Yemen: Solidarity with democrats

14 February 2011

The Socialist International reaffirms its solidarity with progressive and democratic forces in Yemen, amongst them the SI member Yemeni Socialist Party (YSP), in the wake of renewed protests against the regime of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, calling for genuine change to take place, leading to a more democratic and open society.

At its Council in Paris on 15-16 November 2010, the SI called for the continuation of a process of dialogue between the authorities and opposition parties, and the recent agreement to resume those talks, which had been suspended since October is to be cautiously welcomed. However, the violent actions of riot police and security forces in dispersing legitimate and peaceful protest in Yemen is deplorable and exposes a clear lack of consistency between the words and promises of those in power, and the deeds of those who act on their behalf. In this context, and in light of previous unfulfilled promises, the declaration by President Saleh that he will step down at the end of his presidential term in 2013 – 35 years after coming to power – does not go far enough, and fails to address the valid concerns of many Yemenis. As noted by Yassin Noman, leader of the YSP, "so far everything that we've heard are just words, but we are waiting for action, we are waiting for [President Saleh] to deliver."

The demonstrations held over recent days and weeks across Yemen have shown a great desire for radical reform of the political system in Yemen, and the responsibility falls upon those currently in power to ensure that the voices of the Yemeni people are heard. This political reform must also be accompanied by enhanced respect for human rights in Yemen, where beating, torture, imprisonment and abduction of opposition supporters, human rights activists and other protesters has been commonplace.