Proclamation of the Democratic Republic of Yemen

During Yemen's internal conflict in 1994, southern leaders issued the following statement declaring their secession.


Proclamation of the Democratic Republic of Yemen

Aden, 21 May 1994

In the course of recent national history, Yemeni unity was a goal for achieving security, stability and social progress, and for upholding the national esteem of the Yemeni people. Out of a sincere wish to achieve those ends, we worked voluntarily to establish unity on 22 May 1990 between the two states of Yemen and implant it in the life of society. In order to remedy the deep-seated problems which Yemen was facing in all fields, and working in the spirit of the aims of the Yemeni revolution and in harmony with contemporary worldwide developments, we sought democracy and reform as a basis for reshaping the old regime in the two parts of the country and building the unified Yemeni state.

From the first day, and throughout the years of unity, there were persistent attempts, remarkable national efforts, continual dialogues, but in reality none of those goals was not achieved. On the contrary, the ineffectiveness of co-ordination, the failure of the processes for transforming democracy, and devotion to the dictatorial military regime under the control of the Yemen Arab Republic impeded implementation of the unity agreements and completely devastated political life. The life and security of the people, the stability of the state and the running of the administrative system collapsed utterly. The manifestations of patronage and corruption spread and the ownership and revenues of state institutions were handed over to supporters of influential people in a system which then accumulated a deficit in the general budget. That, together with the inflation rate and price rises, brought the level of social services for the people close to ruin.

Meanwhile, acts of repression and political terrorism spread through the country. The leadership of the state and its cadres vied for power with representatives of the Yemen Socialist Party and national and opposition personalities, and systematically carried out the destruction of the military and civilian institutions which the Socialist Party had brought to the single state until they became part of it. That was the reality, especially in the south of the state. The powers and prerogatives of all its [the Socialist Party's] cadres and representatives in the commands and organisations of the state were suspended, and all processes of economic and social development were brought to a standstill, especially in the southern provinces. Thus the state was deprived of all its functions and became unable to perform its constitutional tasks at the level of the whole state. In order to halt that alarming deterioration in the life of the state and society, the Socialist Party, together with all upright citizens, made every effort during the continuous dialogue with the President, the leaders of the General People’s Congress and the Yemeni Assembly for Reform (Islah), and at the numerous signings of agreements with them, to remedy the country’s problems. The [Socialist] Party’s initiative was its appeal to establish the government alliance, seeking national unity and power-sharing by various representatives of the political forces; to widen the political dialogue to achieve national agreement and the signing of the Document of Pledge and Accord; and to show concern for the legitimacy of the national society. And yet, all its efforts brought failure because of the wilful insistence and systematic destruction of those by the President and his influential retinue who assisted in an astonishing way in tyrannical decrees and terrorist military operations which also extended to citizens of foreign states and their embassies with the aim of putting pressure on them and the robbery of their [positions??] and the dropping of hints of the exigency of the danger and scrutiny of the support on fanatical fundamentalist movements, and spreading their influence in various organs of the state, and supervision/scrutiny of their training camps and exporting terrorism abroad and the formula for the country’s foreign relations of a type which was deceptive, insincere and for hire at a cheap price.

The process of preparing to place the country in the furnace of a destructive civil war has gathered pace since the beginning of this year. This may be laid at the feet of the head of state personally by the declaration of war against everyone in his notorious speech in Sabaean Square on April 27 last, in which he called for the establishment of civilian courts for all his opponents from the Yemen Socialist Party and the National Dialogue Committee and all Yemeni political forces. That speech was followed a few hours later by the large-scale attack on the Third Brigade at Amran, on the southern units that had transferred to the north on unification, followed by the attack on the Ba Suhaib Brigade in the northern governorate of Dhamar, and before them, the elimination of the Fifth Brigade in Harf Sufyan. On 4 May (Ayyar) the war of total annihilation began against all the southern and eastern provinces that had comprised the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen – which had participated in establishing the single state – followed by the declaration of a state of emergency in the country and the dismissal of senior officials among the southern leaders in the state presidency and government.

Despite what this war has wrought, and despite measures and decisions taken in total violation of the constitution and legitimacy, the leadership in Sana’a is bringing this war to ’Anad in the south, striking civilian targets and villages and the homes of citizens and killing women and children and plundering property, turning honour to disgrace, and arrogantly rejecting the appeals of Yemen’s political and social forces and of the leaders of Arab and foreign states for a ceasefire and a return to dialogue. Thus the family of the House of Ahmar and their allies bear the historic responsibility for burning the bonds of brotherhood, resisting unity and, in reality, deciding upon separation, completing their previous obstruction in implementing unity. The country in effect remained divided, despite the declaration of its unity, when the administrative and judicial systems, the currency, the army, the ports and airlines remained separate as they had been before unification, and unity did not exist except in the form of a flag and national anthem, and nothing else.

In the behaviour of the Sana’a leadership the attitudes of the past remained and the legacy of historical backwardness which prevails and dominates their political practices – revenge, annexation, [possessiveness], blood feuds and monopoly of power. In reality, the arbiters of Sana’a rely on a worn-out philosophy and sterility of government based on a [rank] ?????? of the principles of exercising power and securing it as regards establishing state institutions which reduce the power of the president, military power as a basis for control, bloody repression and corruption as a means for suppressing and stifling opposition, squabbling between the tribes as a means for keeping them occupied, backwardness as a way of imposing subservience, and the introduction of various forms of social divisiveness in wages which are all higher among the branches of the tribes, the nomads and those districts which have established the historical right to a backward regional power, which has deprived the people of the right to equal citizenship. On this graded ladder the sons of the southern and eastern regions found themselves fourth-class citizens.

Arising out of all those efforts and humiliations and the effective fragmentation of society and homeland, and emanating from the constitutional responsibility to defend the rights of the citizens in the constituencies that granted us their votes, the delegates of the people from the party bloc of the southern and eastern provinces and representatives of the parties and political forces and social personalities, and in the spirit of the Document of Pledge and Accord decided upon at the national meeting, announce the establishment of the Democratic Republic of Yemen on the following basis and principles: 

1. We announce the establishment of an independent sovereign state called the Democratic Republic of Yemen. Its capital is Aden and it is part of the Arab and Islamic umma.

2. Yemeni unity remains a basic objective; because of its broad national alliances and the strength of national unity, the state strives to restore Yemeni unity on democratic and peaceful foundations.

3. Islam is the religion of the state and the shari’a is the main source of legislation.

4. The political system is built on the foundation of political and party pluralism.

5. The constitution of the Yemeni Republic is considered to be the constitution of the Democratic Republic of Yemen.

6. The Document of Pledge and Accord is the basis of establishing and building the state of democratic Yemen and its political and economic system.

7. Commitment to the charters of the Arab League, United Nations, the International Declaration on Human Rights and the recognised rules of international law. Also commitment to all the regional and international agreements and treaties, and to the preservation and protection of the interests of all states and international companies in the domain of the state.

8. Commitment to a policy of good neighbourliness and strengthening the ties of brotherhood and friendship with all the brotherly and friendly states, and especially the neighbouring states and non-intervention in internal affairs.

9. To establish the organisation of the state on the basis of administrative decentralisation as the foundation for organising the democratic relations between entitities of the state.

10. To protect general liberties and respect human rights and the freedom of opinion, labour and the press, according to the basis of democraty and its peaceful accompaniments.

11. Economic policy is established on the basis of freedom of economic activity and the mechanism of the free market while ensuring the protection of all interests and an equilibrium between them.

12. To hold general parliamentary and local elections within a year of the proclamation of this document on the basis of political and party pluralism.

13. The Provisional Assembly for National Salvation is composed of 111 members in the following manner:

a) members of parliament representing constituencies in the southern and eastern governorates

b) representatives of political parties and organisations

c) persons with national, social and religious standing

14. The Provisional Assembly for National Salvation assumes the following tasks:

a) selection of a president for the assembly;

b) selection of the chairman and members of the presidential council to undertake the tasks of the state presidency;

c) selection of a provisional government;

d) preparation of the permanent constitution of the Democratic Republic of Yemen in accordance with the Document of Pledge and Accord;

e) preparation of the law on local government;

f) preparation of the law on elections;

g) preparation for the holding of parliamentary and local elections in accordance with Article 12 of this document;

h) undertaking all legislative functions on the election of the new parliament.

Consequently the Democratic Republic of Yemen calls upon all brotherly and friendly countries to recognise its state, in accordance with international legislation. We all confidently hope that these countries will favourably assess the position of this state and its leadership, which has always been characterised by wisdom, prudence, judiciousness, and adherence to democracy, general liberties and human rights.