Human rights advocates place little faith in new leaders in Yemen
Repressive security apparatus of former president largely intact
Human Rights Watch in a recent report contends that the dearth of meaningful reform in the protection of human rights and the rule of law in Yemen threatens political stability there. "While Yemen's new government has taken several promising steps, the repressive security apparatus of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh remains largely intact," Sarah Leah Whitson, HRW's Middle East and North Africa director said. Observers had met for two weeks in the Yemeni capitol of Sanaa.
After interviews with senior government officials, civil society leaders and other witnesses, HRW found that large gaps remain in government accountability, arbitrary detentions, children forced into the military, and judicial and legal reforms in Yemen.
Saleh and his political supporters were granted legal immunity last December in exchange for a new government under President Abu Rabu Mansur Hadi. According to human rights analysts, the progress made has been insufficient.
The reforms in Yemen, the poorest nation in the Arab League include a draft law that would open investigations into last year's government abuses and the authorization for a new office of the United Nations Office for the High Commissioner for Human Rights in the country.
After interviews with senior government officials, civil society leaders and other witnesses, HRW found that large gaps remain in government accountability, arbitrary detentions, children forced into the military, and judicial and legal reforms.
To date, no government or security officials have been charged with crimes that left hundreds of Yemeni citizens dead during last year's anti- government protests.
"Events in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya show that removing an authoritarian leader is only the first of many difficult steps . The best way for Hadi to gain the support of all Yemenis is to ensure their grievances are addressed," Whitson says.
Regional analysts have suggested that Saleh has retained a strong influence in Yemeni politics. "So far, all signs point to Saleh's unwillingness to give up his influence, especially as long as his political rivals remain active and in a position to dominate Yemen . Their continued presence represents a threat to the emergence of a stable political order in the country," Princeton Professor Bernard Haykel writes.
With extremely high levels of unemployment, food shortages, dwindling foreign exchange reserves, and an economy almost entirely dependent on neighboring Saudi Arabia for food and oil subsidies, Yemen's stagnant economy is just as worrying for some analysts as the growing political instability.
The International Monetary Fund approved $93.75 million dollars in assistance to Yemen to "address its urgent balance of payments needs." Other governments and international organizations such as the U.S., the European Union and the United Nations are in the process of securing additional funds in economic and humanitarian assistance to Yemen.
© 2012, Catholic Online. Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Yemen, new regime, reforms, political stability
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