Yemeni Women and Youth Leaders Chart the Path to Constitutional Reform

Posted on: April 28, 2012, by :

photoFrom the 4-6th June, Karama and the Swedish Institute, Alexandria held a three-day training program in Cairo with some of the key leaders from civil society in Yemen.

The program’s objectives were to provide an opportunity for 25 women and youth leaders from all areas of Yemen a thorough and tailored understanding of communication as it relates to politics and civil society, and to generate suggestions for increasing political and social rights under the new Yemeni constitution.

“It is important to give young people of societies in transition the opportunity to meet in order to get the kind of training which they have received here in Cairo. The energy of the Yemeni youth and women which has been displayed during this training program is truly inspiring and brings hope for the future of Yemen,” said Ambassador Brigitta Holst Alani, director of the Swedish Institute, Alexandria.

The participants released the following recommendations in four categories:

Civil Rights

  • Release clear constitutional guarantees to life, liberty, property, assembly, and protection of ethnic minorities
  • Include a clause that confirms Yemen’s commitment to international human rights conventions including the Convention of Ending All forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), Convention on Rights of the Child (CRC) and others
  • Mandate strong executive enforcement of existing human rights legislation

Women’s Political Participation

  • 30% quota for women in the national assembly
  • Guarantee women equal citizenship rights
  • Guarantee the right for a mother to pass Yemeni citizenship to her children, regardless of its father’s nationality
  • Enforce a marriage age to prevent early marriage
  • Raise the rates of alimony payments

Access to Information

  • Guarantee the freedom of scientific research
  • Guarantee all Yemeni citizens the rights to open access government information, with penalties in place for those who prevent this
  • Establish practical procedures to provide government information in cases where no official channel exists for information release

Rights of Children

  • Guarantee and make mandatory a high school education for all under 18s
  • Guarantee children’s right to health care and wellbeing
  • Forbid physical and emotional abuse of children, including use of child soldiers

Founder of Karama, Ms Hibaaq Osman, commented: “Yemen is currently undergoing a critical phase in its transition to democracy. Over the next year or two, Yemen will have a new constitution, a new government and a new civil society. These changes are exciting but they also represent great challenges. Karama wants to be at the forefront of overcoming these challenges in partnership with its Yemeni friends.”

For questions, to attend or to book a press interview after the program, please contact

We look forward to hearing from you.

About Karama

Karama is the Arabic word for dignity, and is an initiative fueled by a coalition of partners to build a movement to end violence against women in the Middle East and North Africa. Karama puts emphasis on women from the ground up, addressing violence as they define it, with solutions of their own design. Launched in 2005 to provide a framework for coordination, cooperation, and linkage among people working to stop violence against women, Karama has initiated an unprecedented range of multi-sectoral collaboration and advocacy by women across the region at the national, regional, and international levels.

About the Swedish Institute Alexandria

The Swedish Institute Alexandria was established following an agreement between the governments of Sweden and Egypt in 1999. The Swedish Institute Alexandria is an autonomous part of Sweden’s Foreign Service, with a Board and an Advisory Committee appointed by the Swedish government. The members of the Board have a background in Foreign Service, development co-operation, cultural exchange and research, and are representing Swedish government as well as non-governmental organizations.