Friday, May 01, 2009

Call for reform to end discrimination in Yemen

In an admission that anti-Jewish discrimination is institutional, a workshop entitled “Jews of Yemen” held last Saturday in Sana’a called for constitutional reform. It also called for the goverment to ease the return of Jews living abroad to Yemen. From the Yemen Times, by the indefatigable Mohammed Bin Sallam:

"The workshop was organized by the Women’s Forum for Studies and Training and by the online news website Al-Tagheer.

"Attended by a number of human rights activists, the workshop called for a review of Yemeni constitution and laws that discriminate against Yemeni Jews. It demanded that the rights of the Jewish minority in Yemen are guaranteed as they are guaranteed to all Yemenis and to end all practices that violate these rights.

"The workshop also called on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Expatriates to deal humanely with Yemeni Jews who emigrate in the same way that they deal with all other emigrating Yemenis, and to give Jews all their rights as citizens. It also demanded that the two ministries follow up issues and concerns of Yemeni Jewish expatriates abroad and give them the opportunity to participate in all activities.

"Participants further demanded that the Ministry of Endowments should direct Imams and other lecturers to urge people to renounce hatred and discrimination and to call for tolerance, stressing the important role that mosques have in spreading such important lessons.

"Participants also called on civil society organizations to pay attention to the issue of Yemeni Jews, to stand up for their legal and constitutional rights, and to condemn any intimidation against them. They additionally called for school curriculums to be reviewed in order to eliminate the spread of hatred and discrimination against followers of other religions.

"They recommended that Yemeni Jews be involved in more public activities and called on parties to involve more Jews and to cancel any regulations that violate this right. They demanded that parties work on disseminating the culture of tolerance and renouncing violence through non-governmental organizations and media. Enhancing the role of media and highlighting principles of democracy for all people of the country, regardless of their religion, were also recommended.

"Participants further recommended the government demand Yemeni Jews living abroad to return to Yemen and to facilitate their return. They said that the government should work on highlighting the right to a decent life for all Yemeni Jews and should guarantee their involvement in political and administrative work. They called on the Ministry of Expatriates not to ignore Yemeni Jews abroad who hold the Yemeni citizenship."

Read article in full

No comments: