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









                             YEMEN


The Republic of Yemen was proclaimed in 1990 following the 
unification of the former Yemen Arab Republic (YAR), or North 
Yemen, and the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen (PDRY), or 
South Yemen.  After a relatively calm transition period of 
several years, a "unity" crisis ensued, and in May a civil war 
broke out during which the southern part seceded.  By early 
July, unionist military forces prevailed against southern-based 
secessionists.  After the fighting, most of the secessionist 
leadership fled abroad.  Since then, the main party of the 
south, the Yemeni Socialist Party (YSP), elected a new 
leadership and is now an opposition party.  The governing 
coalition is composed of the General People's Congress (GPC) 
and the Islamic Yemeni Grouping for Reform (Islaah).

The Government adopted a new Constitution in September, 
replacing the 1991 Constitution.  The President is Ali Abdullah 
Saleh, the former President of the Yemen Arab Republic and 
leader of the GPC.  He was elected to a 5-year term in 1994 by 
the legislature, but the Constitution provides that henceforth 
the President will be elected in a popular vote from candidates 
selected by the legislature.  The 301-seat House of 
Representatives was elected in 1993--the first multiparty 
Parliament elected by popular vote and universal suffrage.  
Tribal leaders control many parts of the country where central 
authority is weak.

The primary state security apparatus is the Political Security 
Organization (PSO) which reports directly to the President.  It 
is independent of the Ministry of Interior.  PSO officers have 
broad discretion over perceived national security issues and, 
despite constitutional constraints, routinely detain citizens 
for questioning, frequently mistreat them, monitor their 
activities, and search their homes.  The Criminal Investigative 
Department (CID) of the police conducts most arrests.  The 
Central Security Organization (CSO), a part of the Ministry of 
the Interior, maintains a paramilitary force.

Yemen is a poor country in which oil and agriculture dominate 
the economy.  Oil is the primary source of foreign exchange, 
but remittances from some 500,000 Yemenis working in Saudi 
Arabia are also important.  The level of remittances was 
sharply reduced after Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states 
expelled up to 850,000 Yemeni workers during the Gulf War 
because of the Government's support for Iraq.  Most of the Gulf states have also suspended foreign assistance programs, and 
much Western aid has been reduced.

While the Government remains in principle committed to 
democratic reform, some serious human rights abuses took place 
before, during, and after the civil war.  Major problems 
include arbitrary arrest and detention, especially of those 
regarded as "separatists"; torture; infringements on the 
freedom of the press; 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

Before and during the civil war, there were widespread reports 
that government and southern Yemeni forces, including members 
of the YSP, committed extrajudicial killings of both civilians 
and military personnel.  None of the allegations has been 
substantiated.

     b.  Disappearance

As in previous years, many citizens reportedly disappeared 
following their arrests by the security forces or regular army 
units.  Most disappearances were temporary and were members of 
the YSP.  Central government forces released the vast majority 
of these persons after varying periods of detention.

Hundreds of cases of disappearances dating from the 1970's, 
implicating the governments of both North and South Yemen, 
remain unresolved.  Included among these cases are some 200 to 
300 South Yemenis who disappeared in the former PDRY during an 
internal conflict in 1986.  The Government has never 
established a mechanism to resolve such cases.

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

The Constitution is ambiguous on its prohibition of cruel or 
inhuman punishments.  It states that the Government may not 
impose "illegal" punishments--a formulation that may be 
interpreted as permitting amputations according to Islamic law, 
or Shar'ia.  Another article asserts that Shar'ia is "the 
source of all legislation."

There is no indication that the Government has carried out 
amputations.  However, there have been undocumented reports 
that prison and other officials have carried out such acts 
extrajudicially.

The Government tightly controls access to detention 
facilities.  Nonetheless, it permits most impartial observers 
to visit prisoners and detainees with some exceptions.  
Although there is no evidence that the authorities torture 
detainees arrested for common felonies, on occasion they may 
resort to force, or the threat of force, to extract 
information.  The press continues to report stories of alleged 
torture and mistreatment of detainees and prisoners.

The use of torture by central government forces is believed to 
exist but is uncommon.  There were undocumented reports that 
both sides tortured military personnel captured during the 
civil war.  One international human rights group reported that 
soldiers tied up some prisoners and hung them from a rod with 
bound hands and feet.

However, there were credible reports that central government 
forces inhumanely treated northern military officers suspected 
of secessionist sympathies.  There were also reports that the 
authorities inhumanely treated prisoners held in "secret" 
military prisons (see Section 1.d.).

Prison conditions do not meet internationally recognized 
minimum standards.  Prisons are overcrowded, sanitary 
conditions are poor, and rations and health care inadequate. 
Inmates depend on relatives to provide food and medicines.  The 
authorities still use leg irons and shackles, and the law 
permits flogging.  Many cases of reported flogging occurred in 
1992 and 1993; the practice likely continued in 1994.

Shortly after the war, when Aden, the former capital of the 
PDRY, was occupied by troops and "Islamic extremists," persons 
were often flogged in public, without trial, for offenses such 
as drinking alcohol or walking with a member of the opposite 
sex.  These floggings were evidently carried out as 
extrajudicial punishments for those deemed to have transgressed 
Islamic law.  The practice was discontinued after the 
Government restored law and order.

     d.  Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile

Despite constitutional and other legal provisions, there 
continue to be reports of arbitrary arrest and prolonged 
detention without charge.  According to the Constitution, 
detainees must be arraigned within 24 hours of arrest or 
released.  The judge or district attorney must inform the 
accused of the basis for the arrest and decide whether or not 
to hold the accused.  In no case may a detainee be held longer 
than 7 days without a court order.

Detainees have the right to inform their families of their 
arrests and may decline to answer questions during 
interrogation without an attorney present.  In practice, many 
authorities respect these rights only if bribed.  There is a 
system of bail.

Some detainees are reportedly held in an undetermined number of 
unauthorized or secret locations.  Attorneys and other judicial 
authorities have complained of the continued existence of 
extrajudicial prisons maintained by certain ministries, notably 
the Ministry of Interior.  The Government has failed to ensure 
that detainees and prisoners are incarcerated in authorized 
detention facilities.  Army bases are not believed to be used 
as detention facilities for civilian prisoners.  Moreover, some 
unauthorized prisons are believed to exist in "tribal" areas.

Approximately 100 to 200 northern military officers suspected 
of having separatist sympathies during the civil war are 
believed to be held under inhumane conditions in secret 
military prisons.  However, the existence of such prisons has 
not been confirmed.

In certain cases where a suspect is at large, the security 
forces may detain one of the suspect's relatives while the 
suspect is sought and the families of the suspect and victim 
negotiate compensation for the alleged wrongdoing.

As many as 4,000 inmates, most of whom are accused or convicted 
felons, are imprisoned without documentation concerning their 
sentences or reasons for their arrest.  Most were moved to 
central prisons from outlying jails following unification in 
1990.  Written records for southern prisoners were in most 
cases lost or destroyed in the civil war or the subsequent 
looting.  The authorities in the north reportedly never kept 
records.  Many inmates who are released during the customary 
annual amnesty are believed to be among those without any 
written record of their arrest or sentence.

At the end of the civil war, the President pardoned all persons 
who fought against the central Government.  The amnesty 
extended to all military personnel and most of the leaders of 
the unrecognized, secessionist Democratic Republic of Yemen 
(DRY), except for the DRY's 16 most senior leaders who fled 
abroad.  Although they were technically not forced into exile, 
they would presumably be subject to arrest if they returned.  
President Saleh stated that the cases of some of the 16 would 
be reconsidered if they renounce their separatist ambitions.  
Many thousands of Yemenis returned from abroad to take 
advantage of the amnesty.

     e.  Denial of a Fair Trial

From 1990 until the outbreak of the civil war, the courts in 
northern and southern Yemen functioned as before unification:  
they applied two distinct bodies of law but shared a common 
Supreme Court.  After the civil war, the Government merged the 
two judiciaries.

There are two types of courts:  Islamic law or Shar'ia courts, 
which try criminal cases and adjudicate issues of personal 
status, such as divorce and inheritance; and the commercial 
courts.  There are no jury trials in the Shar'ia system.  Cases 
are adjudicated by a judge who plays an active role in 
questioning witnesses, but defense attorneys are allowed to 
advise their clients, address the court, and examine 
witnesses.  Defendants have the right to appeal their 
sentences.  Trials are public.

In commercial courts, defendants also enjoy the right of 
appeal, and court sessions are generally open to the public.  
However, both the Shar'ia and the commercial courts may conduct 
closed sessions "for reasons of public security or morals."  
Foreign litigants in commercial disputes have complained of 
biased rulings.

The judiciary is not fully independent.  Many litigants 
maintain that a judge's tribal ties, and even bribery, 
sometimes have greater influence on the verdict than the the 
law or facts.  Others maintain that judges closely associated 
with the Government often render decisions favorable to it.

The President denies that the Government detains political 
prisoners.  However, an estimated 100 to 200 military officers, 
allegedly sympathetic to the breakaway DRY, are reportedly 
detained in secret military prisons (see Section l.d.).

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

Despite constitutional provisions against such interference, 
security forces routinely search homes, monitor telephones, 
read personal mail, and otherwise intrude into personal matters 
for alleged security considerations.  Such activities are 
conducted without warrants issued by legal authorities or other 
judicial supervision.  Many citizens believe that the security 
forces monitor telephone conversations.

     g.  Use of Excessive Force and Violations of Humanitarian 
         Law in Internal Conflicts

Combatants on both sides in the civil war conducted a number of 
abuses against unarmed civilians.  Such practices included the 
use of Scud missiles against targets in populated areas; armed 
conflict conducted near refugees; and the shelling of urban 
areas, particularly Aden.  In some instances, military forces 
appeared to seek refuge in densely populated areas, threatening 
civilians often caught in the crossfire, although most tank 
battles took place in rural areas.  Vast numbers of mines, 
which threaten the lives of civilians in the south, were left 
behind and hamper efforts to restore water and electricity to 
Aden.

In one instance in May, government army units surrounded the 
YSP headquarters building in Sanaa.  According to eyewitnesses, 
tanks were used to overpower a small contingent of YSP guards, 
who fought back determinedly.  The army reportedly may not have 
given the guards a sufficient opportunity to surrender before 
opening fire.  Although there were no known fatalities, the 
destruction of the property exceeded necessity.  The Government 
has not undertaken any investigation of the incident.

Human rights groups and others noted extensive looting, 
vandalism, and destruction not caused during the prosecution of 
the war.  While military forces may not have been directly 
implicated in much of the vandalism, some observers maintain 
that they may have been able to prevent it.  They also claim 
that the looting and vandalism may have exceeded war-related 
damage in some urban areas of the south.

After the war, the Central Government restored order in the 
south, and the incidence of political violence aimed at the YSP 
decreased.

Section 2  Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

     a.  Freedom of Speech and Press

The Constitution restricts the freedoms of speech and press 
"within the limits of the law."  Although many citizens are 
uninhibited in their dicussions of domestic and foreign 
policies, some are cautious, believing that they may be 
harassed for publicly expressed criticisms of the Government.

From 1990 until the the outbreak of the civil war, the press 
operated freely.  During that period, nearly 100 newspapers 
appeared, reflecting a broad spectrum of political views.  The 
Government licenses all newspapers, but not journalists.  
However, after war broke out, it shut down all papers 
associated with the YSP, as well as those which expressed 
separatist sympathies.  After the war, the Government began to 
ease some, but not all, restraints on the press.

To avoid possible government harassment, journalists censor 
themselves, especially when writing about the civil war, 
relations with Saudi Arabia, and corruption of senior 
officials.  The penalty for exceeding such self-imposed limits 
would likely be arrest for slander or libel.

The Ministry of Information influences the media by its 
ownership of the printing presses, subsidies to certain 
newspapers, and ownership of the radio and television 
companies.  The Government censors radio and television news 
broadcasts which never contain reports critical of it.  
However, the two television channels regularly broadcast 
parliamentary debates in which Members of Parliament sometimes 
voice criticisms.

Customs officials are authorized to confiscate any imported 
material regarded as pornographic or objectionable because of 
religious or political content.  Before the civil war, the 
Government occasionally prohibited foreign publications 
critical of the Government.  After the war, the Government 
banned for various lengths of time the importation of 
newspapers owned by Saudi investors--notably Sharq Al-Awsat 
(The Middle East) and Al-Hayat (Life).  Publications critical 
of the Government were allowed again, but certain Saudi-backed 
papers did not appear until much later.

A court case was recently decided in favor of the newspaper, Al 
Shoura, which the Government charged with slander against the 
President, sowing seeds of sectarianism, and editorial 
impropriety.  The trial was public and received wide coverage.  
The judge dismissed all charges and ordered the Government to 
pay the newspaper's legal fees and costs.

In early January 1995, the Government reportedly suspended 
publication of the Aden-based newspaper, Al-Ayyam, for 
publishing articles critical of government policy in the 
south.  The writer, Abu Bakr Al-Saqqaf, a noted dissident, was 
reportedly kidnaped and beaten by suspected government agents.

University professors and administrators require security 
clearances before they are hired.  Security officials are 
present on the Sanaa University campus and informers monitor 
the activities of students and professors.

     b.  Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

Citizens have a right to demonstrate peacefully and they 
exercise it.  However, during the civil war, the Government 
strictly curtailed this right.  Associations must obtain a 
license from the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, but 
licensing is usually routine.

     c.  Freedom of Religion

Islam is the state religion and there are restrictions on the 
practice of other religions.  Virtually all citizens are 
Muslims, either of the Zaydi branch of Shi'a Islam or the 
Shafe'ei branch of Sunni Islam.  There are also some Ismailis 
in the north.  Private Islamic organizations may maintain ties 
to pan-Islamic organizations and operate schools, but the 
Government closely monitors their activities.

Most of the once sizable Jewish population has emigrated; fewer 
than 500 remain.  Jewish religious services are held in private 
homes.  In recent years, the Government removed unwritten 
obstacles which had prevented Jews from obtaining passports and 
hindered their contact with foreign Jewish groups.

Most Christians are foreign residents, except for a few 
Christian families of Indian origin in Aden.  There are several 
churches and Hindu temples in Aden, but no non-Muslim places of 
worship in the former North Yemen.  After the civil war, 
suspected Islamic extremists looted and vandalized the Anglican 
Church in Aden, desecrated others, looted Hindu temples, and 
even desecrated some Islamic shrines regarded by the extremists 
as sacrilegious.  Damage to the Anglican church was estimated 
at $70,000 to $80,000.  Government forces have since 
reestablished security around these places of worship.

The Christian clergy minister to the foreign community and are 
employed in teaching, social services, and health care.  The 
Government does not allow them to proselytize Muslims.  By 
religious convention, Muslims may not convert to other 
religions.  A religiously motivated suit was brought against a 
hospital in Jibla operated by the Baptist Church, charging it 
with defamation of Islam and proselytization.  Although the 
court dismissed the case because the plaintiffs could not 
substantiate their charges and for procedural reasons, Islaah 
Party membersthe continue to harass the Yemeni employees of the 
hospital.

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

The Government does not obstruct the freedom of travel, 
although the army and security forces maintain checkpoints on 
major roads.  The Government does not obstruct travel abroad or 
the right to emigrate and return.  In recent years it has 
removed bureaucratic obstacles that prevented most Jews from 
traveling abroad.

Women must often obtain permission from a male relative before 
applying for a passport.  The Constitution prohibits the 
extradition of a citizen to any country.

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

International observers judged as generally as free and fair 
the 1993 parliamentary election.  Although the Government is 
accountable to the Parliament, there are significant 
limitations on the ability of the people to affect change 
within their society.  To date the Parliament is not an 
effective counterweight to executive authority; it has done 
little more than debate issues.  Decisionmaking is not 
transparent, and real political power still rests in the hands 
of relatively few leaders, particularly the President.

The President has the authority to introduce legislation and 
promulgate laws by decree when Parliament is not in session. 
Decrees must be approved by Parliament within 30 days after 
reconvening.  In theory, if the decree is not approved, it does 
not become law; in practice, very little happens if the decree 
is not approved.  The President appoints the Prime Minister who 
forms the Government.  The Cabinet is comprised of 27 
ministers, with 16 ministers from the GPC, 9 from Islaah, and 2 
independents.

In northern and southern governorates, tribal leaders retain 
considerable discretion in the interpretation and enforcement 
of the law.  Central government authority in these areas is 
often weak.  Some observers maintain that tribalism may promote 
accountable government in some ways by dramatically drawing the 
Government's attention to the grievances of the people.

There is a functioning multiparty system.  All parties must 
register with the Government, but such registration is 
routinely granted.  The Constitution prohibits the 
establishment of parties that are contrary to Islam or oppose 
the goals of the Yemeni revolution or violate Yemeni 
international commitments.  By law the Government must give 
financial support to all recognized parties, and parties are 
permitted to establish their own newspapers.  Many of the 
approximately 50 political parties are very small and exist on 
paper only.  The three largest are the GPC, the Islaah Party, 
and the YSP.  The opposition is weak and divided among 
miniparties, except for the YSP which, even in its weakened 
state, still has weight, especially in the South.

Although women may vote and hold office, these rights are 
limited by cultural and religious custom.  Only 2 women have 
been elected to the 301-member Parliament, and few 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

The Yemeni Human Rights Organization is the only local 
nongovernmental human rights group.  It is headquartered in 
Sanaa with branches in seven other cities.  The Government does 
not overtly restrict its activities.  Another group, the Yemeni 
Organization for the Defense of Liberties and Human Rights, was 
based in Aden.  After the civil war, the Government dissolved 
it because it was purportedly regarded as a "separatist" 
organization.

There is a human rights committee in Parliament, which has done 
little of significance aside from holding meetings and hosting 
an international childrens rights conference in 1993.

Amnesty International and Middle East Watch observe Yemen 
closely, especially in the wake of the civil war.  There is an 
International Committee of the Red Cross representative 
resident in Yemen.  The Government has given these groups 
relatively broad access to government officials, records, 
refugee camps, and prisons.

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

Prior to 1994 the Constitution stated that "no discrimination 
shall be practiced due to sex, color, racial origin, language, 
occupation, social status, or religious beliefs."  However, as 
amended in 1994, the Constitution now states that "...all 
citizens are equal in general rights and duties..."  The change 
has been interpreted as an attempt to weaken previous 
constitutional guarantees of equality, especially for women.

     Women

Women face significant restrictions imposed by law and social 
custom.  Men are permitted to take as many as four wives, 
provided they treat their wives equally.  Husbands may divorce 
wives without justifying their actions before a court and, in 
the case of divorce, both the family home and children are 
often awarded to the husband.  Women also have the right to 
divorce their husbands in accordance with precepts of Shar'ia.  
Islamic law permits a Muslim man to marry a Christian or Jewish 
woman, but no Muslim woman may marry outside of Islam.  Social 
pressure often forces women to defer to the guidance of male 
relatives if they wish to travel abroad.

Married women do not have the right to confer citizenship on 
their foreign-born spouses; but they may confer citizenship on 
children born in Yemen of foreign-born fathers.

The practice of dowry payments is widespread, despite 
government efforts to limit the size of such payments.  An 
estimated 80 percent of women are illiterate, compared to 40 to 
50 percent of men.  In general, women in Aden are better 
educated and have somewhat greater employment opportunities 
than women in northern Yemen.  Before the civil war, women in 
Aden worked in private business and at mid-level government 
jobs.  Several women worked as lawyers and judges.  After the 
civil war, the number of working women in Aden appears to have 
declined.  Many observers say this is due to the increasing 
"Islamization" of Adeni society, although there is no concrete 
evidence of this.

Although spousal abuse is known to occur, reliable statistics 
on its extent are unavailable, and there is little public 
discussion of this matter.  In theory, abused women have the 
right to sue their husbands, but few do so.  According to 
social tradition, battered women are pressured to keep spousal 
violence problems within the family.  They may seek help and 
mediation from male relatives to halt abuse.

The Government has established a women's association to promote 
female education and civic responsibilities, and a 
nongovernmental organization has also been established for the 
same purpose.

     Children

The Government's commitment to protecting childrens' rights was 
adversely affected by the political crisis and the civil war. 
Moreover, the Government lacks the resources necessary to 
ensure adequate health, education, and welfare services for 
children.

Child marriage is still common in rural areas.  Female genital 
mutilation is practiced by Yemenis of African origin in the 
coastal areas along the Red and Arabian seas.  There is no 
available information on the extent of the practice.  While 
some government health workers discourage female genital 
mutilation, the Government has not passed any legislation or 
nor made any other effort to eradicate the practice.

     National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities

Yemenis with a non-Yemeni parent, called "Muwalladin", may face 
discrimination in employment and in other areas.  Persons 
seeking employment at Sanaa University or admission to the 
military academy must by law demonstrate they have two Yemeni 
parents. Nonethless, many senior government officials, 
including members of Parliament and ministers, have only one 
Yemeni parent.  In some cases, naturalization of the non-Yemeni 
parent is sufficient to overcome the "two-Yemeni-parent" 
requirement.

A small group believed to be descendants of ancient Ethiopian 
occupiers of Yemen, who were later enslaved, are considered the 
lowest social class.  Known as the "Akhdam" (servants), they 
live in squalor and endure persistent social discrimination.

     Religious Minorities

Apart from a small but undetermined number of Christians and 
Hindus in Aden and a small number of Baha'is in the north, Jews 
are the only indigenous religious minority.  Jews are 
traditionally restricted to living in one section of a city or 
village and are often confined to a limited choice of 
employment, usually farming or handicrafts.  Jews may, and do, 
own real property.

     People with Disabilities

The Government has not enacted legislation or otherwise 
mandated accessibility for the disabled, nor provided special 
clinics or schools for them.  Mentally ill patients, 
particularly those who commit crimes, are occasionally 
imprisoned and shackled when there is no one else to care for 
them.  There are distinct social prejudices against persons 
with mental and physical handicaps.  The disabled often face 
discrimination in education and employment.

Section 6  Worker Rights

     a.  The Right of Association

Workers have the right of association as stipulated by law.  
Before the outbreak of the civil war, labor unions in the north 
and south were closely controlled by the respective ruling 
parties.  With the end of the war, the Labor Code of the former 
North Yemen has become the law in fact.  The Government has not 
yet enacted a formal labor code.

Under the law, a union may be set up by 100 or more workers 
upon application to and approval by the Government.  If a union 
does not apply for or is not given governmental approval, it is 
illegal.  The Code prescribes a single union system with one 
union committee, or union local, for each enterprise; one 
general union for an economic sector, and one national umbrella 
organization, Yemeni Confederation of Labor Unions (YCLU), 
which was established in 1990 at the time of the unification.  
The YCLU is affiliated with the International Confederation of 
Arab Trade Unions and the formerly Soviet-controlled World 
Federation of Trade Unions.  Experts suggest that the 
Government likely would not tolerate the establishment of an 
alternative labor federation unless it believed it to be in its 
best interests.

By law civil servants and public sector workers, and some 
categories of farm workers, may not join unions.  The President 
is authorized to dissolve a union by decree.  Unions may not 
legally engage in political activity and must allow the 
Government to inspect their records.

The law neither prohibits nor provides for the right to strike, 
nor does it prohibit retribution against strikers.  There were 
no known major strikes in 1994.

     b.  The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively

Existing law does not protect the right to bargain 
collectively.  The Government must approve any collective 
agreement.  However, there are no known comprehensive 
collective bargaining agreements at present.  Unions may 
negotiate wage settlements for their members and have often 
resorted to strikes or other actions to achieve their demands.

The Labor Code does not prohibit antiunion discrimination. 
Therefore, employers are not required to reinstate workers 
fired for union activities.  If employers engage in anti-union 
activity, the legal recourse for the union to fight such 
activity is limited.  Nevertheless, there is a system of labor 
courts, which are often favorably disposed toward 
unions--especially if the employer is a foreign company.

In 1993 the International Labor Organization's Committee of 
Experts urged the Government to adopt legislation protecting 
workers against antiunion discrimination.  The Government has 
not yet taken such a step.

There are no export processing zones.

     c.  Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor

The Constitution prohibits forced or compulsory labor.  There 
are no reports that it occurs.

     d.  Minimum Age for Employment of Children

Child labor is common, especially in rural areas.  Even in 
urban areas, children may be observed working in workshops, 
stores, and begging in the streets.  There is no minimum age 
for the employment of children, but the existing Code permits 
apprenticeships for children who are 14 years old.  The 
Government is not able to enforce this regulation, however, 
especially in rural and remote areas where it has little 
influence over local custom.  In general, family tradition and 
social mores do not discourage child labor.

     e.  Acceptable Conditions of Work

There is no minimum wage.  The prevailing daily wage for 
unskilled workers allows only a very modest standard of living 
for a worker with a family.  This low standard has been eroded 
further by inflation.

The law prescribes a maximum 8-hour workday, but many workshops 
and stores operate 10- to 12-hour shifts without penalty.  The 
law limits the workweek to 48 hours, but there is no specific 
provision for a 24-hour rest period.  Government employees work 
a 35-hour, 6-day workweek.

There is no legislation providing workers with the right to 
remove themselves from dangerous work situations.  Enforcement 
of health and safety regulations is lax.  Some foreign-owned 
companies implement higher health, safety, and environmental 
standards than required in Yemen.
(###)

[end of document]

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