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TITLE:  CAPE VERDE HUMAN RIGHTS PRACTICES, 1993                           
DATE:  JANUARY 31, 1994

                       CAPE VERDE

Following the free elections of 1991 and the constitutional 
revision of 1992, Cape Verde continued its efforts to 
strengthen democratic institutions in 1993.  Dr. Antonio 
Mascarenhas Monteiro, an independent, remained as President, 
sharing constitutional powers with the Prime Minister, Dr. 
Carlos Wahnon de Carvalho Veiga, and his party, the Movement 
for Democracy (MPD), which controlled the National Assembly.

A new police force, which has been separated from the military, 
has primary responsibility for maintenance of law and order  It 
is controlled by, and responsive to, civilian governmental 
authority.  There were no reported human rights abuses by 
security forces.

Cape Verde has few exploitable natural resources except for an 
attractive climate, a hardworking population (350,000), and a 
strategic geographic position.  Cape Verdeans have a long 
history of economically driven emigration, primarily to Western 
Europe and the United States, and receipts from Cape Verdeans 
abroad are important sources of national income.  Cape Verde 
can produce food for only 25 percent of its population, even in 
years of optimum rainfall.  Because of this, the country 
continues to rely heavily on international food aid.  The 
National Assembly has adopted legislation to privatize Cape 
Verde's state-owned enterprises and to facilitate foreign 
investment, but 1993 brought limited progress.  

The Constitution provides strong guarantees for human rights, 
and it includes the principles of separation of powers, a 
political system based on individual rights and liberties, and 
a market-based economy.  Cape Verdeans enjoy a wide range of 
civil and political liberties.  The principal human rights 
problems in 1993 were societal discrimination and domestic 
violence against women.


Section 1  Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including
           Freedom from:

     a.  Political and Other Extrajudicial Killing

There were no reported instances of political or other 
extrajudicial killings.

     b.  Disappearance

There were no reports of disappearances.

     c.  Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading 
         Treatment or Punishment

There were no allegations or reported occurrences of torture or 
other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment.

     d.  Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile

Cape Verdean law requires that the accused be brought before a 
judge to be charged within 24 hours of arrest.  A person may 
not be arrested without a court order unless caught in the act 
of committing a felony.  In exceptional cases, and with the 
concurrence of a court official, the formal charge process may 
be delayed up to 5 days after the arrest.  These laws are 
observed in practice.

For crimes against state security, the Ministry of Justice has 
40 days to prepare the case for a trial, and the accused may be 
incarcerated until the trial or for a period not to exceed a 
year.  There is a functioning system of bail.

There were no known instances of security detentions or forced 
exile for political or other reasons.

     e.  Denial of Fair Public Trial

The judicial system is composed of the Supreme Court and the 
regional courts.  There are five Supreme Court judges, 
including one who is appointed by the President of the 
Republic, one appointed by the National Assembly, and three 
appointed by the High Council of Magistrates.  Defendants enjoy 
a presumption of innocence.  Trials are public; they are 
conducted by one judge and without a jury.  Evidence suggests 
that the courts protect individual rights in criminal cases.  
The autonomous Institute for Judicial Support, to which most 
private lawyers belong, provides free counsel for indigent 
defendants.  The defense is permitted to present witnesses and 
has access to government evidence.  Verdicts may be appealed.

Regional courts adjudicate minor disputes on the local level in 
rural areas.  The local judges, appointees of the Ministry of 
Justice and Labor, usually are prominent local citizens.  As 
older judges retire, the Government appoints local judges 
with higher levels of education.  Regional court decisions may 
be appealed to the Supreme Court.

The Government did not take any new initiatives to relieve the 
overburdened judicial system, and the courts continued to 
experience a backlog of cases.  The average time for a case to 
come to trial is in excess of 6 months.

There were no known political prisoners.

     f.  Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or

The Constitution recognizes citizens' rights to the 
inviolability of domicile, correspondence, and other means of 
communication.  These rights are respected.  The law requires 
that warrants be issued by a judge before homes may be searched.

Section 2  Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

     a.  Freedom of Speech and Press

The Constitution provides for freedom of citizens to express 
ideas by words, images, or any other means and for freedom of 
the press without censorship.  These freedoms are respected in 
practice.  Journalists are independent of the Government and 
are not obliged to reveal their sources.  No authorization is 
needed to establish newspapers, other publications, or 
electronic media.

The government-owned newspaper, Novo Jornal de Cabo Verde, 
reopened in March as a biweekly after restructuring to cut 
costs.  Together with the government-owned radio and television 
stations, the Jornal gave balanced coverage to domestic and 
international events and to opposition viewpoints.  Independent 
newspapers also enjoyed full freedom of the press without 
censorship.  The national radio station broadcasts live 
National Assembly sessions in their entirety.

     b.  Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

The Constitution provides for freedom of peaceful assembly and 
association without authorization and without harassment by 

     c.  Freedom of Religion

The Constitution requires the separation of church and state 
and prohibits the imposition of religious beliefs and 
practices.  It provides for freedom to exercise individual or 
group religion and to express one's faith.  About 80 to 90 
percent of the population, including much of the Government 
leadership, is nominally Catholic.  There are no restrictions 
on resident foreign clergy or on the numerous and diverse 
religious groups represented in Cape Verde.

     d.  Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign 
         Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation

There are no extraordinary legal or administrative restrictions 
on travel or residence in Cape Verde.  Historically, emigration 
has been an important and government-supported means to escape 
harsh economic conditions.  The Government maintains an office 
to serve intending emigrants and maintains close contact with 
emigre communities.  It also encourages Cape Verdeans living 
abroad, including dual nationals, to maintain ties with their 
homeland.  Repatriation is a constitutional right and is not 
discouraged by the Government.  Acquiring dual nationality, 
which is a right protected by the Constitution, is not a ground 
for revocation of citizenship.

Section 3  Respect for Political Rights:  The Right of Citizens 
           to Change Their Government

Citizens have this right.  In January 1991, after 15 years of 
one-party rule, power was transferred peacefully through 
democratic elections to an opposition party which won the 
country's first free legislative and presidential elections.  
Promulgation of the new Constitution in 1992 consolidated this 

The Constitution provides for separation of powers.  Government 
ministers are not required to be members of the National 
Assembly, but they are subject individually to parliamentary 
confirmation.  Collectively, they must retain the support of a 
parliamentary majority.  The Government may be dismissed by the 
President, with the approval of the Council of the Republic.  
This Council is composed of the President of the National 
Assembly, the Prime Minister, the President of the Supreme 
Court, the Attorney General, the President of the Regional 
Affairs Council, and four private members.  Two of the private 
members are appointed by the President, and two are appointed 
by the National Assembly.  Referendums may be held under 
specified circumstances, but they may not challenge individual 
political rights and liberties or the right of opposition 
parties to exist and function freely.  No referendums were held 
in 1993.

There are no restrictions in law or practice regarding the 
rights of women or minorities to vote or to participate in the 
political process.  Cape Verde's Parliament is 7.6 percent 
female; there are 2 female ministers out of 13 government 

Section 4  Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 
           Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations 
           of Human Rights

While there are no official restrictions on their formation, to 
date no private groups have been established to monitor and 
report on human rights.  In late 1991, the Government 
established a human rights commission with the objective of 
raising popular consciousness about human rights and the need 
to respect them at the institutional level.  The commission was 
largely inactive in 1993.

The Government cooperates fully with representatives of foreign 
private human rights organizations.  Human rights organizations 
made no known visits to Cape Verde in 1993.  

Section 5  Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, 
           Disability, Language, or Social Status

Racial discrimination is not a problem in Cape Verde where the 
vast majority of the population shares mixed Portuguese and 
African ancestry.


Despite constitutional prohibitions against sex discrimination 
and provisions for full equality, including equal pay for equal 
work, traditional male-oriented values predominate; women 
experience difficulties in obtaining certain types of 
employment and are often paid less than men.  Women comprise 38 
percent of the work force, and make up more than 50 percent of 
the workers in business, hotels, restaurants, social services 
and administrative positions.  Roughly the same percentages of 
males and females attend universities and secondary schools; 
0.7 percent of women hold university degrees (compared with 0.8 
percent for the total population) and 14.3 percent hold 
secondary school certificates (compared to 13.8 percent for the 
total population).

There was some improvement in employment opportunities for 
women as evidenced by the increasing presence of women in the 
upper echelons of government and among law and medical 

Domestic violence against women, including wife beating, 
remains common, particularly in the rural areas.  Crimes such 
as rape and spouse abuse are rarely brought to the attention of 
the police or tried in the courts.  While neither the 
Government nor women's organizations have addressed directly 
the issue of violence against women, the Ministry of Health and 
Social Affairs has undertaken to publicize civil and human 
rights of both women and children through an extensive campaign 
which includes public service programming on television and 
radio as well as a widespread poster campaign.  


Child abuse is a continuing problem in Cape Verde.  The 
Government is concerned about children's welfare and has 
mounted a public relations campaign to educate both children 
and parents about the dangers of child abuse and the rights of 
individuals.  Few cases are prosecuted, but, if a complaint is 
filed and found to warrant intervention, children can be 
removed from their parents' homes and placed in an orphanage.

     People with Disabilities

Physically disabled persons are not subject to discrimination 
in employment or education, and a campaign is under way to 
educate the public about the capabilities of the disabled for 
employment.  There is no government mandate for access to 
public buildings for the disabled, thereby limiting access to 
some public services, but the Government attempts to provide 
transportation (a combination wheelchair and three-wheel motor 
scooter) for handicapped persons.

Section 6  Worker Rights

     a.  The Right of Association

All workers are legally free to form and to join unions of 
their own choosing without government authorization or 
restriction.  There are no reliable figures for union 
membership available.  There are two umbrella union 
associations in Cape Verde:  the Council of Free Labor Unions 
(CCLS), formed after the change in government, and the National 
Union of Cape Verde Workers (UNTC-CS), formed and controlled by 
the former ruling party.  The Government did not interfere with 
the activities of these organizations, but both suffer from a 
lack of funding.

The Constitution provides union members the right to strike, 
and there are no restrictions on this right.  There were 
periodic strikes, most frequently in state-owned enterprises.  
An employer must reinstate a worker fired unjustly.  Unions are 
free to affiliate internationally.

     b.  The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively

The Constitution provides to unions the right to organize and 
operate without hindrance and specifically gives unions the 
right to sign collective work contracts.  Workers and 
management in the small private sector, as well as in the 
public sector, reach agreement through collective bargaining.  
As the country's largest employer, the Government continues to 
play the dominant role by setting wages in the civil service.  
It does not fix wages for the private sector, but salary levels 
for civil servants provide the basis for wage negotiations in 
the private sector.

A legislative decree of November 1991 bans antiunion 
discrimination by employers and provides that fines may be 
levied on offenders.  There were no reported cases of such 
discrimination in 1993.

Cape Verde has no export processing zones.

     c.  Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor

Forced labor is forbidden by law and is not practiced.

     d.  Minimum Age for Employment of Children

The legal minimum age for employment is 14.  Although children 
under 16 are prohibited from working at night, more than 7 
hours per day, or in establishments where toxic products are 
produced, the law is rarely enforced.  The Director General of 
Labor in the Ministry of Justice and Labor is responsible for 
enforcing minimum age laws.  In practice, however, minimum age 
laws are enforced only in the mainly urban formal sectors of 
the economy and then only with limited success.

     e.  Acceptable Conditions of Work

There are no established minimum wage rates in the private 
sector.  Large urban private employers link their minimum wage 
rates to those paid to civil servants, which for an entry level 
worker is $180 (15,000 Cape Verdean escudos) per month.  The 
majority of jobs pay insufficient wages to provide a worker and 
his family a decent standard of living; therefore, most workers 
must rely on a combination which includes second jobs, extended 
family help, and subsistence agriculture.

The maximum legal workweek for adults is 44 hours.  While large 
employers generally respect these regulations, many employed in 
domestic service or by small employers in rural areas do not 
enjoy legally mandated work conditions.

Rural laborers are largely uninformed of workers' rights, and 
these rights frequently are not respected.  In 1992 the 
Director General of Labor established a small department in the 
Ministry of Justice and Labor dedicated to the protection of 
rural laborers.

All enterprises must submit a yearly report to the Director 
General of Labor with information on each employee's wages and 
days of leave.  Although the reports provide the Government 
with current information on employment practices, they are not 
used as a control mechanism.  Nevertheless, the Director 
General does carry out periodic inspections to ensure that 
employers adhere to correct labor practices and imposes fines 
on private enterprises which are not in conformity with the 
law.  There is no overall safety and health code, although some 
regulations exist in this area.  The Director General of Labor 
is responsible for enforcing labor regulations.  However, Cape 
Verde has few industries that employ heavy or dangerous 
equipment, and work related accidents are rare.  Consequently, 
there is no systematic government enforcement of labor laws. (###)

[end of document]


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