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TITLE: CAPE VERDE HUMAN RIGHTS PRACTICES, 1994
AUTHOR: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DATE: FEBRUARY 1995









                           CAPE VERDE


Cape Verde is a parliamentary democracy in which constitutional 
powers are shared between President Antonio Mascarenhas 
Monteiro, an independent, and Prime Minister Carlos Wahnon de 
Carvalho Veiga, and his party, the Movement for Democracy 
(MPD).  The MPD dominates the National Assembly in which only 
two of the four official political parties are represented.

The Government controls the police, which have primary 
responsibility for maintenance of law and order.  There were no 
reported human rights abuses committed by security forces.

Cape Verde has a market-based economy but little industry and 
few exploitable natural resources.  The country has a long 
history of economically driven emigration, primarily to Western 
Europe and the United States, and receipts from Cape Verdeans 
abroad remain an important source of national income.  Even in 
years of optimum rainfall, the country can produce food for 
only 25 percent of the population, resulting in a heavy 
reliance on international food aid.

The principal human rights problems in 1994 continued to be 
societal discrimination, domestic violence against women, and 
child abuse.  The easing of political tensions has allowed 
authorities to begin bringing criminals to justice without fear 
of accusations of political motive.  Individuals of all ethnic 
origin who had used political conflict as cover are now visibly 
pursued and arrested for violations of the law.

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

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

     a.  Political and Other Extrajudicial Killing

There were no reports 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 reports of these abuses.

     d.  Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile

The law stipulates that authorities bring charges before a 
judge within 24 hours of arrest.  Police may not make arrests 
without a court order unless a person is caught in the act of 
committing a felony.  In exceptional cases, and with the 
concurrence of a court official, authorities may detain persons 
without charge for up to 5 days.  These laws are observed in 
practice.

The Ministry of Justice has 40 days to prepare for trial in 
state security cases, and may detain persons until trial or for 
a period not to exceed 1 year.  There is a functioning system 
of bail.

There were no reports of security detentions or forced exile.

     e.  Denial of Fair Public Trial

The Constitution provides for the right to a fair trial.  A 
judiciary independent of the executive branch generally 
provides due process rights, but there are serious delays owing 
to an understaffed judiciary (see below).

The judicial system is composed of the Supreme Court and the 
regional courts.  There are five Supreme Court judges, 
including one appointed by the President, one appointed by the 
National Assembly, and three appointed by the High Council of 
Magistrates.  Judges are independent and may not belong to a 
political party.

Defendants are presumed to be innocent; have the right to 
public, nonjury trial; to counsel; to present witnesses; and to 
appeal verdicts.  Free counsel is provided for the indigent.  
Regional courts adjudicate minor disputes on the local level in 
rural areas.  The Ministry of Justice and Labor appoints local 
judges, who are usually prominent local citizens.  Defendants 
may appeal regional court decisions to the Supreme Court.

The right to an expeditious trial is constrained by a seriously 
overburdened judicial system.  A backlog of cases routinely 
leads to trial delays of 6 months.

There were no political prisoners.

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

The Constitution provides for the inviolability of domicile, 
correspondence, and other means of communication, and the 
Government respects these rights in practice.  The law requires 
a judicial warrant before homes may be searched.

Section 2  Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

     a.  Freedom of Speech and Press

The Constitution provides for freedom to express ideas by 
words, images, or any other means, and for freedom of the press 
without censorship.  These freedoms are generally respected in 
practice.

Journalists are independent of the Government and are not 
required to reveal their sources.  However, self-censorship 
limits media criticism of the Government.  Government officials 
use Cape Verde's strict libel laws to intimidate critics, as in 
a successful case against the government-owned Novo Jornal de 
Cabo Verde and in several pending cases against the independent 
A Semana.  The Government may also demote or dismiss 
journalists in government enterprises who exceed the preferred 
limits of criticism.

Government authorization is not needed to establish newspapers, 
other publications, or electronic media.  There are 
independent, governmental and opposition media.  The national 
radio station broadcasts live National Assembly sessions in 
their entirety.  Independent newspapers also enjoy freedom of 
the press.  In 1994 a bimonthly paper, Correio Quinze, was 
founded by supporters of a newly formed opposition group.

     b.  Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

The Constitution provides for freedom of peaceful assembly and 
association without authorization and without harassment by the 
authorities.  Various groups exercised this right without 
government interference or objection.  However, in April, a 
demonstration by high school students in Praia turned violent 
when squatters and other homeless persons who had been forced 
from illegally constructed housing joined the protest and 
injured two government employees while throwing stones and 
attacking buses and cars.  The Government does not require 
permits for demonstrations.  However, organizers must inform 
the authorities that a demonstration is planned.

     c.  Freedom of Religion

The Constitution provides for the freedom of religion and the 
separation of church and state.  It also prohibits the State 
from imposing religious beliefs and practices.  The Government 
respects these rights in practice.

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

Citizens are free to travel and establish residence without 
government restrictions.  The Constitution provides for 
repatriation, and the Government allows it in practice.

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

Citizens exercised this right in 1991, after 15 years of 
one-party rule.  An opposition party won the country's first 
free legislative and presidential elections and peacefully 
assumed power.  Promulgation of the new Constitution in 1992 
consolidated this change.

The Constitution provides for separation of powers.  Cabinet 
ministers are not required to be members of the National 
Assembly, but they are individually subject to parliamentary 
confirmation.  Collectively, they must retain the support of a 
parliamentary majority.  The President may dismiss the 
Government with the approval of the Council of the Republic, 
which 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.  Referendums may be held 
under specified circumstances but may not challenge individual 
political rights and liberties or the right of opposition 
parties to exist and function freely.  No referendums were held 
in 1994.

There are no restrictions in law or practice regarding the 
rights of women or minorities to vote or to participate in the 
political process.  Women hold 7.6 percent of the seats in 
Parliament and 2 of 13 cabinet ministers are women.

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

There are two private human rights groups in Cape Verde--the 
National Commission of the Rights of Man and the Cape Verdean 
League for Human Rights.  No major human rights organizations 
conducted investigations in Cape Verde during 1994.

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

The Constitution prohibits discrimination based on race, sex, 
religion, disability, language, or social status.

     Women

Women continue to face discrimination in several ways.  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 but are making 
modest inroads in the professions.

The Constitution prohibits discrimination against women in 
inheritance, family and custody matters.  However, largely 
because of illiteracy, most women are unaware of their rights.  
Women are often reluctant to seek redress of domestic disputes 
in the courts.  The Organization of Cape Verdean Women alleges 
disparate treatment in inheritance matters despite laws calling 
for equal rights.

Women comprise 38 percent of the work force, but make up more 
than half the workers in service and administrative positions.  
Employment opportunities for women have improved, as evidenced 
by the increasing presence of women in the upper echelons of 
government and among law and medical professionals.

Domestic violence against women, including wife beating, 
remains common, particularly in rural areas.  Victims rarely 
report crimes such as rape and spousal abuse to the police.  
Neither the Government nor women's organizations have addressed 
directly the issue of violence against women.

     Children

Child abuse is a continuing problem.  The Government mounted a 
public relations campaign to educate the public about the 
dangers of child abuse and the rights of children.  The 
Government may remove children from their parents' homes and 
place them in an orphanage, if warranted.  However, few cases 
of child abuse are prosecuted.

     People with Disabilities

The Government does not mandate access to public buildings or 
services for the disabled.  It does provide transportation (a 
combination wheelchair and three-wheel motor scooter) for 
handicapped persons.  Physically disabled persons are not 
subject to discrimination in employment or education.

Section 6  Worker Rights

     a.  The Right of Association

Workers are legally free to form and to join unions without 
government authorization or restriction.  There are two 
umbrella union associations:  the Council of Free Labor Unions, 
formed after the change in government and composed of 11 unions 
with about 7,000 members, and the National Union of Cape Verde 
Workers, formed by the former ruling party but operating 
independently in 1994, composed of 13 unions with about 15,000 
members.  The Government does not interfere with the activities 
of these organizations, but both suffer from a shortage of 
funds.

The Constitution provides union members with the right to 
strike, and the Government does not restrict this right.  There 
were periodic strikes throughout 1994.  By law, an employer 
must reinstate a worker fired unjustly.

Unions are free to affiliate internationally and have ties with 
African and international trade union organizations.

     b.  The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively

The Constitution provides for the right to organize and operate 
without hindrance and 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 1991 legislative decree bans antiunion discrimination by 
employers, with fines for offenders.  There were no reported 
cases of such discrimination.

There are 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.  The law prohibits 
children under 16 from working at night, more than 7 hours per 
day, or in establishments where toxic products are produced, 
but the Government rarely enforces the law.  In practice, the 
Ministry of Justice and Labor enforces minimum age laws with 
limited success, and only in the urban, formal sectors of the 
economy.

     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 escudos) per month.  The majority of 
jobs pay wages insufficient to provide a worker and his family 
a decent standard of living; therefore, most workers also rely 
on 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 domestic 
servants and rural workers work longer hours.

The Director General of Labor conducts periodic inspections to 
enforce proper labor practices and imposes fines on private 
enterprises which are not in conformity with the law, but the 
Government does not systematically enforce labor laws and much 
of the labor force does not enjoy their protection.  There are 
few industries that employ heavy or dangerous equipment, and 
work-related accidents are rare.
(###)


[end of document]

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