சாதிக்கொடுமையால் மிகவும் தீவிரமாக கொடுமைப்படுத்தப்படும் அரபியதலித்துகளான அல் அக்தம் ஜாதியினர் தங்கள் உரிமைகளை பெற்று நலமாகவாழவும் குரல் கொடுப்போம்
Minority Report: Yemen’s Akhdam “Out-Castes”
They have lived in Yemen for well over a thousand years. They are Arabic-speaking Muslims. And yet they are Yemen’s great outcasts. Meet the Akhdam.
The photo at right is a snapshot from one of the Akhdam shanty-towns in Yemen’s capital. As one article notes, this street slum lies “virtually in the shadows of the multi-million-dollar presidential mosque, and is made up of squat cinderblock buildings and shacks made from scrap materials. It sits on a waterway that fills up in the winter, turning the pathways into rivulets and dirt floors into muck.”
Legend has it that the Black Yemenis, who do not belong to any of the major Arab tribe groups, descend from Ethiopian invaders from the sometime between 100-600 A.D. When the Ethiopian invasion failed, they became slaves and servants. With the abolition of slavery in Yemen (in 1962!), the Akhdam are now all “free” but face widespread discrimination and economic hardship:
They are almost always kept at arms length, and any chance of social integration is next to impossible. Their name, akhdam, is the plural of the Arabic term khadim, which literally means servant, a term far predating their common occupation nowadays as sanitary workers and garbage collectors, and is given to any Yemeni-born person with black skin, especially in the north of the country.
For more on the obstacles faced the Akhdam and proposed reforms, see Huda Seif’s report in the Muslim World Journal of Human Rights [excerpt from abstract]:
…the Al-Akhdam are persecuted on account of their being of African-descent in a country with an Arab-majority… The article advocates the protection of the collective human rights of the Al-Akhdam minority and proposes cogent measures for restoring social justice through the implementation of specific actions, including international condemnation of their persecution; official recognition of the violence meted to them; national international recognition and promotion of their rights; cessation of Yemeni government-supported policy of Al-Akhdam forced labor; formal extension of constitutionally-guaranteed economic and social rights and the establishment of a program designed to integrate them into the mainstream of Yemeni society.
November 03, 2005 in Civil Rights Abuses: Minority Rights | Permalink