Political Analysis

Academics and Researchers Offer Proposals for New Yemeni Constitution

National Yemen

Photo from archive, Yemen-National-Dialogue

20 Economic Articles and 16 Social Articles Promote the Values of Good Governance and Transitional Justice.

By Mohammed Al-Faeek

A lot of people in Yemen and the rest of the world are waiting for the new Yemeni constitution because it will come to meet the aspirations of millions of people. It will also determine the composition of the new federal state and include a list of rules based on justice, good governance, and a decent standard of living.

Therefore, a group of academics and researchers headed by Professor Hammoud al-Awdi have offered a set of proposals for the new constitution concerning the economic and social foundations and freedoms guaranteed for citizens in the new constitution.

A Law professor at Sana’a University, Dr. Mohammed al-Ghabri said that the proposals were drafted by experts and specialists in the constitutional, social, and economic fields. They depended on the most important decisions from the National Dialogue Conference (NDC) in the field of rights and freedoms, state-building, as well as from international conventions relating to human rights such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Charter of Economic and Social Rights, issued by the United Nations.

The proposals were announced by the civilian promotion network in cooperation with the response project in Yemen and American Development Agency through a press conference in the capital Sana’a.

Al-Thawra Arabic newspaper published the first part of the proposals, which include the economic and social rules for the new draft constitution.

  • Economic Rules:

1-  The economic system for the Federal Republic of Yemen depends on the principles of freedom and respect public and private property with taking into account the social dimension of poor and marginalized groups as well as implements all responsibilities of state, private sectors, and civil society organizations in order to achieve the principles of justice and social responsibility.

2-  Create a stable environment politically, militarily, economically, and socially which attracts local and foreign investment, maintains societal stability and provide opportunities for balanced, sustainable, and fair development.

3-    Provide a style of development which will be chosen by Federal Republic of Yemen under this Constitution:

  1. Justice and balanced development between regions to eliminate the great disparity between the layers of society.
  2. Sustainable development and the preservation of natural resources and the environmental and biological system.
  3. Fight against poverty and unemployment as well as use all natural and human resources.

4-    National wealth belongs to all citizens, without discrimination. The state must ensure fair and equitable distribution to them.

5-    Clarify the concept of social justice, the concept of partnership, and the multiplicity of the public, private, mixed, cooperative economic sectors, and joint-stock companies as well as develop them to achieve the tasks of economic, social, cultural sustainable development.

6-    All the natural economic resources of Yemen, whether in the air, the sea, or the land, belong to all Yemeni people. It must be distributed fairly among the population of the regions and the central authority.

7-    Apply the principles of good governance in all state authorities, the private sector, cooperatives, and civil society organizations.

8-    All facilities and public institutions must apply the standards of good governance and provide high quality services for all citizens without discrimination as well as receive the citizens’ comments and suggestions to improve the services provided.

9-    Paying taxes and fees from the sovereign resources of the state and region is a national duty, which must be performed by all citizens according to their resources. The law specifies the categories exempted and the punishments for those who don’t pay.

10  – Regional governments and the federal government present the general budget to the legislative authority, and the political parties and civil society organizations watch it and give their opinion before approval.

11  – Protection of public funds is a duty of every citizen.

12  – The national economy is based on the principle of freedom, social justice and social responsibility for national companies.

13  – Provide a healthy environment for every citizen.

14  – Conserving natural resources is the responsibility of the state and regional governments.

15  – Owners have the right to use freely their own property.

16  – Public debts of the state are subject to the following principles:

  1. Prevent borrowing locally or externally except in necessary cases, and deplete the available alternatives.
  2. Spend public debts only for projects and investment programs that related to infrastructure for attracting domestic and foreign investment, in productive projects, or in the projects that bring wealth in order to repay the debt.
  3. All the sources of debts should be known and agreed by the House of Representatives.

17  – Create a commission under the Constitution in order to analyze loans and financing, the financial process, and the economic and social feasibility of public projects that are implemented. The strength of the commission as well as its work and their relationships with bodies is specified by law.

18  – Equal opportunities for all citizens politically, economically, socially and culturally. The state and the federal government should encourage and support the agriculture sector, small industries, and craft.

19  – The tourism sector and cultural heritage are important economic resources. The state and the federal government should preserve them and provide them with strong and necessary infrastructure.

20  – Participation of citizens in public life is a national duty.

Social Rules:

1-  All citizens are equal in rights and duties in front of the law, without any distinction in sex, origin, color, religion, sect, belief, opinion, region, or economic or social status.

2- Women enjoy equality with men in civil, political, economic, social, cultural and environmental rights and freedoms.

3- Family is the basis of society and the state is keen to achieve its happiness.

4- Yemeni society is based on social security, which is based on justice, freedom and equality.

5- Develop the Yemeni people through educational methods to achieve the following:

  1. Embody identity, unity and national affiliation.
  2. Establish the concepts of equal citizenship, tolerance and non-discrimination or social exclusion.
  3. Peaceful coexistence and modern civilization.
  4. Consolidate religious, professional, and ethical values.

6- The free and committed person is the nucleus of society. The state should appropriate measures to ensure dignity and achieve the following:

  1. The participation of youth in the political, economic, social, cultural, and environmental development.
  2. Help the youth to continue studying various scientific fields.

7- Do not use the body of any dead person in medical or scientific experiments without their free consent, and according to medical foundations and the law.

8- Every citizen has the right of the physical integrity in the case of damage caused by armed conflicts and arbitrary arrests.

9-  Any Insult to any citizen against their color, race, lineage, doctrine, sect, place of birth, social or economic activity, the standard of living, thinking or affiliation, is called racial discrimination.

10- All the Yemeni people belong to one nationality and everyone has the right to practice equal citizenship rights without discrimination between the citizens.

11- Freedom of opinion, belief and doctrine is guaranteed to all citizens, men and women, and may not be imposed or prevent by force.

12-  Work provides the person a fair wage to bring them and their family a decent standard of living, consistent with workers global rights and social protection standards approved and adopted internationally.

13- The economic exploitation of children in all its forms is a crime punished by law.

14- Care and rehabilitation for marginalized social groups and people with special needs and those with disabilities is one of the essential duties of the state and provincial governments.

15- Free education is guaranteed by the state for all male and female citizens, without discrimination, while basic education is compulsory.

16- The state is working to develop the level of education and link it to the requirements of the labor market to be equivalent with the educational systems that are compliant with global standards and quality.‏