In the Name of Allah
﴿إِنَّا عَرَضْنَا الْأَمَانَةَ عَلَى السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَالْجِبَالِ فَأَبَيْنَ أَنْ يَحْمِلْنَهَا وَأَشْفَقْنَ مِنْهَا وَحَمَلَهَا الْإِنْسَانُ ﴾
﴾We offered the trust to the heavens, earth and the mountains;
but they refused to bear it, and were afraid of it, and the human carried it﴿
In continuation to the Human Development Project, which BWA has launched in 2004, and under the slogan “Steps Towards Achieving Justice, Peace and Sustainable Development”, and in the occasion of the World Environment Day on 5th of June, the Fifth Arab Forum for Human Development was organized in Manama-Kingdom of Bahrain, from 26-27 May, 2010, with the participation of a group of experts and intellectuals from the Arab World.
“Human Security” challenges in the Arab world was discussed in the forums sessions taking into consideration the environmental, political, economic and security situation and emphasizing the fact that the “Human Security” is the basic pillar for any human development desired. The forum dealt with major challenges threatening the Arab humans that pertain to security, life, freedom, livelihood, food, health, environment and the generations future. The participants also tackled the root causes for these threats.
Papers presented in the forum were grouped under the following three topics: challenges facing the sustainable development achievement; the role of good governance in enhancing human security; and “spiritual security” in the Arab World presented by the Bahrain Women Association as a value added knowledge not addressed in the human development report (HDR).
Participants agreed to issue a final statement titled ” Manama Declaration for Human Security” as a mean to convey their voice and attract the attention of Arab decision-makers, including Arab leaders, Joint Arab Action Institutions, League of Arab States, NGOs in the Arab world, regional, Arab and International organizations including United Nations Programs like (UNDP) for Development, or (UNEP) for Environment, the Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and regional and international Human Rights Institutions so as to pursue everyones urgent movement and co-operative work to reform the current status, restore security to every Arab individuals to enable them to play their role in building the society and the world community, and to drive the human development within the Arab World once again.
The declaration endorsed the view of the participants according to the priorities for decision makes as follows:
“Human Security” in the Arab states is the basic pillar for human development, which supports the initiation of cultural reform for both the state and society to reposition the human and State security within a clear vision rooted in respect for human rights. We also urge the Arab World decision makers to pay more attention to the citizens security, life, freedom, rights, health and their environment, as human security is deemed to be an essential condition to fulfill nation security, which without both neither securities will be achieved.
2. Population pressure and environmental challenges
The excessive land exploitation, depletion of water resources, increased desert sprawl, environmental contamination, climate changes and diminishing biological resources represents a serious threat to the human security in the Arab countries. We urge the decision maker within the Arab countries to stop environmental degradation; manage the climate changes in a more scientific and responsible manner; set urgent planes and programs for Environmentally conscious investment to developing and protecting natural resources for the following generations; support environmental associations, enforcing environmental laws and regulations; teaching environmental issues within curriculum; involve mass media into the environmental reform campaigns; activate NGOs, the scientific research associations, universities, and considerable regional and international organizations to work together to find out the solutions and to stop environmental degradation.
We urge the Arab states decision makers to support the citizenship concept, coexistence values, and co-operation at all levels of the society. Also, Managing cultural and religious ethnic diversities in a way that is fair and transparent, based on “You areallAdams descendants andAdamwas madefrom clay”, in addition, to criminalize all forms of discrimination, especially against women, and that on the basis of sex, ethnic origin, race, language, and sect.
4.Discrimination against women
Discrimination against women is one of the worst forms of discriminations within the Arab countries. In Arab countries legislation patently discriminates against women in the personal status cases, penal punishment, cases related to political, economic, social and family rights, and rape and honor issues. The society will never rise if “woman security” is not emphasized with: strong backing of laws, legislations and proper practices; full respect for the Arab women citizenship rights; and ensure their protection from physical and psychological abuse. It should be noted that the equity values stem from humanity nature crossing all cultures and religions and it is the original essence, upon which all prophetic messages were based. Islam is a tolerant religion entirely blameless from all sensation and discrimination arguments, these arguments were only intended to justify the failure to grant the women their rights without reduction.
5.The civil society
Communities vitality is measured by their vibrant civil society organizations. The Arab civil society could play a more active role in reinforcing human security. Arab civil societies are facing multiple obstacles and restrictions, the most is the legal restrictions that continue to detach civil societies form their work spirit and limits their role and functions. The Arab States decision makers have to: stop in the hindering of civil society role with a view to removing the obstacles to their advancement; issue transparent legislations to strengthen their role; foster strategic partnership in accountability, development, strengthening of state institutions, and in the formation of political economic, social, legislative and judicial systems
Majority of the Arab countries suffer from the absence of good governance infrastructure, like the participation of associations to assure involvement of all sectors of the society. The civil state is considered as the best guarantor of human security. For a state to gain legitimacy for its existence and ruling, it has to gain the acceptance of its citizens and commit to human rights treaties and international charters. Also, building a state based on the rule of law and strong institutions to guarantee the peaceful transfer of power and fair wealth resources management. Individual can secure self-security only if in a country its governance and accountability still remain questionable and managed with fair, transparent and good governance rule.
7.Anti-terrorism and emergency laws
Most Arab counties issued “Emergency” or “Anti-Terrorism” laws containing broad definitions of “terrorism” and “state security”, which forms serious threat to public freedoms, human rights and security, and hence for the human development. We urge the decision makers in Arab countries for removal of such laws replacing them with clear and transparent laws that recognizes the right of everyone to political, economic, and social security, and does not stifle legitimate right to exercise of freedom of expression, or used as an excuse to muzzle any form of peaceful political opposition.
The almost complete economic dependence on one commodity, oil, poses a serious threat to human security in the Arab countries, where this wealth contributed to perpetuation of the culture of consumption and services, and the negative impact in the development process. We urge the decision makers in the Arab countries to: speed of the movement towards the establishment of diversified economies of income able to create opportunities to work with a focus on diversification of production and value-added services; strengthening the infrastructure and the provision of stable financial credit markets, manage effectively globalization impact, promote the transparency principle, develop harmonized financial and credit legislation, and enhance the role of knowledge and technology.
9.Poverty and unemployment
Poverty and unemployment are the major threats to “human security” in the Arab countries. Poverty in many cases is associated with hunger, malnutrition and food insecurity. It has potential impact to the spread of diseases, epidemics, birth defects, kids running away from school, and child labor subjected to poor health and humanitarian conditions. The increase of youth unemployment leads to social isolation and personal insecurities, which stimulate protest and mobilization, and a pathway to extremism that might lead to undermining the whole security. Decision makers in the Arab countries have no choice but to work hard to fight the scourge of poverty before it becomes a threatening factor to Arab national security. This is done through economic policy reform based on scientific evidence thereby contributing in poverty alleviation, providing basic life essentials for citizens to ensure fair and equitable distribution of wealth, creating new job opportunities, and providing uncomplicated diverse investments opportunities especially that in agriculture and water sector.
Health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being, the absence of health policies and systems is considered as a threat to health security that Arab countries face. Despite the fact that Arab region has witnessed relative health improvement during recent decades, yet the major health indicators within the region remains in recession. Investment in the health sector had not been identified as high priority in the development budgets and programs.
11.Vulnerable and Marginalized Groups
We can assure to the decision makers that the Arab states will not flourish if the security and settlement of vulnerable andmarginalized groups within their countries are jeopardized. Such groups are like minorities, elderly, children, disable and special needs persons, migrants and immigrants, refugees, and victims of trafficking in human beings. These suffer from institutional and societal discrimination and are treated as second- class residents..
12.Occupation and military intervention
Foreign occupation aggression and interference – suffered by a large segment of citizens – is the worst form of threat to human security in the Arab countries. Citizens cannot afford to have their minimum basic needs such as water, food, security, education and health care, which is a major leading obstacle to development in the region. The Arab countries are held accountable for their responsibilities in:
Conflict resolutions in a peaceful and fair manner away from any foreign interference; protecting their citizens from all forms of aggression; supporting Arab states suffered struggle and occupation in rebuilding a states economic and social framework; establishing a country of associations, and reintegrating into the international system.
UN as an international organization must bear the major responsibility to prevent countries marginalization, and should co-operate with the League of Arab states to set the fair and equate solutions to maintain international peace and security. UN has to take action to stop continuous violations to national sovereignty and citizens rights of Arab countries by the major powers – particularly what is happening in Palestine – under any pretext whatsoever.
There an urgent need to an effective co-operation to rebuild Arab solidarity and activate the joint Arab institutions, primarily League of the Arab states, CouncilofArabEconomic Unity, Arab Organizationfor Agricultural Development, Pan Arab Bureau for Narcotics Affairs, Arab Labour Organization and the Arab Organizationfor Human Rights. We urge the decision makers in the Arab States to involve the civil society organizations, scientific research centers and the regional and international organization in supporting the efforts promoting human security in Arab countries.
The “spiritual security” for the humans in the Arab countries becomes more rather than less important than economic, social, health and food security. This is due to the role of spiritual security in character building to confront the challenges and to create change no matter how difficult. This requires the correlation with the religious and cultural roots necessary to emphasize those values in peoples minds and culture, and to promote “self responsibility” spirit relying on the fact that human’s role is considered as the rightly guided successor on Earth. It is useful – for the purpose of strengthening the reform process- to educate Arabs about the ancient noble traditions and religious values that contributed to a large extent in the formulation of many of the concepts, related to “human security”. Perhaps by overlooking this concept – or its importance – in the 2009 Arab Human Development Report (AHDR) is considered as a shortcoming from deriving maximum benefit from the Eastern citizen cultural structure, in general, and the Arab citizen, in particular.
Manama – Bahrain
27 May 2010