NDC Week in Review: August 13-15

17 August 2013 /

This past week, members of Yemen’s National Dialogue Conference (NDC) – with the exception of members aligned with the Southern Movement - resumed their tasks following the conclusion of the Eid vacation.

The southern delegates in question were holding deliberations with southern factions from both inside and outside Yemen on the matter of potential NDC solutions to the southern issues.

For his part, NDC Vice President Yassin Makkawi denied media reports that southern members had in fact withdrawn from the conference.

“If the delegates planned to withdraw, they would have made official announcements,” he said, before adding, “All reports concerning their withdrawal were completely false.”

As a result of the southern members’ absence, some of the NDC’s working groups had difficulty completing planned activities and tasks. The Rights and Freedoms Working Group postponed the holding of final votes on group reports and decisions until the group’s southern members had resumed their attendance.

Meanwhile, other working groups - including the National Issues and Transitional Justice, Military and Security, Sa’ada Issue, and State-Building Working Groups - continued to hold discussions on key agenda topics.

 

The National Issues and Transitional Justice Working Group continued discussions of national reconciliation and transitional justice legislative specifics; other topics of discussion included the formation of committees on legislation and ways in which drafts on final decisions and outcomes can be prepared.

The group’s mini-committee discussed subcommittee reports on displaced citizens, the recovery of public funds lost as the results of misuse of power and terrorism. Also, members the mini-committee heard a presentation on the subcommittee’s report on enforced disappearances, which included decisions on the question of enrolling and engaging victims’ families in transitional justice programs.

The report called for the ratification of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (ICCPED), the Optional Protocol of the Convention against Torture (OPCAT), and the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (OP-CEDAW). 

 

The State-Building Working Group held discussions on economic, political and social ‘essentials’, which amount to key portions of the draft of Yemen’s new constitution. The group’s members also demanded that the Consensus Committee return controversial items to the group, thereby allowing them to make another attempt at reaching a consensus on them.

The constitutional draft includes essential items on the subjects of constitutional legitimacy, rule of law, governance systems, and the application of accountability guidelines to everyone who holds a government post in Yemen, including the president of the republic and prime minister.

On Saturday, the group’s members will hold a vote on outcomes produced by the mini-committee tasked with developing conditions for membership in the working group’s constitution-drafting committee. This past week, three new conditions were proposed.

Thus far, the mini-committee’s outcomes include the following stipulations: that membership in the constitution-drafting committee shall be limited to constitutional jurisprudence experts with at least twenty years’ experience in the field, and membership should be equally divided between the north and the south on a fifty-fifty basis.   

The group also formed a committee which will be tasked with drafting the working group’s final report. At the same time, votes on matters of governance and administrative and electoral systems have been postponed until the group’s southern members resume their attendance.

 

The Army and Security Working Group’s subcommittee on illegal terminations completed its final report, which stipulates that Yemen’s armed and security forces should be equally represented by northern and southern citizens. The report also called for the implementation of the 31-point list on southern issues, as well as for the reinstatement of military and security members who were unfairly terminated, whether in Yemen’s south or north.

The working group’s members discussed comments on subcommittee reports and approved the integration of the comments in the subcommittees’ respective final reports.

 

The Sa’ada Issue Working Group’s solutions subcommittee approved four additional potentials solutions to the Sa’ada issue. The solutions, as presented by political representatives, were as follows:

- The building of a decentralized state on national bases, with the aim of promoting themes of good governance, national partnership, justice, equality, rule of law, and including the building of neutral armed and security forces, separation and independence for authorities and institutions, and protections for citizen rights and freedoms.

- The restructuring of Yemen’s armed and security forces on national and scientific bases.

- Decisions on war and peace must be made by the House of Representatives and be in accordance with the constitution and applicable laws.

- The forbidding of acts which compromise national sovereignty, including efforts to seek assistance from external forces in times of internal conflict, no matter what the justification may be.

These latest decisions included, twenty possible solutions to Sa’ada-related issues have so far been approved by members of the Sa’ada Issue Working Group.

 

Other key activities included visits by members of the NDC Presidency to particular working groups. During the visits, the Presidency members clarified that Southern Movement-aligned NDC members would be shortly resuming their attendance.

While visiting the State-Building Working Group along with other Presidency members, NDC Vice President Sultan Al-Atwani said the Southern delegates were holding deliberations with southern factions

“Reports about these members have been untrue and have aimed to confuse the public and affect the NDC’s activities,” he said.

NDC Vice President Abdulkarim Al-Eryani briefed the group’s members on the results of a recent NDC Presidency meeting which was chaired by Yemeni President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

“We discussed the 31-point list on the south and agreed that the NDC’s working groups should submit their final reports on Sunday,” said Al-Eryani.

The Presidency meeting was held a day before NDC members resumed their activities at Sana’a’s Movenpick Hotel. At the meeting, Hadi briefed the Presidency members on his recent trips to the United States and Saudi Arabia.

Hadi said officials from both nations exhibited an understanding of Yemen’s current situation and requirements in its period of political transition. He praised progress in the NDC, while also urging all Yemenis – and those participating in the NDC in particular - to utilize international support for the political transition and lift their country out from crisis.

Meanwhile, this past week the NDC Secretariat General continued to conduct a promotional campaign on NDC outcomes at the current session’s mid-point.

The campaign included the use of one million SMS messages and TV and radio advertisements, all of which focused on 15 decisions produced at the NDC. These promotional activities targeted 250,000 citizens. The campaign also included billboards in 14 Yemeni governorates, including Sana’a, Taiz, Hodeida, Dhamar, Sa’ada, Marib, Aden, Mukalla and Lahj. 

 




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