عربي

Mrs. Tawakkol Karman’s Speech at 2019 Munich Security Conference - Saturday, February 16, 2019

First of all, I would like to thank the organizer of the Munich Security Conference (MSC) for inviting me to participate in your discussions on critical issues related to security, especially human security as among the most important and crucial forms of security given its direct implications on human lives and existence.

Dear friends,
Security is of great importance to the lives of individuals and nations alike. In last few decades, security-related issues and ways to respond to various threats posed by terrorism, organized crime, armed conflicts and chaos have become topics of constant and extensive debate at different events and activities related to political and security issues. But despite it all, almost all of us still insist to believe that human security issues are less important than, for example, the military security ones.

For me, such belief is not precise as I think that the security of societies is more important and more complex at once. Societies living under dictatorships, oppression and under the absence of basic services such as education, health and electricity are in fact fertile grounds for poverty, terrorism, organized crime, wars, chaos, corruption and militias, posing a credible threat to regional and global security.

Human security has a comprehensive meaning, including security from fear, hunger, destitution and poverty. Human security means also freedom. Freedom and security are complementary and two sides of one coin. Hence, comprehensive security can only be achieved in an atmosphere of freedoms and human rights. Political and religious tyranny is among the top threats to human security, and to security in general, as a single despot could destroy the lives of his people and of others.

You in Europe know very well what price should be paid to get rid of tyrants. Here, in my turn, I should like to ask some questions: How does the international community allow itself, after two world wars, to leave peoples at the mercy of authoritarian regimes? Why do many Western governments look like to be more in tune with despots, especially Arab ones, betraying their liberal principles, which require them to advocate for human rights and support democratic trends?

Do these governments think that security can be achieved with more injustice, silencing the mouths and crushing public freedoms? If that is the case, then human security and global security will remain elusive. Throughout history, insecurity has been associated with the loss of rights and the absence of freedoms.

The worst thing that could happen in our world today is to accept the nonsense of the despots who always stress that their violations are internal affairs and that their oppression and tough restrictions on freedoms are in favour of stability. They lead, in fact, their peoples and the whole world to the loss of security, chaos, instability and the complete failure of States and societies. 

Indeed, individuals’ safety and their security’s protection are no longer a matter of the national state. It is no longer a local matter, but a global affair. The international community should take responsibility for protecting individuals and protecting peoples from various violations they are subjected to while trying to free themselves from tyranny, corruption and failure.

Today in the Middle East, military regimes, tyrannical monarchies and their affiliated militias are waging brutal wars against their own peoples just for their aspirations for freedom, justice, dignity and the rule of law.

All attempts by some governments in the Middle East, in particularly Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, to create havoc, fear and uncertainty among peoples and persecute, spy on, capture, torture and abuse active opponents and activists, pose a threat to human global security. Therefore, I expect these actions to be condemned and voices are raised against every attempt to turn states into mere rogue gangs.

In Sudan, there is a military regime that lacks the required integrity and does not carry out its duties towards its people. Not only that, it appears to be intent on continuing to prevent its deprived and oppressed people from expressing their demands and from the right to a dignified life, a matter I call upon you to condemn. Let me also call you to stand by the Sudanese people and advocate its right to change and hold accountable those behind human rights violations.

In Syria, human security has witnessed a horrific massacre. Cold-blood killing and extreme brutality have unmasked the dictator's barbarity and savagery. Syrians have been deprived of their rights to life and dignity. They have found themselves caught between a fascist regime and externally funded terrorist organizations, which seek to force the Syrians to submit.

In Yemen, the issue is more complicated. The Houthi militia, which has a backward racist project and seeks to impose it by force, has committed, and still commits, all forms of violations, including killing and torturing citizens and journalists, stealing food aid, extorting funds from citizens and business, blowing up opponents’ dwellings and practicing widespread terrorism. On the other hand, the Saudi-Emirati occupation and their affiliated militias kill and torture and target political opponents in a clear attempt to undermine the Yemeni entity from the ground.

I call for a cease-fire and for refraining from arms export to Saudi Arabia and the UAE because they use these weapons to kill my people. I also call for stopping Iran from providing various forms of support to the Houthi militia. It is a terrifying picture! Yemenis have been besieged by different sides. So, I call for a special international tribunal to try those involved in war crimes in Yemen.

Dear friends,
The achievement of human security starts with the protection of citizens from tyrannical regimes, which have failed to achieve development, health or decent life, and which have only created such devastation.That’s what I think. Thus, let us begin by pushing tyrants into a corner because they pose threats not only to their peoples as some might think but also to the whole world.

But let me also reiterate that the protection, which I always demand, bet on and look at as the future crucial human means to achieve global security, peace and freedom for all human beings, depends on the achievement of freedom, security and well-being of peoples whose protection needs your intervention. This protection should not stop until good and democratic governance and sustainable rights and freedoms are guaranteed.