News / Middle East

Nobel Winner Says Yemen Could Face Civil War

Nobel Peace Prize winner and human rights activist Tawakkol Karman of Yemen speaks at City Hall in Oslo, Norway, December 10, 2011.
Nobel Peace Prize winner and human rights activist Tawakkol Karman of Yemen speaks at City Hall in Oslo, Norway, December 10, 2011.
Al Pessin

Nobel Peace Prize winner Tawakkol Karman of Yemen says her country could be pushed into a civil war unless the West stops supporting the current transition and takes strong legal and financial action against President Ali Abdullah Saleh. Karman met with Britain’s foreign secretary and other senior officials on Thursday.

Karman says she told Foreign Secretary William Hague that the current 90-day waiting period, between Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s resignation and his departure from office, is a very dangerous time. She told reporters she and her fellow-activists reject the deal negotiated by the Gulf Cooperation Council, and she told the foreign secretary that Britain and the West should stop supporting it.

“Three months is a long time. It means, enter Yemen to civil war. And I warn you because you are silent, you encourage him by your silence to do that,” she said.

Karman, who received the Nobel Peace Prize on Saturday in Oslo, came to London to meet with officials and members of the Yemeni exile community, and to promote her cause through a series of public events.  

At a news conference at the Council for Arab-British Understanding, she called on Britain and other western governments to freeze the assets of Saleh and his supporters, to prosecute Saleh through the International Criminal Court and to launch an investigation of the Saleh regime, as called for in a UN Security Council resolution passed in October.

“Britain’s government, they have to take their responsibility. And they have to be clever, not stupid. Please don’t play with Ali Saleh. Don’t give him a chance to cheat you more and more and more,” said Karman.

Karman says Foreign Secretary Hague told her Britain wants to wait and see how Saleh behaves during the 90-day transition period. But Karman told him Saleh is already not doing what he is supposed to do. And she called on Britain to “re-examine” its position.

She also criticized the Gulf plan, saying it gives Saleh immunity he doesn’t deserve, calls on the demonstrators to leave their encampment in Sana’a, and will create a paralyzed transitional government and an undemocratic election with only one candidate. That candidate is to be Vice President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who Karman calls a puppet of Saleh.

“Is this the democracy that we are struggling for, that we paid thousands of blood, killed people and injured in the street for this? Where is the accountability? For giving him the immunity, where is the democracy? One candidate, which is Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, where is the press freedom and the human rights? Taking the demonstrations out, what is that? So, yes we are against that and we are not part of this initiative,” she said.

Karman said the demonstrations will continue to protest the transition plan.

She is the first Arab woman and, at age 32, the youngest person ever to win the Nobel Peace Prize. She received it along with Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Liberian activist Leymah Gbowee.

You May Like

Isolation, Despair Weigh on Refugees in Remote German Camp

Refugees resettled near village of Holzdorf deep in German forestland say there is limited interaction with public, mutual feelings of distrust

Britons Divided Over Bombing IS

Surveys show Europeans generally support more military action against Islamic State militants, but sizable opposition exists in Britain

Russia Blacklists Soros Foundations as 'Undesirable'

Russian officials add Soros groups to a list of foreign and international organizations banned from giving grants to Russian partners

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?i
Carol Pearson
November 29, 2015 1:23 PM
The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?

The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video Political Motives Seen Behind Cancelled Cambodian Water Festival

For the fourth time in the five years since more than 350 people were killed in a stampede at Cambodia’s annual water festival, authorities canceled the event this year. Officials blamed environmental reasons as the cause, but many see it as fallout from rising political tensions with a fresh wave of ruling party intimidation against the opposition. David Boyle and Kimlong Meng report from Phnom Penh.

Video African Circus Gives At-Risk Youth a 2nd Chance

Ethiopia hosted the first African Circus Arts Festival this past weekend with performers from seven different African countries. Most of the performers are youngsters coming form challenging backgrounds who say the circus gave them a second chance.

Video US Lawmakers Brace for End-of-Year Battles

U.S. lawmakers are returning to Washington for Congress’ final working weeks of the year. And, as VOA's Michael Bowman reports, a full slate of legislative business awaits them, from keeping the federal government open to resolving a battle with the White House over the admittance of Syrian refugees.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video After Terrorist Attacks, Support for Refugees Fades

The terrorists who killed and injured almost 500 people around Paris this month are mostly French or Belgian nationals. But at least two apparently took advantage of Europe’s migrant crisis to sneak into the region. The discovery has hardened views about legitimate refugees, including those fleeing the same extremist violence that hit the French capital. Lisa Bryant has this report for VOA from the Paris suburb of Cergy-Pontoise

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

As Thailand takes in the annual Loy Krathong festival, many ponder the country’s future and security. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs