratio for females amongst the lowest worldwide, it said.

In addition to the gender gap in education, urban-rural differences were significant: 84.8 percent of urban and 68.9 percent of rural males aged 10 and above are literate, compared to only 59.5 percent of urban and 24 percent of rural females, respectively, the National Document to Promote Girls’ Education in Yemen, said in 2005.

UNDP reports that in Yemen, in primary education, females account for just 52.8 percent of the number of males that are enrolled, and in secondary education 35.3 percent of males that are enrolled – making female enrolment rates in Yemen amongst the lowest in the Arab world.

Socio-cultural versus economic factors

“The gender-disparity in Yemen is the worst in the world,” Dr Arwa Yahya Al-Deram, executive director of Soul, a local non-governmental organisation (NGO) currently working to promote female enrolment in two of the country’s 19 governorates, told IRIN in Sanaa.

Low female participation in education was attributed to several socio-cultural factors, she said: the tradition of early marriage in rural areas hindered girls’ schooling and resulted in high drop out rates; the high importance of a girl’s chastity in rural areas; the reluctance of many parents to send girls to mixed gender schools; and the negative social attitudes towards girls’ education.

Al-Deram, however, placed more emphasis on the economic factors than on people’s perceptions of education, saying that attitudes were not as bad as people thought. She said available financial resources were a crucial determinant of a parent’s decision on their daughter’s education, as was the local availability of schools.

“We don’t have enough schools just for girls,” she said. “The classes are mixed, and that’s not acceptable in Yemeni culture,” Al-Deram said.

“Non-availability of female teachers is a major factor often cited by parents for keeping girls away from school,” Nasim-ur-Rehman, a UNICEF spokesman in Sanaa said. Even if the schools exist, they often lacked basic amenities like a toilet, he added.

Jobless Females Society

Filed under: Employment, Women's Issues, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 6:50 pm on Saturday, September 1, 2007



More than 100 Yemeni youths in Hodeidah province, 60 0f them are females, have formed a “Jobless Youth Society”.

We have formed this society to be a civilized means for Yemeni jobless females to demand their legal and constitutional right to get job, said Bilqis Mobarak who talked on behalf of all members of the society.

Mobarak said that 60 girls at least have participated in the establishment of the society. She affirmed that the number of female graduates “who are at home without jobs is extremely large”.

The goal of our society is absolutely lawful. We clearly demand jobs for graduates of universities and institutes, Mobarak told NewsYemen.
According to Mobarak, hundreds of graduates, males and females, are jobless since eight years. “They submitted their job requests to the civil service ministry eight years ago and every year they have to renew the requests without any benefit”, she said.

Mobarak said the sums being excessively paid for officials could be allocated for more job opportunities, pointing that the society would continue to organize activities until concerned authorities meet the demand of jobless.

Rape Victim Victimized A Second Time by the State

Filed under: Women's Issues, Yemen, prisons — by Jane Novak at 5:43 pm on Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Amran, June 22 — Last Wednesday the First Court vindicated the person accused of raping Susan M.S. Al-Mudhla’, 19 years old. The vindication of the man came due to the lack of evidence according to the court, chaired by judge Abas Al-Washali, in Amran governorate north Sana’a.

The trial was held while the accused man and the lawyer of the victim, Jamal Al-Ja’bi, appeared in person along with human rights activists. After the release of the verdict, the lawyer of the victim requested the appeal.

Susan Al-Mudhala was subjected to sexual abuse when she was eight years old, according to Tiseer Al-Gabali, a lawyer and a human activist, Susan accused the 55-year-old Nasser Ahmed Zid, who denied the accusation, of raping her.

In a statement, the Sisters Arab Forum for Human Rights, which adopted this case, described the verdict as “arbitrary”. The statement also said, “This arbitrary verdict that vindicated the accused man came because the trial lacked the justice conditions.” It further explained that a lot of events were not taken into consideration and witnesses did not attend the trial especially the nurses of Amran hospital to which the victim was taken and where a medical report proved the rape case by the Russian doctor, immediately after she was raped.

This case had a large scale of interest among the public and the organizations of human rights over the year. Before the trial, the Sisters Arab Forum for Human Rights was afraid of the court verdict. The forum said that the case had engaged the public opinion and it lacked the fair trail conditions because the prosecution could not bring the witnesses to appear in person which is a negligence that revoked the fairness of the verdict that could not bring justice to the victim.


SANA’A, June 13- For 440 days the order of General prosecutor to investigate Anisa al-Shuaibi’s case is still not put into actions. Al-Shuaibi’s situation is unbearable, “Living unsecured without a family or a friend standing beside you is something agonizing especially once it happened for a woman,” said Al-Shuaibi, who claimed she was arrested illegally and raped by the Criminal investigation unit officers.

In a press release, Hood organization for Defending Rights and Freedoms complained of disregarding Al-Shuaibi’s case for 440 days, though the General prosecutor ordered the investigation with the director of General investigation unit in Sana’a; Rizq al-Jawfi.

Muhammad Naj Allawo, the director of Hood organization said that al-Jawfi will be submitted to the trail of Al-Shuaibi’s case on Sunday 17th of June.

Barman said that referring al-Jawfi to the trail while he is still occupying his job is another violation of the law. He must stop working, before he is referred to the judicial proceedings.

Al-Shuaibi questioned the reasons behind neglecting her case, “All people deserted me even my mother and close friends. Is that because I am asking for my simple rights which is to protect my rights and live in dignity among my family.” “Is it hard for the woman to talk about such issues? Do they want us to keep silent even once they are abused and raped?,” said Al-Shuaibi.

Al-Shuaibi in the previous two months moved with her two children Harun and Ream to three houses hoping to live safely in a place which no one knows her. She came back lastly to her own house because of the dare circumstances she lived in, “For more than five months I have no salary. Even the money for transportation I lacked it,” said al-Shuaibi. Abdul Rahman Barman, the attorney who is in charge of al-Shuaibi’s case, confirmed that al-Shuaibi is threatened everywhere. And, since the accusers are still free and faced no penalty, al-Shuaibi’s situation will be as it is.

Moreover, instead of investigating her case, her salary is cut and there is no a forward step in the case, each responsible person tries to cover the truth and slow down the case, according to Barman.

“The promises of aiding al-Shuaibi and protecting her were a lot at the beginning of the concerned case, however, this call is about to disappear,” said Barman.

Exremists Close Girls’ Summer Camp

Filed under: Al-Qaeda, Religious, Security Forces, Women's Issues, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 6:55 am on Friday, August 17, 2007

Its nice security is hunting the extremists, but have they reopened the school or did the extremists win this one?

SANA’A, NewsYemen

NewsYemen was informed that some extremists, may be belong to Hitat group in Abyan, have closed a school which was a summer center for girls in Khanfar district of the province and kicked them out.

The source told NewsYemen that security forces did not take any measures against to stop those extremists.
“Security apparatuses in Abyan know very well the identity of those people who raided the school and threatened girls while security watches”, the source said.

Deputy governor of Abyan Ahmad al-Barashi said that four armed men, he described as “religiously extremists”, closed a summer camp for girls in Khanfar district by force protesting to females’ camps in the district.

Al-Barashi said the security forces could arrest one and they are hunting the three others.

busted – Security sources in Abyan governorate on Sunday affirmed to that security forces arrested two persons involved in storming a summer centre for girls last Thursday and expulsion of the girls who were inside it.

According to the sources security men arrested the extremist persons Fahmi Ali Mohammed Ali and Wadhah Rashad Hayder who had stormed Al-Haseen Summer Centre for Girls and cause a state of panic among the girls participating in the centre in addition to stealing equipment of the centre.

The sources added that the two extremists surrendered themselves to chairman of social affairs committee of the local council at the district of Khanfar who in turn handed them over to the district’s security. The security at once began interrogation of the two persons who are thought to be affiliated to an extremist religious group which refuses the idea of opening summer centres for girls.

Yet More Institutionalized Gender Discrimination in Yemen

Filed under: Civil Rights, Civil Society, Media, Women's Issues, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 5:04 am on Tuesday, July 31, 2007

SANA’A, July 29 — A number of women journalists and civil society organization activists staged a sit-in on Wednesday before the Parliament in protest of discrimination against them.

Women Journalists Without Chains chairman Tawkel Karman noted that she came with other women to denounce the discrimination exercised by the government as it unblocked all news services provided through GSM companies with the exception of Women Journalists Without Chains news service because it is released by women.

Karman further hinted that it is time to support women especially when a woman is capable of possessing media means and has the ability to make the news, however, the government works against this wish.

She viewed the non-response of the government to the Parliament resolution calling for unblocking Without Chains news services to be evidence that we live in a uncontrolled state, where there is no meaning for the parliament’s unanimity or its resolutions.

In a copy of a released statement, Women Journalists Without Chains expressed its disappointment over the government not unblocking its news services, considering the non-acceptance of the government to give it the license to have a paper and the block of its news service as a loathsome discrimination, particularly when it deprives women from serving the society and raising the awareness of its members.

The statement also called on Parliament to work for the implementation of its resolution issued on July 16, which dictated lifting the block imposed on Without Chains news service.

Meanwhile, the organization called all women activists to participate in the women’s demonstration due to be staged before the Parliament next Sunday. They also called on media outlets to participate in covering the demonstration in defense of women’s rights. They further urged Yemeni Journalists Syndicate to work in removing the block imposed on their news service.

The sit-in scheduled for Sunday before the Parliament will include women sending letters to the members of Parliament demanding them to take a serious stand on the continued censorship of Without Chains. The women will then head to Freedom Square, before the Cabinet building, requesting implementation of Parliament’s resolution.

No Female Leaders, YO Reader Insists

Filed under: Women's Issues, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:51 pm on Sunday, July 29, 2007

But first a little on laws that relate to Yemeni women from the Yemen Times in an interview with “Shatha Nasir, one of Yemen’s most prominent human and women’s rights advocates. Nasir is particularly concerned with the defense of women who have been wrongfully accused of a crime.”

How do you find the Yemeni laws toward women?

Yemeni laws are enacted according to Shari’a (Islamic Law). The parliament works to issue these laws. They are good and suitable but violated by those in charge of their implementation.

For instance, Islamically there is no law that deprives women from inheritance. [Yet] male family members such as fathers, brothers and uncles refuse to give up the woman’s share. There is also a problem over the blood money of women. It must be equal to the men’s share. A woman’s loss cannot be compensated. The parliament must review some laws, including the law of women’s inheritance as well as that of blood money. Civil society organizations must work together and have united efforts to change and correct laws violating women’s rights, such as article 15 in the personal status law that encourages early marriage.

Women’s political participation committee meets – Participants in the campaign for supporting political participation of women in preparation for the upcoming parliamentary elections in Yemen in 2009 agreed Sunday to address a message of gentle blame to the president of the republic owning to continuous exclusion of women from any of the committees he forms, the latest of which the unofficial committee for following up his electoral program despite that his platform contains confirmation on the woman participation in the political, economic and social life and its necessity.

The Forum of Arab Sisters for Human Rights inaugurated Sunday at its headquarters in Sana’a a campaign of support for the woman political participation in preparation for the upcoming parliamentary elections. Chairman of the forum Amal al-Basha reviewed during the campaign the programme the forum carried out since 2000 in this regard and then mentioned the plans and programmes proposed for starting a campaign of support and empowerment of the woman in the political participation for the coming period.

Participants in the meeting demanded the political parties in power and opposition to adopt a mechanism for supporting and empowering the woman for taking part in the elections away from accounts of powers and criteria of gain and loss. The meeting also criticised the religious address inside and outside the parties that denies and rejects the woman participation in the political process.

The following is a letter to Yemen Observer:

Female circumcision is part of the Islamic teachings. This is a fact, which does not have a space in your Newspaper, or perhaps in your mind. Another fact, which is rejected by people like you and it cannot be a piece of journalism, is that women can not be selected as a leader or a judge. Why? Because Muhammad said that she cannot be selected. This is a basic fact. Another fact is shaking hands with men and women is not OK as presented by your newspaper. Those are facts in our religion. Do you see them as facts? The definition of facts by secular nations is what is proved by science.

Did seculars prove the existence of God scientifically? NO. That is why God is not a fact. Egypt is not the Kingdom of Islam and Muslims and it is not the reference of our law [YO: so the teachings of Egyptian Islamic clerics should not be regarded as authoritative]. Egypt was and still is the target of missionaries and other Westernizing organizations as Yemen now is. I already informed one of the religious counselors in Yemen about published religious issues in your newspaper like fighting circumcision, shaking hands with men and women and similar issues and I was asked to write to your newspaper and see if you will cooperate and publish facts about Islam not personal opinions. Facts that are described by Islam, not by others. The good news is that we can stop you.

This is what I did not know. The counselor told me freedom of speech in Yemen is not like the USA. Freedom in Yemen does not mean to fight religious practices. One of the Arabic newspapers stopped publishing similar issues because we did not let them corrupt people’s minds. It was easier to write to them, of course, because we did not face the English writing problems. I am really struggling to find time for all this. But I think I should, or I must. Anyways, I hope we will not find in your newspaper soon a call of equality for homosexuals to get married!

Yemeni Women Missing from Yemeni Public Life

Filed under: Women's Issues, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 10:04 am on Saturday, July 21, 2007

Gulf News:

Sana’a: The political participation of women is still very weak in Yemen, said a report yesterday.

“Women’s participation is 0.3 per cent in the parliament, and 0.08 per cent in local councils, and their representation in the executive, judiciary and political parties is very low as well,” said the report which was released by the Arab Sisters’ Forum for Human Rights, a local NGO concerned with women’s affairs.

The report, termed as the second shadow report on the implementation of the Convention of Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), confirmed that illiteracy was still very high among women in Yemen. (Read on …)

Rural Yemeni Women Work 17 Hours a Day

Filed under: Electric, Water, Women's Issues, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 5:20 pm on Sunday, June 17, 2007

Seven hours a day hauling water – A new field study prepared by a number of researchers and academicians disclosed that 98% of women loving in the rural area of Wisab, 180km to the west of the city of Thamar, spend more than 17 hours daily in hard works inside and outside the house.

The study conducted by Dr Mohammed al-Shiaibi at the college of administration sciences at Thamar University in Yemen and a number of researchers on the social and economic situations in the areas of Wisab, pointed out that women spend most of the time in working outside the house to bring the needs of their houses. Those needs are mainly bringing water from far and rugged areas, collecting fire wood, repairing agriculture terraces and preparing them as well as plowing them. The women also work in grazing, raising children, doing household works and carrying out many tasks supposed too be done by men in following up many of the daily life affairs.

The study confirmed that the women in Wisab face many difficult circumstances and harsh living conditions as well as the hard daily work and challenges such as the death of high proportion of expectant women and 50% of them get infected with various types of diseases, physical and psychological. The average rate of the woman age there reaches at 45 years and a high proportion of them lack education and qualification.

The study says abstention from education is attributed to lack of schools for girls in that area because all schools there follow co-education system in addition to that there are no facilities to employ girls graduated from secondary schools and there are no establishments for higher education nearby the area. This is reflected negatively on newly enrolled girls. According to the study, many people of the area see girls education as a kind of a waste of time added to that the early marriage.

The study ascribed reasons f diseases spread to malnutrition, absence of balanced food meal, fatigue in work and ignorance in addition to far distances between health establishments limited services.

Using Religion to Justify Violence Against Women Must End: HR Minister al-Ban

Filed under: Religious, Women's Issues, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 7:29 am on Thursday, May 31, 2007

double punkification


HR Minister calls for exposing prejudiced use of religion against women
Wednesday, 30-May-2007 – Human rights Minister Huda al-Ban called Wednesday on all educational and media institutions in Yemen and the Arab world to take stances supportive to the woman rights in the essential issues and to unveil types of violence directed against the woman. she also called for facilitating impediments blocking the woman rights to political participation in order to establish comprehension of her different issues in addition to improving knowledge of her needs. She also asked for issuing legislations and decisions for her protection and to toughen punishments against practicing family and social violence against her.

That came in the Minister’s speech she delivered at the opening of the regional conference inaugurated Wednesday in Sana’a under the motto “Together to end violence against the woman”. The Human Rights Minister called on all Arab organisations to organize aware campaigns in order to activate agreements on ending all forms of discrimination against the woman and the necessity of deepening mechanisms of coordination among organisations working in the field of woman rights and exchanging information, especially regarding the efforts exerted for developing a system of laws of personal status.
She stressed that these organisations should give especial attention to the issue related to violence against the woman in addition to exposure of the prejudiced use of religion and legal interpretations in an attempt to give legitimacy to lower status of the woman and called to benefit from religious men to open dialogue with trends that are more open and enlightened. She pointed out that all forms of violence against the woman are considered a major cause in tearing off the fabric of the family and a factor to displacement of children and depriving them of the simplest needs of safe childhood.

The Human Rights Minister said” Despite the noticeable progress achieved for the Yemeni woman in the previous years in all walks of life, the human rights of the woman, as is the case for her Arab sisters, remain the weakest aspects of human rights and most fragile because of a historical heritage curbing the woman’s progress towards equality and depriving her of enjoying the relative gains she got.”

The Minister added among the main indicators of the woman exposure to violence is the violence represented by physical violation against young females. She pointed out that present evidence indicates that the Arab woman, especially in the rural areas, is still exposed to many types of social, family and economic violence and it is embodied by the physical harm, early marriage, deprivation of education, preliminary health care services, imposition of duties heavier than her physiological and psychological capabilities although there are relevant legal texts concerning the achievement of justice and equality between the man and the woman. She said protection of the woman against violence is the essential means for removing the difficulties that restrain development of the woman in various social and legal aspects.

In the same context the chairwoman of Yemen Women Federation Ramziyah Al-Eryany said dissemination of the phenomenon of female circumcision in Yemen is attributed to negative cultural accumulations and ignorance of the society of the legal rights of the woman and confusion between the inherited accumulations and the correct Islamic religion texts.

She has also attributed that phenomenon in Yemen to being acquired from the African migrations, citing that by spread of this phenomenon in the coastal regions. She added that despite the Yemeni government efforts for putting an end to this phenomenon it is still practiced secretly in houses without knowledge of health authorities.

On his part the assistant representative of the UN Fund of Population in Yemen Saleh Bi Al-Sheikh said the violence directed to the woman and girls is unacceptable and will not be tolerated, calling all to join forces in order to change the deep-rooted trends that consolidate the phenomenon of female circumcision.

Yemeni Ministry of Information Doesn’t Understand Press Law

Filed under: GPC, Media, Women's Issues, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 7:15 am on Monday, May 14, 2007

The good news from this YT article is the new PM ordered the Information Ministry to issue the license, however they decided not to and based the decision on an ignorant or farcical reading of the press law.

SANA’A, May 13 — As a follow up of their case against the Ministry of Information, journalists, civil society, political leaders and others lead by Women Journalists Without Constraints organization protested in front of the Ministry demanding it to adhere to the Prime Minister’s instruction. The journalists had protested last Saturday in front of Yemen’s Information Ministry and Prime Minister Ali Mujawar’s office demanding him to interfere in the oppression against the organization.

As a consequence of the previous protest, a delegation of five representatives to the prime minister to explain the issue of granting newspaper licenses in general and the WJWC issue in particular resulted in him explicitly instructing the ministry to grant the group a newspaper license quickly and without hindrance. An instruction that met a dead end at the Ministry of Information.

Commenting on the WJWC issue and the protest, Ibrahim Abdulhabeeb, general director of the Information Ministry’s Press and Publications, commented: “The application was rejected because organizations and associations are only allowed to issue a private newsletter with limited circulation to their members to highlight their activities, unlike political parties, which are allowed to have their own general political newspapers.” He justified this, commenting that since there are more than 6,000 organizations in Yemen, it’s nonsense for all of them to have licenses to establish newspapers.

However, article number 40 of the Press Code contradicts this allegation as it clearly stipulates the right of organsiations among others to issue their own newspapers, confirmed Dr. Mohammad Al-MIkhlafi head of the legislations department at Sana’a University. (Read on …)

Shadow Female Parliament Planned

Filed under: GPC, Parliament, Women's Issues, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 6:55 am on Monday, May 14, 2007 – Director of the Democracy School in Yemen, an organisation concerned with democracy and human rights, said Saturday that all arrangements are completed for a project of woman parliament in Yemen.

Director of the School Jamal al-Shamy told the goal of the parliament is qualification of women to take part in the parliamentary experiment of 2009 considering the present parliament as not having women MPs except the one MP Oras Sultan Naji representing the General People’s Congress.

On her part the director of the woman parliament project said the woman parliament aims at the 162 Yemeni women who nominated themselves in the previous parliamentary and local elections, and who represent different political parties. The aim is to make them engage in the election process of parliament and local elections that Yemen is experiencing as part of the democratic pursuit the pillars of which have been laid by President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Ms Muna al-Harithi added to the projects aims at preparing women to participate in the parliamentary process of 2009 without the need for their partisan qualification. There will also be discussion of the woman issues every three months by holding one meeting every three months as well as encouraging the woman to elect women regardless of the partisan affiliation, affirming that the project will not confine the woman inside one closed circle but rather would unleash the woman abilities to interact with the issues undertaken by the parliament as a legislative power.

She said the project will begin next August by holding the first meeting of the parliament to be chaired by the eldest member and to elect speaker and her two deputies. Participants in the parliament will be informed that the shadow parliament is a non-governmental and non-partisan establishment even if some of its members are party affiliates. Also, she said, the meeting will discuss and define the form in which announcement of results of meetings as well as proposals and ideas in addition to providing necessary mechanisms for continuation of this experiment.

al-Mithaq via YT

Manager of Woman Department at the Supreme Commission for Election and Referendum (SCER) Elham Abdulwahab said the Yemeni Woman Political Empowerment Program aims to nominate as many as 66 qualified women for the coming parliamentary elections through three mechanisms, the ruling party-affiliated weekly reported on its front page. It quoted Abdulwahab as saying, “The SCER is due to start implementing the project in the middle of 2007 and until the middle of 2008. The project includes the training of 66 women, with an average of 3 women from each governorate, in coordination and cooperation with civil community organizations and political parties and organizations.”

The woman leader continued to say that the project carries a new vision on how to ensure increase of women seats at Parliament in the coming parliamentary elections, scheduled to take place in 2009. According to Abdulwahab, the project is a summary of three national legislative components, as well as international conventions and agreements approved by Yemen.

Yemen Among the Worst Places to be a Mother: Study

Filed under: Medical, Women's Issues, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 9:53 pm on Thursday, May 10, 2007

Yemen 138 out of 140 countries

Save the Children

Westport, Conn. (Tuesday, May 8, 2007) — Save the Children, a U.S.-based independent global humanitarian organization, today released its eighth annual Mothers’ Index that ranks the best — and worst — places to be a mother and a child and compares the well-being of mothers and children in 140 countries, more than in any previous year.

Sweden, Iceland and Norway top the rankings this year. Niger ranks last among countries surveyed. The top-10 countries, in general, attain very high scores for mothers’ and children’s health, educational and economic status. The 10 bottom-ranked countries — nine from sub-Saharan Africa — are a reverse image of the top 10, performing poorly on all indicators. The United States places 26th this year, tied with Hungary.

Conditions for mothers and their children in countries at the bottom of the Index are grim. On average, 1 in 13 mothers will die in her lifetime from pregnancy-related causes. Nearly 1 in 5 children dies before her fifth birthday, and more than 1 in 3 children suffers from malnutrition. About 50 percent of the population lacks access to safe water, and only 3 girls for every 4 boys are enrolled in primary school…..

The status of mothers was compared in 140 countries based on the following indicators of women’s and children’s well-being:

Lifetime risk of maternal mortality;
Percentage of women using modern contraception;
Skilled attendant at delivery;
Female life expectancy;
Expected number of years of formal schooling for females;
Ratio of estimated female-to-male earned income;
Maternity leave benefits;
Participation of women in national government;
Under-5 mortality rate;
Percentage of children under age 5 moderately or severely underweight;
School enrollment ratios;
Ratio of girls to boys enrolled in primary school and;
Percentage of population with access to safe water.

Domestic abuse in Yemen

Filed under: Women's Issues, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 7:22 am on Monday, April 30, 2007

70% of Yemeni women are beaten by their husbands or fathers, is that what this article says?

SANA’A, April 29 — Yemeni women are subjected to repeated abuses and violence, according to a survey conducted by Yemen Female Media Forum over the first three months of 2007 in 18 governorates. The survey results were discussed at a symposium Sunday in the presence of women leaders and activists from different civil community organizations.

The survey revealed that 31 percent of those interviewed (165 cases) complained that illiterate women are subjected to abuse more than other groups, followed by high school leavers from the viewpoints of 20.5 percent of the sample. 14.8 percent of the informants noted that girls enrolled in primary schools suffer human right abuses and violence mostly by their own families and male relatives. The post graduate students registered the lowest cases suffering abuse and violence while there is no even a single abuse case among women holding Ph.D. degrees.

The poll disclosed that women living in rural areas have no access to healthcare and most of them deliver at home unattended due to the lack of medical staff in their areas, coupled with the indifference and poor living standards of their husbands. While those living in cities, the survey clarified, enjoy good access to healthcare but don’t escape abuse and violence.

The survey showed the type of disabilities among women, which are symptomatic of abuse, violence and mistreatment. Such disabilities include speaking and hearing impairments, limp, fracture of arms and mental disorders. Based on the survey’s results, women are denied the right to work after marriage, particularly in rural and remote areas where there is no enough awareness about human rights and equality.

More than 87 percent of those surveyed said that families are responsible for abuse and violence against women, as 191 of the registered cases, accounting for 35.9 percent of the total sample, complained that they are abused by their husbands while 186 of the registered cases (34.9) told that they are mistreated by their fathers.

Non-family abusers are responsible for 62 abuse cases (11.6 percent), the survey indicated, adding that all the mistreatment and violations are committed at work by employers or bosses. 11 cases (2.1 percent) were committed by unknown abusers. The authorities including the ruling party, police, and prosecution have a hand in women’s mistreatment and sufferings. The survey listed psychological problems, economic, and social deterioration, physical injuries and home eviction as some of consequences associating with violence and mistreatment.

According to women, who complain of abuse and violence, the community culture, poor awareness about women’s role and disrespect for women’s status are some of the reasons behind the increased numbers of abuse cases. Other causes of violence and mistreatment include the absence of legal institutions as well as alcohol and drug abuses.

More at the YO:
(Read on …)

Profiles in Courage

Filed under: Women's Issues, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 11:03 pm on Thursday, April 5, 2007


Yemeni women’s activists have reached a strong point of empowerment, even if they still are far behind compared to the developed world. Not only are they armed with their beliefs and dedication to their own causes, but the continuous violence to which they are subjected makes them even stronger. Sisters Arab Forum invited several Yemeni women activists who’ve been harassed for what they think and believe to tell their stories – their testimonies over time.

Arwa Othman: Losing my religion

Arwa Othman is a free-spirited young writer who paved the way for women writers after her. She has a philosophical mind, but this meant trouble because she would question and that didn’t please the ones who didn’t want to be questioned.

Her liberal attitude and rebellion against wearing the hijab since her college days subjected her to insults from a dreaded triangle: fundamentalists, community men and government security. Her writings criticizing the government only made things worse for Othman as she found herself the subject of philosophical analysis of her character and mockery in official newspapers.

Stereotyping of women writers, which limits their input to social and family issues, was the main obstacle to her writing career. However, she crossed gender lines and began writing about politics, causing a backlash. She was even said to have lost herself to the devil.

Othman’s daily struggle with those who don’t approve of her displaying her hair in the open isn’t only with so-called grownups. “Neighborhood children run after me, telling me to repent. Even a madman with dirty clothes once pushed me to the ground, shouting at me to cover my hair. And, I keep getting emails from people gently asking me to rethink my choices and others that are very hurtful.”

However, what helps her get by are her strong beliefs, reading and writing. Othman believes that with more reading and awareness, the world can change and become a better place.

Huda Al-Attas: Dancing with angels

Coming from such a conservative area as the Hadramout, Huda Al-Attas was bound for the same fate as many of her peers; however, her mother rescued her from being married at age 12.

“My father was adamant on getting me married, but my mother would have nothing of it and encouraged me to continue my education. She even bought me a bicycle and when the woman next door disapproved, saying that I would lose my virginity due to riding it, my mother bought me a bigger, prettier one! It was then that I knew I was different and would have to challenge my way to freedom,” Al-Attas fondly remembered regarding her mother.

Al-Attas began her writing career at an early age, which was when her attacks also began. She heard her name many times during preaching at Friday prayer as an instigator of sin. The attacks became aggressive after she wrote an article saying that women’s faces are the titles of their souls and should unveil their spirits. In the same article, she described little children dancing with angels.

Although the religious preacher condemned the subject of angels in her story, she was sure what really angered him was the call for women to unveil their faces. Al-Attas was called an infidel, criticized that her romantic writings were blasphemy and eventually put on the death list by extreme fundamentalists.

“So many nights, I stayed up thinking that tomorrow I could be killed. I know my phone calls are being taped and even when I talk to my husband, I become curt and dry, knowing there’s a third ear listening to our most private conversations,” she says.

Samia Al-Aghbari: White flesh

It all started when, as a free journalist, Samia Al-Aghbari criticized President Ali Abdullah Saleh for changing his mind and running for office in the 2006 presidential election. In her article published in an opposition newspaper, she denounced claims that without Saleh, Yemen would have no future and said there would be a future with his opponent, Faisal Bin Shamlan.

As a consequence, the government-affiliated tabloid Al-Destour attacked her dignity, alleging that she enjoys white flesh via immoral relations with Egyptian and Syrian men. Such attacks are a clear breach of the Yemeni Constitution and laws, so Al-Aghbari was courageous enough to take the issue to court.

Al-Destour Editor-in-Chief told the interrogator that when he wrote “white Egyptian and Syrian flesh,” he meant chicken, which he knew Al-Aghbari liked. “Little did he know that I was a vegetarian and have never been outside Yemen in my life!” she commented on his lame excuse.

He then accused her of plotting against Yemeni unity and the principles of the Yemeni revolutions. The case is being held for sentencing.

Explaining how it’s been since then, she says, “Security came to my house several times and threatened that since my father didn’t know how to discipline me, they would. My extended family has turned against my father for supporting me and allowing me liberty to write. Although my parents are a little apprehensive now, they still support me and I’ll continue what I do, no matter what it takes.”

Hanan Al-Wadie:

Abducted innocence

On March 17, Hanan Al-Wadie left her office at Rada Barnen – Save the Children Sweden and got into her car to drive home. She begins her story: “It was around four in the afternoon and when I got into my car, several men wearing casual clothing surrounded my car and demanded I get out and go with them in their car, which was parked next to mine.”

Terrified at the situation, she refused to do so and locked herself in her car. The men began shouting at her to get out and people started gathering to watch the scene. A police patrol car stopped nearby, so Al-Wadie felt some relief and decided to beckon them to help her.

“I lowered my window a little so they could hear me and shouted for the police to help me because the men wanted to take me with them, but I didn’t know who they were. One of the men told me they were from political security and slid his arm through the opening, unlocked my car and opened the door. In no time, I was heaved from my car by the four men while screaming and kicking,” she recounted, nearly in tears at the memory.

The bystanders didn’t lift a finger and she was astonished to see the police allowing the political security men get away with their crime. Once in their car, they took her purse where she had her mobile phone and drove to a destination unknown to her. She heard one of the men talking on his mobile phone, saying that they had the girl and were on their way to the central prison.

“When I heard the word prison, my heart sank because of the frightening stories I’d heard. I asked them what my crime was and they said they didn’t know anything, they were just following orders,” Al-Wadie said.

When they reached the prison, while waiting for an officer to show up, Al-Wadie summoned her courage and slowly withdrew her mobile from her purse, which had been dropped near her carelessly. Since they didn’t allow her to call anyone, she had to pretend she was talking to them once she dialed her family’s number.

“I left the line open and kept repeating: ‘Why was I brought to the central prison? Why won’t you let me call my family? What’s my crime? Let me go home.’ They soon discovered my trick and took away my phone, but by then, I hoped my family knew what was going on,” she narrated.

The whole ordeal lasted a little less than two hours and eventually, the officer told her to just go home with no explanation and no apologies. “After two hours of emotional torture, they told me I could go home. I even said thank you,” she concluded.

Afra Hariri: Alleged spy

Afra Hariri is a lawyer from Aden. Her work in the public sector began early through her active role in the south’s Yemeni Women’s Union. She established a shelter for women ex-prisoners who were rejected by their community and didn’t have anywhere to go.

Through her work in defending human rights, she was a constant threat to those who didn’t respect human value. Her enemies, mostly those in decision-making positions, didn’t spare any method to make life hard for her, even alleging her to be a Jew and a spy for enemy organizations. More than once, she was summoned for interrogation and pressured by those at the governorate level to “play by the rules.”

One of the most difficult times for Hariri was during the women’s union’s elections, wherein she was subjected to a massive defamation campaign in order to be removed from the union. Although such campaign succeeded, she continues working for Yemeni women as both a lawyer and manager of the women’s shelter in Aden.

Amal Al-Basha: Naked truth

“I was a troublemaker since I was a college student in Cairo in 1985, although all I really did at that time was create an alliance with students from South Yemen and join their union. Since then, I’ve been on the blacklist until today,” explains Amal Al-Basha, director of the Sisters Arab Forum for Human Rights and a well-known Yemeni activist.

Al-Basha was threatened that once she returned home after completing her education in Egypt, she would be thrown in prison. “One female Yemeni student came to me and said: I have a message for you. If you don’t stop what you’re doing, they’ll shave your head and put you in jail.”

Luckily for her, political security simply interrogated Al-Basha once she stepped onto Yemeni soil, thus saving her hair, which she happily displays today. However, despite her strong credentials, she was discriminated against when applying for government positions, as per security reasons.

Despite not wearing hijab, she has managed to create bonds with numerous citizens across the country. “Even the most conservative men and women are able to see beyond the fact that I don’t cover up like most Yemeni women. They realize that I have a mission and I’m working on their side in order to assist this country’s development.”

Actually, Al-Basha didn’t make tabloid headlines until she advocated Yemen’s joining the International Criminal Court by holding a seminar on the issue in 2006. Since then, she’s become a regular feature in newspapers such as Akhbar Al-Youm, which termed her as a “naked woman” working with the CIA, among other claims.

Al Basha’s share of defamation increased after she and other activists campaigned against an influential man who raped an 8-year-old child named Sawsan.

Commenting on the religious attacks against her, she says: “I’m always under attack by those who claim themselves as the imposers of God’s rule on earth. One thing I need to tell such people is that Islam isn’t only theirs so that they can say who is a good Muslim or not. Islam is a religion for all. It’s time they backed off and let people live and think for themselves!”

Radhiya Shamsheer: Midnight call

Radhiya Shamsheer can be considered as one of the pioneers in the Yemeni women’s movement way back to the ‘60s and ‘70s. She created a popular committee to evaluate society’s requirements in order to direct governorate funding for citizens’ best interests.

More than once, she ran in parliamentary and local council elections, but failed due to lack of support from both the government and political parties.

One of the most hurtful memories Shamsheer has is when security demanded she prove her Yemeni nationality. This hurt her deeply because her family was well known and members of her family fought in the independence war and lost their lives for this nation that now wanted to deprive her of her nationality.

Shamsheer is well educated and brave, a combination that has helped her many times during her rights struggle. At one point, security banged on her door at midnight, demanding she accompany them for interrogation. Knowing well her rights, she told them it was against the law to summon anyone for interrogation after 6 p.m. and thus, illegal. Shamsheer told them to get lost and shut the door!

Rahma Hujaira:

Up against the president

Rahma Hujaira’s case is one of the well-known attacks against women journalists in Yemen simply because she started a trend of women journalists speaking against the president and consequently, was defamed by a low-level newspaper called Al-Bilad in 2005. The newspaper alleged her to be indulging in red nights with drunken men, further describing her husband as naive and without pride to allow his wife to participate in such immoral practices.

However, such defamation became a reason for the world to respect Hujaira even more as her story was reported in both national and international human rights reports. The media community came together in her support and because of the ill-meaning articles, Hujaira became an international heroine.

She took up the issue in court, however until this day, the Yemeni judiciary hasn’t ruled in her case.

Tawakul Karman:

The daring journalist

“All of the people in my country are violated. In fact, what we receive as women journalists is only a fraction of that to which male journalists are subjected. That’s why I don’t consider myself violated because I’m simply part of a completely wounded nation.”

Tawakul Karman is a daring journalist and founder of Female Journalists Without Chains, a media organization promoting freedoms and human rights. However, Karman has received her fair share of attacks through the same medium she uses to promote freedom – newspapers. It all started when she criticized the ruling system and the nation’s poor management. She was defamed severely in the government-affiliated yellow journalism outlets.

“They said I brought shame to my family and dishonored my father. They accused me of having suspicious relations with the Americans and that I only pretended to be a Muslim while I kept throwing myself into men’s arms,” she explained.

Karman is one of very few Yemeni women who removed her face veil publicly to prove that Islam doesn’t impose the face veil on women, so she used herself as an example. However, because of her strong opposition to the corrupt government, she was hindered in a new way.

“After half a year of establishing my organization, which I originally called Women Journalists Without Borders, I was deprived of a license, which was given to another pro-government group. So, I changed the name of the organization and started all over again. The government wasted more than six months of my efforts, but this only made me stronger,” Karman recalled.

Yemeni Women Speak About Violence

Filed under: Women's Issues, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 1:27 pm on Saturday, March 31, 2007

Sana’a, NewsYemen

In a women session organized in Sana’a on Thursday by the Arab Sisters Forum for Human Rights (ASF) under the slogan “Activists Against Organized Violence”, Yemeni females have narrated their experiences with different forms of violence.

The researcher and author Arwa Othman, head of the Popular Heritage House, talked about violence of authorities, some sheikhs and people who mistreated her in the past. She said some people used to despise her for her unveiled face and because she shows some of her head hair.

Once, a 4-year girl told me “my sister in Islam veil your face”, said Arwa.

Othman also talked about her failed marriage experience and how some people used it a justification to abuse her. “No day passed without tears on my pillow,” said Othman. She said that her writings in opposition papers caused severe violence against her even by intellectuals as she called president Saleh, who was at that time touring the Arab countries to activate the Arab reform initiative, to start internal reform first.

“Violence of street is the most dangerous one that women face in Yemen, said Othman. “A madman once shouted at me to wear veil.”

She said that she also faced “electronic violence” as she received emails from Yemenis and Arabs attacking her. “They said that I was against Islam and veil,” she said.

Hanan al-Wadei, an employee in a Sweden organization near the Iranian embassy in Sana’a, narrated her story with the political security that arrested her days ago charging her of contacts with the Iranian embassy.

She confirmed that she has not any political interests, but she strongly blamed those people who stood watching “kidnappers” who drew her out of her car claiming they belong to political security and that they had orders to bring her, without any proof document.

Al-Wadei said she was taken by force to the Political Security Prison for no rational reason only for security claims that she had visited the Iranian embassy. “What is amazing is that the claims were denied by kidnappers themselves,” said al-Wadei, appealing to president Saleh to investigate her kidnapping.

The speakers in the meeting agreed that family violence is the first to be faced by women. Huda al-Attas, member of the Yemeni Intellectuals and Writers Union, described how her father wanted her to marry as she was still 12 years and then how she was assaulted by mosques’ preachers for writing an article in which she called “angels to play with children”.

Chairwoman of the Yemeni Female Journalists Without Chains, Tawakol Karman, said she could not find herself offended in “an offended country in general”. “ I have received many critical messages about alleged relations with American and about my parent’s remorse to get a girl like me” said Karman. “But many Yemeni men face more violence than women.”

She also reported the difficulties she faced when she tried to establish her organization. “An official in the Ministry of Information told me ‘we will not give you the permission just because you are Tawakol,” she said.

Head of the ASF, Amal Basha, said that some newspapers described her as “ woman of bad reputation, bad color and bad smell.”

She said that she suffered a lot since she started her education in Cairo in 1985. She criticized the anti-woman behavior of the Yemeni security organization.

Women’s Rights in Yemen

Filed under: Women's Issues, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 7:31 am on Friday, March 30, 2007

Gulf News:

Sanaa: A group of relatively emancipated Yemeni women have said their rights are mainly violated by three groups in the society: extremists, conservative tribal shaikhs armed with old traditions and customs and security officials.

The group met on Thursday in Sanaa to make their sufferings public hoping to get at least moral help from the local and international supporters of women.

About seven women spoke at the meeting about harassment, abuses and violations they recently faced. Such abuses included defamation, death threats, insults and kidnapping.

The gathering came after the alleged violations against women’s rights reached a climax last week when an extremist accused a human rights woman activist of renouncing Islam. Such an accusation is risky to the woman, as some extremists do not refer to courts when they hear such accusations.


The women activists, who look forward to having full emancipation in a country where illiteracy among women is higher than 70 per cent, explained in the meeting the harassment they face in the street, job, university and schools from the people, including women, who still think it is shameful for women to get out of home.

Observers, however, attribute the violations of women’s rights to public life, illiteracy and backwardness rather than to religious and ideological views.

The women participants in the Thursday meeting blamed what they called “the official prevailing culture” for preventing them from effective participation in the development process. This culture obstructs women’s emancipation, they think.

“The official prevailing culture dictates that if a woman wants to write, she must only write on cooking and the kitchen affairs and cosmetics, etc, but she cannot express her opinion on political and social issues, – that’s a red line because that’s only for men not women,” said Arwa Othman in her presentation for the meeting which was organised by the Arab Sisters’ Forum for Human Rights, a women NGO concerned with women’s issues and human rights.

Othman, chairwoman of the Yemeni House of Folklore, a local NGO, said that the women who challenge the familiar traditions and customs are subjected to the vilest kind of violence in the streets.

“Violence of the streets is the worst kind of any violence. Every time we get out, we hear curses, bad words and some times they spit on us – the spittle of qat from a qat-high drunk driver or a religiously jealous man,” she said.

“The sexual harassment in public transportation cars are also very common, and if a woman raises her voice to defend herself, people will say: why you got out from home, you deserve it and even worse, they may accuse the woman of molesting the man!” she added.


“There have been some writers who support us, but they are unfortunately influenced by the same culture of decency and honour. Yes, we need advocacy, we need help, but as human beings, as citizens whose rights are violated; and their supporters should not interfere in my privacy whether I’m decent or not,” said Araw Othman, who is known for her liberal and critical writings that call for women’s emancipation.

In her lengthy presentation, Othman pointed out to an organised violence against women in Yemen.

“The reading and writing and believing in my issue are the only things that make me continue my life in such tough circumstances of organised violence,” she concluded.

The women activists whose rights were violated, in different degrees and different forms are : Hanan Al Wadi’e (human rights activist), Rahma Hujaira (journalist) Arwa Othman (writer) Intalk Al Mutwakel, Afra Hariri (lawyer) Rashida Al Qaili (writer), Radhia Shamshir, Samia Al Aghbari (journalist), Mahasen Al Hawati (journalist), Taqakul Karman (journalist) and Amal Basha (human rights activist).

Women’s Rights in Yemen

Filed under: Women's Issues, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 6:00 am on Saturday, March 17, 2007

Well this is good news.


After years of struggle to eliminate all forms of discrimination against women in Yemeni laws and practices, Yemeni women development reached an important milestone today. The approval of the legal amendments of clauses which discriminated against women in the Yemeni laws is underway and the Supreme Council for Women has issued a number of decrees in favour of women.

SANA’A, March 13 — The celebration of women’s international day in Yemen couldn’t be happier. The amendment of twenty-seven discriminative laws, which have been advocated by the Women National Committee (WNC) – the government machine to promote women’s issues – and women groups in Yemen were approved on Monday by the cabinet on its regular meeting and are on their way to approval by the Parliament. It even gets better, the Supreme Council for Women on 12th March 2007, held a meeting in which it decreed a number of regulations to support women’s issues in Yemen.

The Supreme Council for Women discussed an analysis of the action plan of WNC for 2006, the Action Plan of WNC for 2007, the evaluation of the National Strategy for Women Development- Gender Strategy. Consequently, it approved a decree on employment of women in the education sector in the governorates and rural areas, the establishment of WNC branches in Say’oun and the valley of Hadramout, the application of the free maternal delivery decree in all governmental health institutions, the approval of the training manual for gender budgeting, and the support of women role in the development process.

The meeting came as the final stop in annual conference WNC held in celebration of Women’s International Day under the theme: “Law, an Institutional Protection of Societies”. The two-day event that took place on 10-11 March 2007, under the patronage of His Excellency, Mr Abdul Qader Ba-Jammal, Prime Minister and Head of the Supreme Council for Women and in presence of His Excellency the Minister of Civil Service Mr Khaled Hamoud Al-Sofy.

In the event, participants highlighted the efforts to improve women’s conditions by presenting a series of working papers on issues of central value to women’s development, such as education, health and economic participation. The working papers were discussed and audience participation and feedback was encouraged. The discussions included evaluation of the women national strategy, report on women status in 2006, women political participation, business women and their role in the society, free delivery and women reproductive health, gender budgeting in education. A number of NGOs also participated by presenting their experiences in enhancing women development.

However, the main issue of focus was legal reforms to eliminate discrimination against women, which coincided with the conformity to the legal amendments by the Ministers Cabinet in their periodical meeting that was held on 5th of March 2007. This represented a huge step in line with women’s efforts and their continuous struggle to impose real equality before the law based on Islamic Shari’a and the values of Yemeni constitution aimed at equal citizenship as well as equal rights and obligations for both men and women.

The event was concluded with a vital set of recommendations in the different developmental areas of women advancement. In terms of the implementation of the Woman National Strategy, the WNC called upon the development of new legal and administrative mechanisms to oblige all governmental bodies to mainstream the strategy objectives into their plans through official obligations issued by the Ministers’ Cabinet and ministerial decrees to ensure the implementation of the objectives by the different ministries.

In terms of enhancing the governmental mechanisms of women development, the WNC emphasized the importance of upgrading the committee into a specialized ministry for women development as has been done in many other countries. They also stressed the significance of obligating ministries to include women departments in their administrative hierarchies and budget planning to act as executive mechanisms to the implementation of Woman National Strategy. In addition, WNC requested financial support for its governorates branches and the civil society organization that work effectively to enhance women development in urban and rural areas.

In line of women political participation, the WNC accentuated the importance of applying the quota system in the elected and non-elected state bodies and requested the civil society organizations to take initiative in imposing pressure and influence as well as continue their support and advocacy to increase the representation of women in politics. In addition, they emphasized on the representation of women at not less than 15% in the coming Perlman election and adapting an early support to the promotional and qualifying programs to a number of women personalities.

In terms of integrating women in the labor market and enhancing their chances in accessing resources, the WNC highlighted the importance of implementing the policies of the Third Five Year Plan to increase the Women Labor Force in a growth rate of 5% annually, focusing on increasing Women labor force participation at the sectors of education and health in rural areas. Additionally, the obligation of institutions and companies to create child-care centers if they possess more than 50 female employees (mothers); in accordance to the amended labor law No(5) of 2003 was emphasized.

The role of the media in advocating women development issues was also highlighted in terms of efficient coverage to gender issues in both audio and visual media and broadening the scope to present a balanced and positive perception towards women. Additionally, the adaptation programs advocating the dangers of early marriage by civil and governmental organizations to increase awareness and influence public opinion was urged.

In terms of equality in rights and the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women, the WNC pledged to the Parliament to approve the law amendments that has been confirmed by the Ministers Cabinet, as well as, calling upon the Ministers Cabinet and Parliament to take active measures to complete the necessary procedures to approve the suggested law amendment on the article (18) of the Personal Status Law No (20) for the year 1992 to determine marriage age.

In the scope of health, recommendations were made to extending the free delivery decree between health institutions and spreading the awareness on the decree content among the citizens. In addition, the effective execution of procedures to reducing mortality of mothers in accordance to the Third Five Year Plan Policies was stressed.

In the education field, more schools and education cadre for girls in the primary and high school education were requested specially in rural areas. Increasing the efforts of both governmental and civil society to compact illiteracy and increase the number of the non-illiterate ten times the current number was discussed. The WNC also called upon increasing the expenditures rates on technical education and vocational training, as well as, encouraging the admission of girls into specializations that supply the demand in the labor market. The WNC also called upon an equal opportunity for girls in studying abroad and scholarships to other countries in terms of the scholarship bodies and majors of specialization.

The event was also attended by representatives of international organizations, foreign civil society organizations, governmental bodies, Yemeni civil society organizations, members and heads of WNC branches, in addition, to correspondents of the press, news agencies, satellite channels and a number of honored guests.

Woman Allegedly Raped in Prison Gets Death Threats, Kids Beaten

Filed under: Targeting, Women's Issues, Yemen, prisons — by Jane Novak at 9:24 pm on Tuesday, March 6, 2007

CID fails appear in court:

Yemen Observer: Anisa al-Shuaibi, a woman who claims that she was physically abused and raped repeatedly in the Central Jail in Sana’a, has been receiving threats to her life, she said. “Four days ago, a man called my friend and threatened her,” she said.

Her friend, Nabilah al-Matari, 28, supports her story. “A man told me in the phone to stay away from Anisa. Otherwise, I will be killed along with her,” al-Matari said. The threats have made al-Shuaibi feel even more vulnerable. “My night is not a night and my day is not a day,” she said. “All the time I am afraid of an attack. “I was fired from my job and I have no one to support me financially,” she said. “Only Mohamed Naji Allawo and some lawyers from Hood organization supported me.” Her kids, Harun al-Shuaibi, 7, and Reem al-Shuaibi, 6, are not yet enrolled in school. “I am really scared to put them in school,” she said.

She said that beside the threats she exposed to, she is exposed to some financial temptations. “Once, I was going to buy myself qat and I found a man in a police car waving seemingly a lot of money in order to get me to drop the case,” she said. She has received many such offers. Al-Shuaibi said that she chewed qat to be able to forget her problems.
The head of the Criminal Investigation Unit, Rizq al-Jawfi, has denied Shuaibi’s allegations of abuse and has refused to show up in court several times.

When he did show up last Wednesday for questioning, prosecutors interrogated him without al-Shuaibi’s lawyers present, said Abdul-Rahman Barman, al-Shuaibi’s lawyer from Allawo Corporation for advocates. This is in violation of the law. “We have a lot of questions, we are hoping to ask him in front of the prosecution,” he said. “It is illegal to question al-Jawfi without the other side present,” he said. Other officers who are involved in Shuaibi’s case will be interrogated too. Al-Shuaibi says that her agony feels endless.

“I feel that I am lost, I submitted a request to get out of the country but there has been no response,” she said. Barman said that al-Shuaibi has indeed been exposed to threats. Once, when she was out, men broke into her home and they beat her kids as well as al-Matari’s daughter, and threatened to return and take the children, as a sort of message to her. The attackers also took photos of the children, possibly as an act of intimidation.

Al-Matari’s daughter was badly hurt in the attack, and al-Matari has requested a report for Al-Thawra Hospital on her daughter’s case. “We are now waiting for the report from the hospital, which has refused to release a report because they lack an official request from the police,” Barman said. Yemen Observer tried to contact Rizq al-Jawfi, the head of the Criminal Investigation Unit, but his phone was turned off.

Al-Shuaibi was arrested in 2003, and her case started in December, 2006. She was accused of kidnapping and killing her ex-husband, but cleared for lack of evidence against her. She has filed a suit against the head of the criminal investigation service, claiming that she was unfairly arrested, abused, and raped by her jailors.

Men from the criminal investigation service arrested al-Shuaibi in 2003, after her ex-mother-in-law accused her of murdering her former husband. Al-Shuaibi was cruelly treated by the arresting officers, she says. She also claims that her jailers raped and sodomized her after drugging her into unconsciousness.

13 Woman on Islah’s Shura Council

Filed under: Islah, Women's Issues, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:09 pm on Friday, March 2, 2007

from the Gulf News:

Sanaa: A total of 13 women were elected to the 130-member Shura Council (the central committee of the party).

This was 10 per cent of the members, which was 5 per cent less than the percentage sought by women and their supporters inside the party.

Former president of women’s wing in the party Amat Al Salam Raja ranked 10th of the 130 members of Shura Council, according to the number of votes each member received.

The high popularity of Raja (the large amount of votes she got) clearly reflects the increasing understanding inside the party of women’s role in public life. Raja is known for her courage and boldness in demanding and defending the public rights of women. She has been lobbying with other parties and NGOs for women’s quota in decision-making positions.

Before election and during the working sessions of the congress which closed last Monday, there were serious arguments and debates about the role of women in politics and public life in general. About 600 Islah women members participated in the congress with more than 4,000 men.

Only one woman of the 600 women participants did not cover her face while others were covered in black sharshafs (full veils).

A congressman expressed his opinion on women saying “the best place for women is the house”. In her turn, a congresswoman refuted that citing verses from the Quran and Hadiths to support her view that the house is not the only place for men or women.

Women’s Issues

Filed under: Women's Issues, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 2:53 pm on Monday, January 15, 2007

Female Political Party:

A Yemeni woman announced Thursday her intention to establish a liberal political party to focus on realizing equality between men and women in Yemen. “Our party, the “al-Bushra Party”, aims to achieve equality between men and women, preserve our heritage, and enhance the rights of children,” said Sumaya Ali Raja, the chairwoman of the would-be party.

Al Bushra means “a good omen” in Arabic. Raja, who pursued higher education in the United States and has lived in France, announced her intention to establish this “progressive” party during a traditional Yemeni qat session, which she and her female assistant were the only Yemeni women to attend. Traditionally, women do not attend men’s qat sessions, and men do not attend women’s qat sessions. “I have the pleasure to welcome the first ever Yemeni woman to attend our Makyal (qat session), who is here to tell us about the new party she wants to found,” said Ali Saif Hassan, chairman of the Political Development Forum (PDF), which hosted the meeting.

Female Illiteracy:

About 46 percent of school-age children overall in Yemen are not enrolled in school. The situation is even more dire for girls in the countryside; a huge majority, 71 percent, still do not attend school, greatly contributing to the country’s illiteracy problem. The population of Yemen continues to rise exponentially, so there is a steady increase in the numbers of school-age children needing basic education.

Yemen’s population increases by 3.2 percent each year and schools have been unable to keep up with the increas. They are overcrowded, undersupplied, and often too far from rural people. The discouraging state of the education of girls in Yemen reflects a number of important factors. It reflects the particular difficulties of those who live in rural areas. About 77 percent of rural women are illiterate. And about 73 percent of Yemenis live in rural areas. In the case of men, only 28 percent are illiterate.

Female Attire

Young people in Yemen have been getting bolder in their fashions. Some women are wearing closer-fitting or embroidered baltos instead of looser dresses, and some men are wearing designer jeans instead of traditional male clothing — a focus on fashion which is drawing criticism from more conservative dressers.

These critics feel that by placing their attention on their exteriors, these young people are neglecting the spiritual and more serious matters. “I want to marry a girl from my village, because there are no good ones in Sana’a,” said Fuad Fahd, a student at the Languages College. “Most of them insist on wearing these shameful gowns (tighter baltos, for example) which make me become disgusted with every woman in the entire world. I try to avoid looking at them because their clothes make me curse them. But I think that they deserve such curses.” Other students are not quite so harshly misogynistic.

Female Candidates

The Islamic party, Islah, is set to nominate women candidates for the upcoming 2009 parliamentary elections. Mohammed Qahtan, head of the political department of the party, said that his party officials are convinced that women can be members of the legislative house. “A lot of debates and discussions were held within the party concerning the participation of women in the legislative house,” Qahtan said.

“In the beginning, it was hard to raise the issue. But now, after research and studies were conducted, we were able to convince the hardliners of the party that there’s nothing in the Quran and Sunna that forbids the participation of women.” Radical members of the party, including sheikh Abdul-Majid al-Zindani, chairman of the Shura Council of the party, are against women’s candidacy for local councils and parliament.

Qahtan said that the leadership of his party has been very sensitive to this issue, and has been able to have leading women be members of the party’s Shura Council, which was a huge success. Robin Madrid, former director of the National Democratic Institute, said in an interview with the Yemen Observer that political parties in Yemen have failed women and have been using them without acknowledging their political weight and value. “If they are going to nominate a woman,” she said, “they will just nominate her in the constituency they know they will lose.” “We have adopted the natural way of evolving,” said Qahtan, a moderate Islamic politician.

“We believe if we could not tolerate the radical opinions from our people, we will not be able to tolerate the liberal opinions of those who are outside the party.” Qahtan said that his party has been trying to break the illusion of some people who think that their opinions are God’s opinions. The Islah party is expected to hold its fourth general convention next February, when the issue of women’s participation is expected to be resolved.

Copyright (c) 2002 – 2006, Yemen Observer Newspaper

Female Prisoners

SANA’A, Jan. 13 — The illegal arrested, torture and rape of Anisa Al-Shuaibi represents the pitiful condition in which detainees live. She was accused of kidnapping and killing her ex-husband and endured the harsh prison conditions before finally being released after 48 days. The whole time her husband was actually alive in Jamal Jameel prison.

While imprisoned Al-Shuaibi was abused and raped and it was torture she should never have endured if the police worked her case correctly.

“Before arresting, police should investigate about the victim,” said Abdual Rahman Barman, one of the lawyers of Allow Corp. “Her former husband who was alive and jailed in Jamal Jameel until April 2003 while she was arrested in November 2002.” (Read on …)

Dhamar: Isolated with no services

Filed under: A-INFRASTRUCTURE, Communications, Electric, Women's Issues, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 9:00 am on Wednesday, January 10, 2007

AS: A recent survey prepared by academic researchers in Wessab Districts, Dhamar province, revealed grave deteriorations in essential services; education , public health, water and electricity.

It also pointed out that unemployment rate reach 60 % there, referring that deterioration to isolation, the area geographical distance , rough roads, drought and water scarcity.

It further confirmed that most area populations don’t get public positions and the number of employed people in the private sector don’t exceed 1 percent of the populations.

The survey also showed that those people registered in social insurance are few compared with other areas in the country.

Children trafficking

The survey said that hard poverty in Wessab caused trafficking of children to Saudi whereas traffickers exploit their conditions and traffic them .

Children laboring

The survey explained that 60 percent of children who must be joined school went to look for occupations in farming, building, transferring water and other rough works .

Women status

The survey also demonstrated that women in Wessab suffer much compared with their counterparts in Yemen since 98 percent practice rigid works such bringing water , collecting woods and culturing farming lands and animals . Additionally, they don’t join education and a big percentage of them are afflicted with various ailments Owing to malnutrition, poverty and illiteracy

Sheik al-Ahmar and the JMP

Filed under: Political Opposition, Women's Issues, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 10:15 pm on Sunday, January 7, 2007


YO: Sheikh Abdullah Bin Hussein al-Ahmar, president of Islah party and Speaker of Parliament said that the fourth conference of Islah party, to be held in February, will elect a new leadership for the party. The statement was considered by several political observers as an expression of his disappointment of the party’s performance during the latest presidential and local council elections.

They also attributed a lot of his disappointment to Islah’s coalition with other members of the Joint Meeting Parties. He added that the party has to elect a new leadership according to the laws of the Islah opposition party. Mohammed Qahtan, head of the political unit of Islah and one of the most prominent supporters of the JMP, refrained to comment on al-Ahmar’s statements. While a prominent ruling party leader said the announcements were a clear confession by the highest authority of Islah to the failure of the party in the presidential and local council elections.

Sheikh al-Ahmar added that the current leadership of Islah had played its role and that the gate was now opened for a new leadership. Al-Ahmar also described his party’s relations with the GPC as historical and solid. He added that his party’s relations with the JMP was new and initiated due to the new circumstances and realities Yemenis and Arabs in general live. “The party is scheduled to elect a new leadership,” al-Ahmar said.

“The issues in the Islah party are dealt with through democracy and flexibility.” In response to a question of whether the Islah is going to elect a young leadership, al-Ahmar said that the youth of his party are well qualified. “It was not the right time to talk about the possibility of my re-election.” Concerning the contribution of women in the political life and in the institutions of the Islamic party, al-Ahmar said that his party is opened to women more than any other party. There was nothing preventing women from holding leadership posts in the party, according to the sheikh.

“There is no one in the Islah that stands against this ambition and Islah won’t stand against woman ever,” confirmed al-Ahmar. Sheikh al-Ahmar slammed the security coordination between Yemen and the United States. He said that it was an evil thing Yemen could not avoid. “Yemen did not benefit from this coordination other than evil,” he said earlier to media. However he defended Yemen’s stance against terrorism saying, “If there were some youth who have been harming their country, Yemen knows how to deal with them.”

Woman’s Issues

Filed under: Donors, UN, Women's Issues, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:41 am on Monday, December 18, 2006

Progress on woman’s enpowerment in the Arab world is as hollow as progress on popular empowerment, says former Yemeni Minister of Human Rights, now director of the U.N. Development Program’s Arab bureau. WP:

Arab countries have made some advances in their treatment of women in recent years but have failed to significantly improve conditions for them, according to a report carried out under the aegis of the U.N. Development Program.

The report, released yesterday in Yemen, urges Arab leaders to make genuine changes and to reinterpret Islamic laws as a means to empower women.

Arab governments have “announced a host of reforms targeting freedom and good governance,” the report says. But “reforms often seemed empty gestures to cover up the continuation of an oppressive status quo.”

“Women are making gains, but they are not realizing their full potential yet in contributing to the prosperity and strength of their societies,” Amat al-Alim Alsoswa, director of the U.N. Development Program’s Arab bureau, said in a telephone interview from Sanaa, Yemen’s capital. “There is only partial progress. Women in the Arab world are moving closer to legal equality, but this is not enough.”

The report notes that political and military crises such as the war in Iraq and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are part of the broader context of development in the region. Arab leaders often blame such conflicts for delays in implementing reforms. But such crises do not absolve governments of their failures, according to Alsoswa. “We do not accept these issues as an excuse for not taking care of other problems,” she said. Alsoswa also said that although women’s participation in politics has grown in such countries as Morocco, Bahrain and Iraq, it is “still below what it is outside the Arab world.” (Read on …)

Head of Women’s Committee Urges Women to Seek Justice

Filed under: Civil Society, Reform, Women's Issues, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:11 am on Tuesday, December 12, 2006

NY: The head of the Women National Committee has encouraged the Yemeni women sector to continue seeking equality and justice in Yemeni community.
Equality between men and women is considered a basic condition to put into effect the development programs and operations and achieve justice and equality within its framework, said Rashida al-Hamdani.
Al-Hamdani said in an extended meeting on Saturday to launch the National Strategy for Women Development 2006-2015, called for removing discriminatory articles in laws, striving against all sort of violence against women and empowering them, economically, politically and socially, to have decision-making positions.
“When the Women National Committee asks for equality and justice it seeks rights guaranteed by Islam and the national constitution, said al-Hamdani.
She called for avoiding backwardness and bridging the gab bases on gender. She also called for involving the gender into the main executive policies and programs. “The Yemen woman is competent for trust so they should not be deprived from occupying high positions under weak pretext of cultures,” said al-Hamdani.
The National Strategy for Women Development 2006-212 was prepared by the Women National Committee in collaboration with the Untied Nations Fund for Population.
It focuses on poverty among women and their weak participation in managing economic and environmental resources in addition initiatives to avoid discrimination between both sexes and how to increase women’s participation in political life.

FGM and Honor Killings in Yemen

Filed under: Demographics, Religious, Women's Issues, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:04 am on Tuesday, December 12, 2006

I’m speechless for once.

The Australian:
SIHAM Rabiyah was 12 when her uncles sliced her genitals to uphold her family honour. She remembers the searing pain, the crowd around her and the blood, but little else about the day of her mutilation in the coastal Yemeni city of Aden.
One decade on, Siham is married with an infant son, living far away from her family home, but still haunted by her ordeal and trapped in a culture where women are routinely circumcised and “honour crime” is increasing.

From behind her black burka in Sana’a, the capital of Yemen, Siham says she wants to talk about what happened to her to highlight the practice of female circumcision, which is still ritually performed in many areas of coastal Yemen and throughout the Middle East. Women’s rights groups estimate that up to 25 per cent of Yemeni women have been circumcised, with numbers likely to be sharply higher in tribal areas outside their reach and the realm of health officials.

For many women in Yemen, the procedure is performed shortly after birth – not with the sharp edge of a knife, but with salt or warm cloths pressed repeatedly against an infant girl’s underdeveloped organs during the first 40 days of her life.

“They do it to try and stop the clitoris from forming,” said Amal al-Basha, head of the most prominent women’s rights groups in the eastern Arabian state. “It is a procedure that is done for weeks and sometimes months.”
(Read on …)

Yemen globally lowest in gender equality

Filed under: Demographics, Women's Issues, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:13 am on Wednesday, November 22, 2006

BBC reports on the World Economic Forum Survey on gender equality.

The four areas covered by the report include economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment and political empowerment, as well as health and survival.

The country ranked lowest is Yemen.

Divorce in Yemen

Filed under: Women's Issues, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 7:28 am on Monday, October 9, 2006


Divorce rates in Yemen have been rising over the last few years, tearing families apart and putting women in particular at risk.

Statistics from the Ministry of Justice show that in 2005, 3,260 marriages out of 48,085 ended in divorce. These numbers are up from 2004, when there were only 1,217 divorces out of 36,165 marriages, and also from 2003, when there were 1,457 out of 27,244 marriages, according to statistics from the Ministry of Justice. In Yemen, men can divorce their wives without asking for their consent. And often, this decision is taken too lightly, said Nabila al-Mofti, a lawyer. (Read on …)

One Year for Murder of a Wife

Filed under: Judicial, Women's Issues, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 7:38 am on Wednesday, October 4, 2006

YO: The Arab Sisters Forum for Human Rights (ASF) conducted a study on honor crimes. They found that most honor crimes against women were committed merely because of suspicion of the women’s sexual behavior. Any woman who draws suspicion, even if she is virtuous, could be at risk.

The study also disclosed that honor crimes are committed at all levels of society, said Nabil al-Mohamedi, a lawyer who participated in a public discussion on honor killings. He said that Yemeni law states that a man must be surprised and observed by four witnesses in the act of committing adultery with a woman, before accusations against the woman can be considered valid. Without four witnesses, a woman cannot be put to death. If relatives simply have suspicions about it happening, a woman should not be punished.

“The relative must be in the act of committing adultery and not be, for example, only in a shameful position or naked,” al-Mohamedi, said. According to the study, some girls are victims of honor crimes not because they practice deeds in conflict with laws or with Sharia, but because they refuse to yield to their families’ marriage decision. From the legal point of view, Article 232 of the Penal Code of Yemen states that “if a man kills his wife or her alleged lover in the act of committing adultery, or attacking them, causing disability, he may be fined or sentenced to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year.”

Unfairly, women are the only ones singled out for punishment for sexual crimes, while the men, even rapists, may be treated with impunity. Most of honor crime victims are women and most of honor crime perpetrators are men. “Everything shameful in Yemen has to deal with women. Men act as if they are forgiven by god, and have prior permission to follow their desires, even though some might be unlawful,” said Abeer Nasser, a university student who feels her own parents pay too much attention to her behavior, while her brothers are left free from their supervision.

Another Female Candidate

Filed under: Women's Issues, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 11:22 am on Monday, October 2, 2006

Threatening to cut the salaries of her supporters’ husbands is an example of politicized employment.

NY: Arwa al-Somat was one of independent female candidates who run for local councils on September 20. She was to win,but forging results and rumors against her made her fail, as she said.

In the constituency 232, Arwa was an independent candidate and did exert all the best to win. She said she spent only one million rials on her election campaign, but she could won 5800 votes.

Arwa said that rumor of “withdrwal from elections” that the ruling party, General People’s Congress, spread before polling caused her failure. “The GPC spread a false rumor that I withdrew from candidacy to make a room for its candidate, and GPC leaders in my area threatened my female supporters to cut the salaries of their husbands if they vote for me, in addition to cheating on the day of polling. All that influenced my supporters,” said al-Somat.

She siad that she complained to the Supreme Commission for Elections and Referendum, but it did nothing.
The second time I will run elections as GPC candidate. I am GPC member, but I failed because I ran elections as an independent after GPC refused to nominate me,”said al-Somat.
The GPC has not played the game of “withdrawal rumor” with al-Somat only, but with many other female candidates who competed its candidates, particularly those independents.


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