Marginalized ‘Akhdam’ receive no government support at conference
Hundreds of participants, NGOs and human rights activists attended the conference but government officials were noticeably absent despite an open invitation. A major aim of the event was to put pressure on politicians to involve the marginalized community more in the decision-making process.
The head of the National Union for the Marginalized, Noman Qaed, said, “We represent more than 3 million Yemenis and excluding us from the Technical Committee for the National Dialogue contradicts the objectives of the Gulf initiative.”
Dr. Adel Al-Shuja’a, an academic at Sana’a University and advocate for conference attendees, also condemned the government’s apathy towards the akhdam. He said the event may embarrass political parties, especially if the participants can create a new national platform that involves them.
“Those people are the most subjugated and the most proactive community in Yemen,” said Al-Shuja’a. “Unfortunately, the government doesn’t care about the marginalized, and the absence of the government at this conference is a proof they have no vision.”
The academic advocate also believes the marginalized community is unbelievably valuable to society’s future.
“They have a lot of ideas and goals that will contribute to improving the situation in Yemen,” Al-Shuja’a said.
Qaed also expressed his frustration at the marginalized’s perceived social positions.
“Unfortunately, all political parties see us as sweeper and cleaning workers,” he said. “They don’t give us our rights. We want to take our rights peacefully and not by weapon.”
Abdul-Ghani Al-Sabri, an active member of the akhdam community, agreed with Qaed, stating that his people need is to be empowered politically, socially and economically.
“Our voice will be heard. Government negligence will not hinder us,” Al-Sabri said. “It’s not acceptable to ignore us. We are a power. We are a very big community.”