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TITLE:  YEMEN HUMAN RIGHTS PRACTICES, 1993                             
DATE:  JANUARY 31, 1994
AUTHOR:  U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE

                  YEMEN


The Republic of Yemen was proclaimed in 1990 with the 
unification of the Yemen Arab Republic (YAR) and the People's 
Democratic Republic of Yemen (PDRY).  The Constitution provides 
for a Parliament elected by universal suffrage and a 
five-member Presidential Council elected by the Parliament 
whose chairman serves as Head of State.  Yemen held its first 
parliamentary elections on April 27.  They were monitored by 
domestic and foreign observers and were generally held to be 
free and open.  They resulted in a 301-member Parliament, with 
the General People's Congress (GPC), the party of President Ali 
Abdullah Saleh, forming a coalition government with the Yemeni 
Socialist Party (YSP) and Islaah, the Tribal/Islamic Grouping 
for Reform.  Tribal leaders in the north and east continue to 
hold considerable power over large amounts of territory based 
on their traditional prerogatives.  Yemen has been in the midst 
of a political crisis since August 1993 which has paralyzed 
many government activities and all policymaking.

An extensive state-security apparatus, the Political Security 
Organization (PSO), has replaced the National Security 
Organization (NSO).  Unlike the NSO, the PSO is independent of 
the Interior Ministry and reports directly to the President.  
Its officers retain broad discretion over perceived national 
security issues and, despite constitutional prohibitions, 
routinely detain citizens for questioning, frequently mistreat 
detainees, monitor personal activities, and search homes.

Yemen is a poor country in which agriculture and oil dominate 
the economy.  Remittances from Yemeni workers in Saudi Arabia 
and the Gulf states, formerly an important source of hard 
currency, declined significantly in the aftermath of the Gulf 
war, and aid from the Gulf states has almost ended.  After 
unification, the Marxist economy in the south was liberalized, 
but former PDRY state institutions remain significant.

With the holding of free parliamentary elections and less 
repression of civil liberties such as freedom of the press, 
there were some gains in the human rights situation in 1993.  
Nevetheless, significant restrictions remained.  Major problems 
included arbitrary detention, torture and abuse of prisoners, 
and widespread discrimination based on sex, race, and religion. 


RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

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

     a.  Political and Other Extrajudicial Killing

Political and extrajudicial violence remains part of the Yemeni 
political scene.  Although there were a number of allegations 
of political killings in 1993, none has so far been 
substantiated.  

     b.  Disappearance

As in 1992, there were occasional reports of Yemenis 
disappearing following detention by the security forces.  Most 
such detainees were eventually released.  Most reports about 
disappeared persons were related to former members of the 
National Democratic Front (NDF), which waged a guerrilla war 
against the YAR from the mid-1970's through the early 1980's.  
Families of an estimated 200 to 300 persons who disappeared in 
the former PDRY prior to unification in 1990 have been unable 
to obtain any information from the Government about the fate of 
their relatives.  The vast majority of these persons are 
thought to have been killed while in the custody of PDRY state 
security officials.

In a separate case, a credible source reported eight suspects 
in the Aden bombing of the Gold Mohur Hotel, in which two 
tourists died, were abducted and possibly killed by the YSP.  
The Government reported the eight men had escaped.

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

The Constitution proscribes "physical punishment and degrading 
treatment."  It is widely believed, however, that security 
officials resort with impunity to force or the threat of force 
to extract information from detainees.  There continued to be 
reports in the Yemeni press alleging torture and mistreatment 
by prison officials.  Amnesty International reports that at the 
beginning of 1993 at least 50 of the 1,000 persons arrested in 
antigovernment riots in December 1992 remained in detention.  
Some detainees were reportedly subjected to torture, including 
beatings and electric shocks.  Credible reports indicate that 
Mansur Muhammad Ahmad Rajih, a writer and NDF activist, who 
remains imprisoned, has been subjected to torture throughout 
his incarceration.  There was a credible report that a European 
tourist was detained and tortured in July.

There were no reported instances of amputation in 1993.  In 
seven out of eight cases in which amputation penalties were 
imposed, the Yemeni Supreme Court refused to confirm the 
sentences and in several cases ordered the prisoners released 
upon a finding that their periods of incarceration, which 
ranged up to 10 years, were adequate punishment.  The eighth 
case was still pending.

Substandard conditions in Yemeni prisons represent a threat to 
the health of inmates.  Visitors from human rights 
organizations and local press reports have described inadequate 
food, medical, and sanitary facilities, and severe 
overcrowding.  In the women's section of Sanaa central prison, 
prisoners were in some instances unable to obtain milk for 
their children who were incarcerated with them.

Although they are theoretically banned, shackles are still used 
in a number of Yemeni prisons.  Mentally ill persons are 
occasionally shackled, as are those involved in "blood-money" 
cases, i.e., prisoners held until they can pay a specified 
amount of compensation to the family of someone they have 
killed, usually in a traffic accident.

     d.  Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile

Despite constitutional and other legal guarantees, there 
continued to be reports of arbitrary arrest and prolonged 
detention without charge.  Moreover, relatives of accused 
persons are sometimes held while, in accordance with customary 
law, compensation for the victim or victim's relatives is 
negotiated.  Under the law, persons arrested may not be 
detained for more than 24 hours without being brought before a 
court and formally charged.  Upon arrest, a detainee has the 
right in theory to notify a person of his or her choice, but 
this right is seldom honored or is observed only upon payment 
of a bribe, especially in cases of arrests by security 
officials.  While there are provisions for release on bail, 
arrested Yemenis more commonly have a close family member 
pledge surety for them.  The accused has the right to hear the 
charges being brought and an opportunity to respond to those 
charges.  A judge then decides whether the accused is to be 
held for trial or released.  A detainee may not be required to 
answer questions without an attorney present.


Credible sources report that as many as 4,000 prisoners are 
held in Yemeni jails without documentation concerning their 
imprisonment.  Most of these prisoners were moved to state 
prisons from outlying jails following unification and are held 
without a record of their sentences or why they were arrested.  
However, it has become customary for the Government to pardon 
between 500 and 700 prisoners each year at Eid Al Fitr, a 
religious holiday marking the end of the holy month of fasting, 
Ramadan; many of these are believed to be those held without 
charge.  

A common ploy of Yemeni employers is to hire third-country 
nationals, often from the horn of Africa, and then, upon the 
expiration of their term of service, accuse them of theft and 
have them imprisoned in order to avoid paying their salary or 
ticket home.

     e.  Denial of Fair Public Trial

In accordance with an August 1991 decree, judicial systems have 
been unified at the Supreme Court level.  The lower courts have 
not yet been merged and continue to function in their 
respective halves of the country.  In the former YAR, there are 
two court systems:  Shari'a (criminal and family) and 
commercial.  The Shari'a courts are based on Islamic law and, 
viewed within their traditional Islamic context (e.g., no jury 
trials), are considered generally to be impartial.  The judge 
actively questions witnesses.  Attorneys are allowed to counsel 
their clients and may also address the court and examine 
witnesses.

In the commercial courts, defendants enjoy the right of appeal, 
and court sessions are generally open, although the 
Constitution permits the courts to hold closed sessions "for 
reasons of security or general morals."  Foreign litigants in 
the commercial courts have frequently complained of biased 
rulings, and both Yemeni and non-Yemeni litigants maintain that 
tribal ties as well as outright bribery are often decisive in 
obtaining a favorable verdict.  Former YAR state security 
courts were formally abolished after unification.  

In the former PDRY there are three court systems:  magistrate 
or divisional courts, provincial courts, and military courts.  
Magistrate's courts have jurisdiction over most criminal and 
traffic offenses, juvenile cases, family cases, housing and 
agrarian disputes, and minor civil matters.  Provincial courts 
have jurisdiction over serious criminal cases involving the 
death sentence or long prison terms, inheritance cases, major 
civil claims, and appeals from magistrates' courts.  Military 
courts have jurisdiction over crimes by members of the armed 
forces.

Yemen's judiciary is not fully independent.  There are some 
"government" judges, i.e., judges who will return whatever 
verdict the Government desires.  They operate generally at the 
lower court level.  The Appellate and Supreme Courts are 
independent from the executive branch of government, though 
they are not free of corruption, even at the highest levels.  
Although the Shari'a and commercial courts in the former YAR 
are largely independent of the executive, judicial authorities 
have complained of executive branch interference in sensitive 
cases and of the continued existence of extrajudicial prisons 
maintained by some ministries.

The Government denies that it holds any political prisoners, 
although credible Yemeni sources dispute this.  Amnesty 
International and other human rights organizations have 
expressed concern about political opponents of the Government 
who were arrested in the former YAR and are still believed to 
be held in prison.  All were suspected members of the NDF; no 
confirmed figure is available on their number.  Most NDF 
prisoners appear to qualify as political prisoners on the 
grounds that they did not receive fair trials.  Some NDF 
members, arrested before 1985, are reportedly still being held 
despite a general amnesty declared in 1985 for all former NDF 
members.

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

Despite constitutional guarantees against such interference, 
security forces routinely search homes, monitor telephones, 
read personal mail, and otherwise intrude into personal 
matters, alleging security concerns.

Section 2  Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

     a.  Freedom of Speech and Press

The new Constitution provides for freedom of speech and press 
"within the limits of the law."  Yemenis typically engage in 
uninhibited discussions of both domestic and foreign policies 
in qat (a leaf that acts as mild stimulant which many Yemenis 
chew) sessions, an institution deeply ingrained in Yemeni 
life.  However, some Yemenis remain cautious in exercising 
their freedom of speech, believing that they may experience 
difficulty if security agents overhear them criticizing 
particular government leaders.

Since unification Yemen has enjoyed greater press freedom.  In 
addition to several major newspapers owned by the Government, 
some 94 papers have been registered, although only about 60 are 
being published, some of them on an irregular basis.  These 
papers represent a wide spectrum of political opinion and 
frequently criticize government policies and leaders by name.  
In one striking case in 1993, the editor of the only English 
weekly published several articles accusing President Saleh of 
cronyism.  The Government charged the editor with 
"antigovernment" slander, but the court threw out the 
Government's case, an action that the press hailed as a victory 
for freedom of the press.  It remains to be seen what effect 
this will have on the press, which is widely seen as practicing 
self-censorship, particularly on sensitive issues such as 
Yemen's policies during the Gulf crisis and Yemeni-Saudi 
relations.

The Ministry of Information continues to subsidize most 
newspapers, which gives the Government added control over the 
print media.  The Government has on occasion prevented the 
distribution of foreign press articles deemed to be critical.  
Articles and photos deemed salacious are forbidden.  Although 
there are no banned publications in Yemen, either foreign or 
domestic, the Government has been known to effectively restrict 
certain publications by imposing excessive duties or by other 
indirect means.  For example, a credible source alleged that 
the high tariffs on newsprint are applied unevenly, with lower 
tariffs granted to "government-friendly" newspapers.

The Ministry of Information owns and operates Yemen's radio and 
television stations.  News broadcasts appear to be closely 
controlled by the Government and virtually never contain 
reports critical of the Government.  However, Yemen's two 
television channels regularly broadcast uncensored 
parliamentary sessions even though some speakers criticize 
government policies.

Informational materials carried by both foreigners and Yemenis 
are subject to inspection at customs points, and those of a 
religious, political, or pornographic nature are often 
confiscated.  Self-censorship is sometimes practiced at Sanaa 
University, where professors and senior administrators require 
a security clearance before being hired.  However, there have 
been no recent reports of government interference in teaching 
programs or curriculum development.  Ali Abdul-Fattah Hashim, a 
writer and teacher, remains in prison after being arrested in 
April 1992 on charges of apostasy for promoting "heretical" 
teachings.

     b.  Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

Organizations must register with the Ministry of Social 
Security and Social Affairs, but licensing is usually routine.  
Yemeni citizens have a right to demonstrate peacefully and 
exercise it.  Citizens continue to demonstrate regularly in 
front of the President's office, Parliament, and provincial 
government offices to voice their views on domestic issues.

     c.  Freedom of Religion

Islam is the state religion, and there are restrictions on the 
practice of other religions.  Most Yemenis are Muslims, either 
members of the Zaydi Sect, which is a form of Shi'ism, or 
followers of the Shafi'i Sunni School of Islamic law.  Islamic 
associations with ties to pan-Islamic organizations enjoy a 
degree of freedom.  The right of these organizations to run 
schools, however, is restricted in that they must submit to 
government oversight and regulation.

Most of the once sizable Yemeni Jewish population has 
emigrated; about 500 Jews remain, mostly scattered in northern 
rural areas.  There are no formal synagogues, but services are 
routinely held in private homes.  Despite occasional 
hindrances, the Government has allowed contact with foreign 
Jewish groups and has permitted these groups to build and 
operate schools and ritual baths in the two main centers of 
Jewish population, as well as assist Jews wishing to emigrate 
from Yemen in obtaining travel documents and tickets.

Except for several families in Aden, there are no indigenous 
Yemeni Christians.  Foreign Christians throughout Yemen and the 
Indian-origin Christian community of Aden regularly conduct 
services.  While there are no churches in the former YAR, there 
are Christian churches and a Hindu temple in Aden.  Foreign 
clergy may not proselytize but are present in Yemen, often 
teaching or working in social services or health care.  By 
religious convention, Muslims may not convert to other 
religions.


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

Yemeni citizens enjoy freedom of travel within Yemen, although 
there are many checkpoints on major roads.  Foreigners are 
required to obtain permits for travel outside the capital, but 
the regulations are not strictly enforced and allow the 
Government to respond more quickly in case of need.  Permission 
for most tourist travel is easily obtainable through travel 
agencies, and there are no reports of permission being denied.

Most Yemenis are able to travel abroad freely and to emigrate.  
In contrast to 1992, Yemeni Jews are now able to emigrate with 
relatively little hindrance.  The Government has taken the 
stand that Yemeni Jews, like all Yemenis, are entitled to 
passports and that if they follow the prescribed procedures 
they will be issued travel documents.  This policy is being 
implemented in practice.   

For most Yemenis, obtaining passports is a relatively simple 
matter.  Exit permit procedures have been simplified, and 
permits are generally available at the airport.  However, young 
males who have not yet completed their military service 
sometimes are prevented from traveling abroad.  Moreover, women 
seeking exit visas are often asked to prove that male relatives 
do not object to their travel.  There have been no reports of 
Yemenis being denied the right to return.

Following a dramatic increase in the number of refugees 
(primarily from Horn of Africa countries) in 1992 from about 
10,000 to over 60,000, the influx in 1993 was insignificant.  
There are no known cases of refugees being denied asylum, and 
there were no reports of forced repatriation.  Many of the 
refugees have family or tribal ties to Yemen and have found 
work in Yemen.  The Government has offered Somalis without 
ethnic affiliation to Yemen asylum under the care of the United 
Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).  The Government 
closely monitors all political activity by refugees.  Many of 
the Palestinians who arrived in Yemen from Lebanon in 1982-83 
have departed; the remainder live in camps near Sanaa and Aden 
and are closely watched by the security services.  Other 
Palestinians are employed, often as teachers or business 
people, and are not subject to significant restrictions on 
their freedom of movement.


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

The right of the citizens of Yemen to change their government 
was successfully tested--at least to some degree--by the 
holding of the new Republic's first elections in April in which 
301 members of Parliament were chosen and which were generally 
judged to be free and open.  All the top leaders of the former 
YAR and PDRY have remained in power after unification.

The Constitution gives broad powers to the Parliament:  these 
include electing the Presidential Council, withdrawing 
confidence from the Government, questioning the Prime Minister 
and other Ministers, ratifying international agreements, and 
approving the budget.  In its initial sessions, the Parliament 
vetoed some government-sponsored bills and requested 
modifications in others.  Parliament has shown less 
independence on issues of substance, as in the debates over 
constitutional amendments.  Implementation of laws passed by 
the Parliament has been uneven as local ministry and other 
officials retain considerable discretion in interpreting and 
enforcing the law.

A five-member Presidential Council with broad executive powers 
has functioned since unification.  Its chairman is the former 
YAR President, Ali Abdullah Saleh, and its Vice Chairman, the 
Yemeni Socialist Party (YSP) Secretary General, Ali Salem 
al-Bidh.  The Council's executive powers include the right to 
pass legislation by decree when the Parliament is not in 
session.  Laws passed by decree must be submitted for review by 
the Parliament within 30 days.  The Council appointed Haydar 
Abu Bakr al-Attas Prime Minister in May 1990, and he formed a 
government now comprised of 30 ministries, divided among the 
three coalition members.

The new Constitution permits political parties, although by law 
their programs may not oppose the Islamic religion or the goals 
of the Yemeni revolution or violate Yemeni international 
commitments.  Under the law, government financial support must 
be given to recognized political parties, and parties may 
establish their own newspapers.  Even before unification, while 
technically illegal in both the YAR and the PDRY, new political 
parties began to organize.  There are currently 54 political 
parties in Yemen, but until now none has registered in 
accordance with the 1991 political parties law.


Women may vote and hold office by law, although this right is 
limited in practice by cultural and religious traditions.  Two 
members of the 301-member Parliament are women, and few women  
hold senior leadership positions in the Government or political 
parties.

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

There are two nongovernmental human rights organizations:  The 
Yemeni Human Rights Organization, headquartered in Sanaa, and 
The Yemeni Organization for the Defense of Liberties and Human 
Rights, based in Aden.  A government-sanctioned human rights 
organization also exists as a committee of the Parliament.  It 
has held several meetings and has hosted an international 
children's rights conference but has done little else of 
substance.

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

Although the constitution prohibits discrimination based on 
sex, race, origin, language, occupation, social status, or 
religious belief, in practice various forms of discrimination 
exist.

     Women

Although the Constitution provides for equality of the sexes, 
significant restrictions on women are imposed by tradition and 
law.  Under current law, polygyny is allowed, husbands may 
divorce their wives without justifying their actions before the 
court, and, in case of divorce, both the family home and the 
children are often awarded to the husband.  Until this year, 
the relatively progressive family law from the south was still 
applied in Aden.  Earlier this year, however, a presidential 
decree containing more restrictive regulations against women 
was issued.  Since it has never been ratified by Parliament, it 
technically is not law.  A prominent lawyer in Aden, however, 
cites from personal experience before the courts their 
enforcement of the more restrictive regulations.

The institution of dowry payments is widespread.  The amount of 
payments has continued to increase; government efforts at 
limiting their size have been ineffective, due to societal 
restraints.  Societal pressures also often force women to 
defer to the guidance of male colleagues and the general 
supervision of male relatives as, for example, in seeking to 
travel abroad.

Education of women in significant numbers began in the YAR only 
at the end of the civil war in 1970, although education of 
women in the PDRY was more advanced.  It is conservatively 
estimated that 80 percent of Yemeni women are illiterate (some 
estimates range as high as 95 percent), compared to 40 to 50 
percent of all men.  In Aden, women work in midlevel jobs in 
several ministries and in banks and other businesses.  Yemen's 
largest factory group employs women on the same pay scale as 
men, and women have risen through the ranks to lower management 
positions.  There are female judges and lawyers in Aden and 
lesser numbers in the north.  The Ministry of Justice has only 
one female employee.

Wife beating and other physical abuse of women does occur in 
Yemeni families.  Statistics on wife beating are unavailable.  
Although there is little public discussion of this matter, it 
has received increasing attention in the press.  The female 
victim usually turns to a male relative to pressure the 
perpetrator to stop the abuse; she may seek a legal remedy, but 
social traditions usually compel women and their male relatives 
to seek mediation and keep the matter within the extended 
family.

There is a government-sponsored women's association which 
promotes female education and civic responsibilities.

     Children

The Yemeni Government claims to be fully committed to 
protecting children's rights and hosted an international 
children's rights seminar in 1993.  In the face of continued 
government preoccupation with the political crisis, however, 
defense of children's rights is a low priority.  Yemen is an 
extremely impoverished nation and cannot provide all the 
health, education, and welfare benefits children enjoy in more 
developed countries.  There is, however, a system of universal 
education for children, as well as Government health clinics.

Child marriage remains common in rural areas.  A form of female 
genital mutilation, clitorectomy, is practiced in the Tihama 
Red Sea coastal region and in the region of the Hadhramaut 
along the Gulf of Aden, especially among Yemenis of African 
origin.  The extent of the practice is unknown.  While some 
government health workers in the Tihama actively discourage 
clitorectomy, there is no government directive or guidance 
against the practice.  Conservative social mores effectively 
prevent public discussion or government acknowledgment of the 
practice.

     National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities

Yemenis with a non-Yemeni parent (so-called muwalladin) face 
discrimination.  For example, the Constitution requires that 
members of the Presidential Council be "born of Yemeni 
parents."  Sanaa University, administered by the Government, 
applies the same restriction when hiring teaching and senior 
administrative staff, as does Yemen's military academy in 
selecting cadets.  However, discrimination against muwalladin 
is not universal; many senior government officials, including 
ministers, are muwalladin.  Naturalization of the non-Yemeni 
parent is enough to overcome the "Yemeni parents" requirement.  
Another smaller group known as Akhdam, the descendants of 
ancient Ethiopian occupiers who later became slaves, also faces 
persistent social discrimination.

     Religious Minorities

Apart from several Adeni Christian families and 20-30 
underground Bahais in the north, Jews are Yemen's only 
indigenous religious minority.  By custom, non-Muslims are not 
permitted to carry weapons, traditionally carried by Muslim 
Yemenis.  With the recent lifting of travel restrictions, the 
most blatant form of discrimination against Jews has been 
removed.  More subtle forms of discrimination, such as lack of 
political and economic opportunities, and the inability of 
Jewish men to marry outside the Jewish community, remain.  Such 
discrimination is usually the result of custom rather than 
government policy, however.

     People with Disabilities

Disabled persons suffer discrimination based on traditional 
social prejudices against mental and physical handicaps.  
Persons with such handicaps are often isolated and are not 
given equal opportunity for education or employment.  As noted 
in Section 1.c., mentally ill persons are occasionally 
shackled.  The Government has not enacted legislation or 
otherwise mandated accessibility for the disabled.


Section 6  Worker Rights

     a.  The Right of Association

As United Yemen has not yet enacted a new labor code, the labor 
codes for the former YAR and PDRY remain in effect for their 
respective parts of the country.  In both the YAR and PDRY, 
labor unions were closely controlled, if not actually 
organized, by the respective ruling parties.

Under the YAR Labor Code, a union may be set up by 100 or more 
workers upon application to and approval by the Government.  
The Code prescribes a single union system with one union 
committee per enterprise, one union branch per locality, one 
general union per economic sector, and one national umbrella 
organization, which was the Yemeni Trade Union Confederation.

Public servants, employees, and manual workers employed in the 
state administration, as well as some categories of farm 
workers, are excluded from union membership.  Under the YAR 
Labor Code, the Council of Ministers may dissolve trade unions 
without judicial action.  The Code also prohibits unions from 
engaging in political activity.  Financial records are subject 
to government oversight.

In the PDRY, the General Federation of Trade Unions (GFTU), the 
only labor association, was under close Yemeni Socialist Party 
control.  The YAR and PDRY Labor Confederations merged in 1990, 
forming the Yemeni Confederation of Labor Unions (YCLU).  The 
YCLU is affiliated with the International Confederation of Arab 
Trade Unions and the formerly Soviet-controlled World 
Federation of Trade Unions.

In the YAR, labor-related legislation neither granted the right 
to strike nor outlawed strikes.  No major strikes were held in 
1993, in contrast with 1992.  A general strike was called for 
in March, postponed until May, and finally dropped altogether 
after the Government agreed to substantial cost of living 
increases.  Yemeni labor laws neither prohibit nor allow 
retribution against strikers.  The International Labor 
Organization (ILO) Committee of Experts reminded the Government 
in March that numerous changes in the Labor Code were necessary 
to bring it into conformity with ILO Convention 87 on freedom 
of association.  The Government informed the ILO in June that 
Article 39 of the Constitution, adopted following unification, 
guarantees to trade unions the right of organization, freedom 
of association, and political rights, which would be amplified 
in a new labor code.

     b.  The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively

Although the YAR Labor Code calls for employers to treat 
workers collectively, it does not require collective 
bargaining.  There are consequently no formal collective 
bargaining agreements now in force.  Unions do negotiate wage 
settlements for their members and have often resorted to 
strikes or other actions to achieve their demands.  According 
to the YAR Labor Code, collective agreements must be registered 
and may be unilaterally revoked by the Government if they do 
not conform to the security and economic interests of the 
country.

Neither the PDRY nor the YAR labor codes specifically prohibit 
antiunion discrimination.  Therefore, employers are not found 
guilty of antiunion discrimination, nor are they required to 
reinstate workers fired for union activities.  Such matters may 
be taken to labor courts, however, which are generally 
favorably disposed toward unions.  The ILO's Committee of 
Experts again in 1993 urged the Government to adopt legislation 
protecting workers against antiunion discrimination.  

Until a new labor code is passed, workers in the north enjoy 
limited protections under the YAR Labor Code.  Workers in the 
former PDRY have practically no protection.  In the former 
PDRY, the State, through the YSP-controlled unions, purported 
to represent the rights of the workers.  There was no 
collective bargaining, and there were no nongovernmental bodies 
that addressed labor grievances.

There are no export processing zones.

     c.  Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor

Forced or compulsory labor is forbidden by the Constitution, 
and there are no reports of its practice.

     d.  Minimum Age for Employment of Children

There was no minimum age for employment of children in the 
YAR.  Labor by minors aged 12 to 14 was regulated by the Labor 
Code.  In the PDRY, the Labor Code prohibited the employment of 
children (defined as between 7 and 12 years of age) and 
regulated that of young persons (between 12 and 16 years of 
age), although these provisions were not rigorously enforced.  
Currently, apprentice employment of young persons aged 14 and 
older is permitted.  This minimum age requirement is not 
enforced, and child labor is common throughout Yemen, 
particularly in rural areas.  For the most part, it is 
sanctioned by family tradition, and it is not uncommon to see 
children working in workshops or stores.  In the south, child 
labor often occurs on family, cooperative, and state farms.

     e.  Acceptable Conditions of Work

There was no established minimum wage in the YAR.  In the 
former PDRY, the labor laws set a minimum wage which provided a 
worker a minimal standard of living.  The prevailing daily wage 
for unskilled labor in Yemen allows a very modest standard of 
living for a worker with a family.

YAR legal codes prescribe a maximum 8-hour workday (6 hours 
during Ramadan), but some workshops operate 10- or 12-hour 
shifts without penalty.  The YAR Labor Code does not prescribe 
the number of workdays, only that the maximum workweek consist 
of 48 hours.  There is no provision for a 24-hour rest period.  
The PDRY Labor Code stipulates a 42-hour workweek.  Government 
employees generally work a reduced workweek:  35 hours (6 hours 
a day, 6 days a week, with a 5-hour day on Thursdays).  These 
provisions, however, are not widely enforced in either part of 
Yemen.  The Ministry of Labor in the YAR investigated 
complaints of alleged violations and, if found valid, sought 
restitution from the employer.

Enforcement of the Labor Code is more prevalent against foreign 
employers of Yemeni workers.  One foreign oil company was not 
permitted to require workers to shave; beards are usually 
forbidden on oil rigs to allow for the use of gas masks in the 
event of a blowout.  Safety requirements are sometimes 
unenforceable because foreign companies do not have the freedom 
to discipline workers.  Foreign companies have had labor 
conditions and size of work force unilaterally imposed on them 
by government ministries.

There is no legislation guaranteeing workers the right to 
remove themselves from dangerous work situations without 
jeopardy to continued employment.  YAR and PDRY legal codes did 
not effectively regulate working conditions and health hazards 
in the workplace, and this remains the case.  In the past, the 
YAR government set general safety requirements for larger 
organizations but only occasionally checked compliance.  There 
was legislation regulating conditions of labor in the PDRY, but 
there was no agency for effective enforcement.


[end of document]

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