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|Situation of Yemeni Workforce in GCC Facing Shameful Conditions, Study Says|
Hasan Al-Zaidi (YEMEN POST)
Article Date: August 25, 2008
Integrating Yemen into the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) was for long outside anyone’s calculation. However, politicians see that different regional and international changes have made GCC officials rethink Yemen joining the council.
In a recent study, Yemeni Member of Parliament Ali Ahmed Al-Amrani pointed out many reasons that hinder the immediate integration of Yemen into GCC, especially when the country has an ailing economy.
Yemeni-Saudi border issue
Studying the complications that prevented Yemen from joining GCC, Al-Amrani referred to the Yemeni-Saudi border issue, which has been hurting the relations of both countries since 1934. He hinted the conflict over the border is still a major bump standing before Yemen's integration into the council.
Different cultural practices of both nations were involved in the delay of better relations, as he considers them part of the past problems that are in need for more efforts, particularly after the Jeddah border agreement which was signed between both countries in 2000, and helped end the pending troubles at both popular and official levels.
Invading Kuwait by Iraq
The researcher stresses that invading Kuwait by Iraqi forces turned things upside down, leading Kuwait and United Arab Emirates to have stricter stances towards Yemen. There were always less-welcoming attitudes by these two countries to any efforts seeking to integrate Yemen to the GCC.
He went on to say that Yemen was subjected to big losses, and countries like Kuwait supported secessionists in 1994 in retaliation of Yemen's supportive stance for Saddam Hussein when he invaded Kuwait.
Similarly, Yemenis are discriminated against in the UAE, and this applies to workers there or those who travel through its airports. Such a treatment raises numerous questions and causes shock to Yemenis living there or passing by the country.
The study sees that Yemen has good will's especially after the country demarcated borders with Saudi Arabia and Oman. This led to ripe and better relations with these countries. However, the country is waiting to see more strategic and positive changes from other neighboring countries towards it.
Since 1996, Saudi Arabia has been leading great efforts to help facilitate Yemen's integration into GCC. Still, what has been achieved so far is below the expectations, particularly with matters relating to the situation of the Yemeni labor force in GCC countries.
Further, the study demanded a Gulf project like European Marshal Project, considering it to be an ethical necessity. It added that what has been financially provided by GCC countries in no more than 'food to prevent them from dying'.
Improving labor force situation
In this respect, the study hinted that the Yemeni labor force is still suffering different shapes of discrimination, assuring that this poses hindrance before Yemen's integration into GCC.
It also demanded abolishing the guardianship system and compared it to the slavery system that was dominant long ago, emphasizing the importance of improving the situation of the Yemeni labor force before proceeding in negotiations that could lead to a full integration.
However, the study conditioned that Yemen should initiate serious steps to be qualified enough for joining GCC including political stability and development progress.
It continued that the policy of the ruling party and others demonstrating in streets and squares will not provide an apt atmosphere for stability and development, so that it can be accepted by its neighbors.
Likewise, the study stressed the importance of making more popular, political, economical, and social reforms. These reforms could help put the country in the right track, and help make the country's economy keep in pace with Gulf economies.
According to the study, state tendencies to ban arms bearing and possession is a serious step in the right path, stressing that it should terminate all manifestations of armament and internal conflicts between tribes because they are key reasons undermining its solemnity. It added that the state must work to guarantee security for those living or visiting the country.
The study sees Qat as a bad phenomenon and hinted that its spread has been fearful, emphasizing that government should take strict measures to root out Qat which also rivaled other cereals, fruits and vegetables.
Further, the study blamed state officials for the increasing spread of Qat, its addiction and the providing of it in marriages and other celebrations is a major problem, calling for an official strategy to get rid of it completely.
The wealth that state officials get during the period of them in post is a sign of absolute corruption and injustice. It is also part of their betrayal of confidence, according to the study.In this respect, the study asked for enacting the role of judiciary to prevent such illegal enrichment, hinting it is irrational to make those officials escape without punishing them for the property and wealth they embezzled while in their posts.