Yemen Times person of the Year: Jamal Benomar
The selection was based on his intensive work to stabilize Yemen and reach an agreement between the conflicting parties in order to save Yemen from a civil war.
The readers agreed that although it was his job as a UN Secretary General Special Advisor on Yemen was to facilitate political agreements in the country, however, his commitment and holding Yemen’s best interest in his heart was the driving force behind this success, which other regional and international mediators failed to have achieved.
Moreover, Benomar is known for his humility and desire to connect with all Yemenis which was the motivation between his visits to several cities around Yemen, which none of the other mediators or international players had done before.
Benomar was who was born in April 1957 in Morocco, was a revolutionary himself. He was arrested several times during his youth for the leading role he played in organizing a youth movement against King Hassan.
Because he demanded good governance, equal citizenship and respect for human rights he was imprisoned for more than eight harsh years at the notorious Kenitra Central Prison where he was abused and tortured. Yet he managed to complete his Master Degree through distance learning master degree in International Law from The Sorbonne University in Paris. Later on he also availed a PhD from University of London in Economics and Political Science.
When he got the chance Jamal smuggled his way across the Mediterranean Sea risking his life in search for freedom. Through his contacts with human rights activists he managed to get political asylum in UK and worked with Amnesty International in London continuing by that his fight for freedom and human rights. Because of his hard work and intelligence, Jamal Benomar made his way up the ranks in Amnesty always campaigning against dictators who abuse their people.
In the early nineties he became the Director of the Carter center in the United States and worked closely with former President Carter mediating many conflicts around the world. Jamal joined the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva and again made his point when it came to Moroccan delegations to the UN which included oppressive figures.
Today he is settled in New York where he takes the position as the UN Secretary General Special Advisor, currently on Yemen. Benomar advised the UN on political and governance transition issues in more than 30 conflict countries and now Yemen.