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Title:  Yemen Human Rights Practices, 1995
Author:  U.S. Department of State
Date:  March 1996




                              YEMEN


The Republic of Yemen was proclaimed in 1990 following the unification 
of the former Yemen Arab Republic, or North Yemen, and the People's 
Democratic Republic of Yemen, or South Yemen.  After a transition period 
of several years, a "unity" crisis ensued, and in May 1994 civil war 
broke out, during which the southern part tried to secede.  Following 
the northern-led victory in July of that year, most of the secessionist 
leadership fled abroad where they remain.  Later in 1994 a new postwar 
governing coalition was formed, composed of the General People's 
Congress (GPC) and the Yemeni Grouping for Reform (Islaah).  The Yemeni 
Socialist Party (YSP), formerly the main party of the south and a 
previous coalition partner, is now a fractured opposition party.

Lieutenant General Ali Abdullah Salih is the President and leader of the 
GPC.  He was elected in 1994 to a 5-year term by the legislature.  
However, the Constitution provides that henceforth the President will be 
elected by popular vote from at least two 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.  The next parliamentary elections are scheduled for April 
1997.  The Parliament is not yet an effective counterweight to executive 
authority; real political power rests with a few leaders, particularly 
the President.

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.  The Criminal Investigative 
Department (CID) of the police conducts most criminal investigations and 
makes most arrests.  The Central Security Organization (CSO), a part of 
the Ministry of Interior, maintains a paramilitary force.

Yemen is a poor country with an emerging market-based economy that is 
impeded by excessive government regulation and by corruption.  Oil is 
the primary source of foreign exchange, but remittances from some 
500,000 Yemenis working abroad (primarily in Saudi Arabia) are also 
important.  Remittances were 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 pro-Iraq position.  The Gulf states also 
suspended most assistance programs, and much Western aid was reduced.

The general human rights situation improved slightly in 1995, although 
continuing problems include arbitrary arrest and detention, especially 
of those regarded as "separatists"; infringements on the freedom of the 
press; and widespread discrimination based on sex, race, disability, and 
to a lesser extent, religion.  A noted intellectual and journalist, Abu 
Bakr Al-Saqqaf, was briefly abducted and beaten on two occasions by 
suspected government agents.  PSO officers have broad discretion over 
perceived national security issues and, despite constitutional 
constraints, routinely detain citizens for questioning, sometimes 
mistreat detainees, monitor their activities, and search their homes.  
Prison conditions are poor.  There are significant limitations on 
citizens' ability to effect political change.  Female genital mutilation 
is practiced to an undetermined extent by some families of African 
origin; it is not prohibited by the authorities.

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

Security forces continue to arrest and detain citizens for varying 
periods of time without charge or notification to concerned families.  
Many detainees are associated with the YSP and accused of being 
"separatists."  Most such disappearances are temporary, and detainees 
are released within months.

Hundreds of cases of disappearances dating since the 1970's, implicating 
the former governments of both north and south Yemen, remain unresolved.  
In October the bodies of several high-ranking officials in the South 
Yemen Government were discovered in Aden.  The officials were apparently 
killed in 1986 during a surge of civil strife in Aden and had since been 
listed as missing.

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

The Constitution is ambiguous on its prohibition of cruel or inhuman 
punishment.  It states that the Government may not impose "illegal" 
punishments--a formulation that could be interpreted as permitting 
amputations according to Islamic law, or Shari'a.  Moreover, another 
article in the Constitution asserts that Shari'a "is the source of all 
legislation."  There were no reports of amputations.  However, in June a 
judge sentenced a convicted murderer to multiple amputations and death 
by crucifixion; that sentence was later changed by the Higher Judiciary 
Council, which reviews deaths sentences, to death by beheading.

Abu Bakr Al-Saqqaf, a 61-year-old university professor and journalist, 
was briefly kidnaped and beaten on two occasions, in January and 
December, by persons suspected of being government agents.  Al-Saqqaf 
has periodically written articles criticizing the Government's policy 
toward the former South Yemen, which he as described as "internal 
colonialism."  In the second abduction, Al-Saqqaf was thrown into a car 
near his home in Sanaa by two identified men whom he later said beat him 
with sticks and an electric prod.  According to Al-Saqqaf's account, the 
assailants shouted at him to stop writing as they beat him.  Photos of 
Al-Saqqaf's battered face and torso appeared in a December issue of the 
English-language Yemen Times (also see Section 2.a.).  The Government 
claims to be investigating the second abduction, but no suspects have 
been charged.

The Government tightly controls access to detention facilities.  
Nonetheless, it permits most impartial observers to visit prisoners and 
detainees.  Although there is no evidence of the use of torture in 
detention facilities, arresting authorities are known to use force 
during interrogations, especially of those arrested for violent crimes.  
There were no reports of torture of persons arrested for political 
offenses.  Authorities still use leg-irons and shackles, and flogging is 
still occasionally inflicted as punishment for minor crimes.

Prison conditions do not meet internationally recognized minimum 
standards.  Prisons are overcrowded, sanitary conditions poor, and food 
and health care inadequate.  Inmates must depend on relatives for food 
and medicine.  Prison authorities and guards often exact money from 
prisoners and even refuse to release prisoners until family members pay 
a bribe.  Conditions are equally bad in women's prisons, where children 
are likely to be incarcerated along with their mothers.  There have been 
reports that some female prisoners have been raped by prison guards.

   d.   Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile

According to the law, detainees must be arraigned within 24 hours of 
arrest or released.  The judge or prosecuting attorney must inform the 
accused of the basis for the arrest and decide whether detention is 
required.  In no case may a detainee be held longer than 7 days without 
a court order.  Despite these constitutional and other legal provisions, 
arbitrary arrest and prolonged detention without charge are common 
practices.

Detainees have the right to inform their families of their arrests and 
may decline to answer questions without an attorney present.  There are 
also provisions for bail.  In practice, many authorities respect these 
rights only if bribed.

In cases where a criminal suspect is at large, security forces sometimes 
detain a relative while the suspect is being sought.  

The detention may continue while the concerned families negotiate 
compensation for the alleged wrongdoing.

The Government has failed to ensure that detainees and prisoners are 
incarcerated in authorized detention facilities.  The Ministry of 
Interior reportedly operates extrajudicial detention facilities.  
Unauthorized prisons also exist in "tribal" areas, where the Central 
Government has limited authority.  Some detainees are reportedly held in 
an undetermined number of unauthorized prisons.

Thousands of people have been imprisoned for years without documentation 
concerning their trials or sentences.  In an attempt to redress this 
problem, the Committee to Investigate the Truth, under the leadership of 
the head of the Yemeni Human Rights Organization, and with the 
cooperation of the Ministry of Interior, has begun investigating 
individual complaints of wrongful imprisonment.  The Committee has the 
authority to order the release of individuals imprisoned illegally, 
i.e., without charge or trial.

Approximately 100 to 200 military officers, suspected of having 
separatist sympathies, were imprisoned following the 1994 civil war.  
All but about a dozen senior commanders have been released.

At the end of the civil war, the President pardoned nearly all who 
fought against the Central Government, including military personnel and 
most leaders of the unrecognized, secessionist Democratic Republic of 
Yemen (DRY).  The Government denied this amnesty to only the 16 most 
senior leaders of the DRY, who fled abroad.  Although they were 
technically not forced into exile, they are subject to arrest if they 
return.  The Government is negotiating with several of the 16 for their 
eventual return without trial.

Some tribes, seeking to bring their concerns to the attention of the 
Government, kidnap and hold hostages.  Some victims have been foreign 
workers or tourists.  Foreign victims are rarely injured.  The 
authorities have succeeded in obtaining the fairly quick release of 
foreign hostages.

   e.   Denial of Fair Public Trial

The judiciary is not fully independent, even though the Constitution 
provides for an "autonomous" judiciary and "independent judges."  Many 
litigants maintain that a judge's social ties and susceptibility to 
bribery sometimes have greater influence on the verdict than the law or 
facts of the case.  Others maintain that judges appointed since mid-1994 
are poorly trained, and that those closely associated with the 
Government often render decisions favorable to it.

There are two types of courts:  Islamic law or Shari'a courts, which try 
criminal cases and adjudicate civil disputes (such as divorce and 
inheritance cases), and commercial courts.  There are no jury trials 
under Shari'a.  Criminal cases are adjudicated by a judge who plays an 
active role in questioning witnesses and the accused.  Defense attorneys 
are allowed to counsel their clients, address the court and examine 
witnesses.  Defendants, including those in commerical courts,  have the 
right to appeal their sentences.  Trials are public.  However, both 
Shari'a and commercial courts may conduct closed sessions "for reasons 
of public security or morals."  Foreign litigants in commercial disputes 
have complained of biased rulings.

Female judges who worked in the south prior to the civil war have been 
reappointed to positions.  There are no female judges in the north.

There were no reports of political prisoners.

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

Despite constitutional provisions against government interference with 
privacy, security forces routinely search homes and private offices, 
monitor telephones, read personal mail, and otherwise intrude into 
personal matters for alleged security reasons.  Such activities are 
conducted without legally issued warrants or judicial supervision.  
Security forces regularly monitor telephone conversations and have 
interfered with the telephone service of government critics and 
opponents.

Section 2.   Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

   a.   Freedom of Speech and Press

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

From 1990 until mid-1994, there was relative freedom of the press in 
Yemen.  During the 1994 civil war, the Government closed papers 
affiliated with the YSP, the main party in southern Yemen, for 
expressing separatist views.  Wartime difficulties restricted the 
production of many other papers.  After the war, the Government allowed 
some YSP-affiliated publications to resume publishing.

The Ministry of Information influences the media by its ownership of the 
printing presses, subsidies to certain newspapers, and its ownership of 
the television and radio companies.  The Government selects the items to 
be covered in news broadcasts, and does not permit reporting critical of 
the Government.  Even televised debates in the Parliament are edited to 
delete the most biting commentary on the Government.

Although newspapers are allowed to criticize the Government, journalists 
sometimes censor themselves, especially when writing on such sensitive 
issues as the 1994 civil war, relations with Saudi Arabia, or government 
corruption.  The penalties for exceeding these self-imposed limits can 
be arrest for slander or libel, dismissal from employment, or extralegal 
harassment.  The Ministry of Information has taken most opposition 
newspapers to court at least once in the last year.  Most of these cases 
are perceived to be a form of harassment.

From January to April, the Government suspended publication of the 
independent, Aden-based weekly Al-Ayyam for publishing articles critical 
of government policies in the south.  Abu Bakr Al-Saqqaf, a writer of 
one of these articles, was kidnaped by suspected government agents (see 
Section 1.c.).  At year's end, the paper was allowed to publish only in 
Sanaa.  The writer was dismissed from his position at the University of 
Sanaa, but was later reinstated by a court order.

In July Al-Shura, an outspoken opposition newspaper affiliated with the 
Union of Popular Forces, was suspended from publication by the Minister 
of Legal Affairs as part of a larger ruling involving the party (see 
Section 3).

The independent English-language weekly, the Yemen Times, has frequently 
criticized the Government.  The management has been periodically 
subjected to anonymous threats of violence, and government authorities 
have interfered with the paper's operations.

On several occasions, the Ministry of Information prohibited the 
publication of the Nasserist paper, Al-Wahdawi, and has brought several 
court cases against the paper.  The Ministry has also been involved in 
legal disputes with the YSP-owned newspaper, Al-Thawri, since the end of 
the civil war.  Several southern journalists have been arrested in the 
past year for writings related to the civil war as well as for alleged 
secessionist sympathies.

Customs officials confiscate foreign publications regarded as 
pornographic or objectionable because of religious or political content.  
The Ministry of Information has periodically prevented the distribution 
of certain issues of Al-Hayat, the Arabic international daily, and other 
periodicals which report on sensitive policy issues.

Academic freedom is impinged by the presence of security officials on 
university campuses and at most intellectual forums.  Government 
informers monitor the activities of professors and students.  The 
authorities review prospective university professors and administrators 
for their political acceptability before they are hired.  During the 
year, the Government leaked a list of professors from Sanaa University 
who were to be dismissed on political grounds, but at year's end took no 
steps to prevent them from teaching.  

   b.   Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

Citizens exercise their right to demonstrate peacefully.  Associations 
must obtain an operating license from the Ministry of Labor and Social 
Affairs, a usually routine matter.

In July security forces dispersed a convention of the Union of Popular 
Forces, headed by Ibrahim Al-Wazir.  The Government claims that the 
Union of Popular Forces is not a legal party and that the convention was 
an illegal gathering.  It banned the party's newspaper, Al-Shura.

   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 monitors their activities.

Most of the once sizable Jewish population has emigrated; fewer than 500 
remain.  Jewish religious services are held in private homes.  Previous 
restrictions on Jews obtaining passports and having contact with foreign 
Jewish groups have been abolished.

Most Christians are foreign residents, except for a few 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.  
Church services are regularly held.

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

The Government does not obstruct domestic travel, although the army and 
security forces maintain checkpoints on major roads.  Likewise, the 
Government does not obstruct foreign travel or the right to emigrate and 
return.  In recent years, it has removed bureaucratic obstacles that 
prevented most Jews from traveling abroad.  Women must obtain permission 
from a male relative before applying for a passport.  The Constitution 
prohibits the extradition of a citizen to any country.

The Government cooperates with the United Nations High Commissioner for 
Refugees (UNHCR) in assisting refugees arriving from east Africa.  
During the year, the Government reportedly deported several hundred 
Somali refugees back to Somalia.  The practice was discontinued after 
the intervention of the UNHCR and the diplomatic community.

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

International observers judged as generally free and fair the last 
parliamentary election which was held in 1993.  Although the Government 
is accountable to the Parliament, there are significant limitations on 
the ability of the people to effect political change.  To date, the 
Parliament is not an effective counterweight to executive authority; it 
does little more than debate issues.  Decisionmaking 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 30 days after reconvening.  In theory, if a 
decree is not approved, it does not become law; in practice, a decree 
remains in effect even if not approved.  The President appoints the 
Prime Minister, who forms the Government.  The Cabinet comprises 24 
ministers, with the majority of ministers presently coming from the GPC 
and the remainder from Islaah.

In some governorates, tribal leaders retain considerable discretion in 
the interpretation and enforcement of the law.  Central government 
authority in these areas is often weak.

There is a functioning multiparty system.  All parties must be 
registered in accordance with the Political Parties Law of 1991, which 
stipulates that each party must have 75 founders and 2,500 members.  
This law had not been enforced until September when the President 
decreed that the law would be implemented by the end of the year.  
Strict enforcement may have the effect of severely reducing the number 
of small parties.

The Constitution prohibits the establishment of parties that are 
contrary to Islam, or oppose the goals of the Yemeni revolution, or 
violate Yemen's international commitments.  The Government provides 
financial support to all parties represented in Parliament.  The parties 
are permitted to publish their own newspapers.

Although women may vote and hold office, these rights are limited by 
cultural and religious customs.  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 (YHRO) is the best known local 
nongovernmental human rights group.  It is headquartered in Sanaa with 
branches in seven other cities.  The Government does not overtly 
restrict its activities and is cooperating with it to release prisoners 
in prolonged detention without trial.

Another group, the Yemeni Organization for the Defense of Liberties and 
Human Rights, is based in Aden.  After the 1994 civil war, the 
Government dissolved it because it was purportedly regarded as a 
"separatist" organization.  It has resumed operation and issued a report 
on the 1994 civil war and human rights.  There is a Human Rights 
Committee in Parliament, which does little of significance.

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch observe Yemen closely.  
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

Although some spousal abuse occurs, it is undocumented and its incidence 
seems to be relatively light.  In Yemen's traditional society, an abused 
woman would be expected to take her complaints to a male relative 
(rather than the authorities) who should intercede on her behalf or 
provide her short-term sanctuary if required.

Women face significant restrictions imposed by law, social custom and 
religion.  Men are permitted to take as many as four wives, though few 
do so for economic reasons.  The practice of dowry payments is 
widespread, despite efforts to limit the size of such payments.  
Husbands may divorce wives without justifying their action in court.  
Following a divorce, the family home and children (who are older than a 
certain age) are often awarded to the husband.  Women also have the 
right to divorce, in accordance with the precepts of Shari'a.  Women 
seeking to travel abroad must obtain permission from their husbands or 
fathers and are expected to be accompanied by male relatives.

Islamic law permits a Muslim man to marry a Christian or Jewish woman, 
but no Muslim woman may marry outside of Islam.  Married women do not 
have the right to confer citizenship on their foreign-born spouses; they 
may, however, confer citizenship on children born in Yemen of foreign-
born fathers.

An estimated 80 percent of women are illiterate, compared to 
approximately 35 percent of men.  In general, women in the south are 
better educated and have had somewhat greater employment opportunities.  
Since the 1994 civil war, however, the number of working women in the 
south appears to have declined, in part due to the stagnant economy, but 
also because of increasing cultural pressure from the north.  
Nevertheless, female judges, magistrates, and prosecutors in southern 
governorates have been reappointed.

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

While the Government has asserted its commitment to protecting 
children's rights, it lacks the resources necessary to ensure adequate 
health care, education, and welfare services for children.

Child marriage is common, especially in rural areas.  The median 
marrying age for girls is 15, but marriages at 13 are not unusual.

Female genital mutilation (FGM), which is widely condemned by 
international health experts as damaging to both physical and 
psychological health, is practiced by some Yemenis of African origin 
living mainly in the coastal areas.  It is not known to exist among the 
majority Zaydi and Shafe'ei populations.  There is no available 
information on its extent.  While some government health workers 
actively discourage the practice, the Government has not passed 
legislation outlawing it.

   People with Disabilities

There are distinct social prejudices against persons with mental and 
physical disabilities.  The disabled often face discrimination in 
education and employment.  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 imprisoned and even shackled when there is no one 
else to care for them.  There is a charity project to construct separate 
detention facilities for mentally disabled prisoners.

   Religious Minorities

Apart from a small but undetermined number of Christians and Hindus in 
Aden, and a few Baha'is in the north, Jews are the only indigenous 
religious minority.  Their numbers have diminished dramatically due to 
voluntary emigration.  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.

Christian clergy who minister to the foreign community (see Section 
1.c.) are employed in teaching, social services, and health care.  
Following the 1994 civil war, suspected Islamic extremists looted and 
vandalized Christian, Hindu, and even Islamic sites in Aden.  There have 
also been incidents at Islamic sites in the north.  Government forces 
have taken steps to ensure security at these places of worship.

A hospital in Jibla operated by the Baptist Church has experienced 
occasional threats and harassment from local Islamic extremists who fear 
the hospital may be used to spread Christianity.  Local religious 
extremists have reportedly harassed the hospital's Muslim employees.  In 
August, in response to the hospital's request, a court ordered the 
removal from hospital property of locally-owned "shops" that were 
suspected of fencing hospital supplies.  Subsequently, a mob of young 
males marched on the hospital, fired shots at government security 
guards, and threw an explosive device.  Security forces restored order, 
and community leaders later condemned the attack and expressed their 
support for the hospital and its staff.

   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 that they have two Yemeni parents.  Nonetheless, 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.

Section 6   Worker Rights

   a.   The Right of Association

In March the Parliament passed a new labor law to replace the 
preunification legislation that had governed labor relations.  This law 
provides workers with the right to strike and equal labor rights for 
women, and it renews the freedom of workers to associate.  The Labor Law 
does not stipulate a minimum membership for unions, nor does it limit 
them to a specific enterprise or firm.  Thus, Yemenis may now associate 
by profession or trade.

The Yemeni Confederation of Labor Unions, affiliated with the 
Confederation of Arab Trade Unions and the formerly Soviet-controlled 
World Federation of Trade Unions, remains the sole national umbrella 
organization.  Observers 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.  Only the General Assembly of the 
Yemeni Confederation of Labor Unions may dissolve unions.

No strikes occurred in 1995.

   b.   The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively

The new Labor Law provides workers with the right to organize and 
bargain collectively.  All collective bargaining agreements must be 
deposited with and reviewed by the Ministry of Labor; such agreements 
exist.  Unions may negotiate wage settlements for their members and can 
resort to strikes or other actions to achieve their demands.

The law protects employees from antiunion discrimination. Employers do 
not have the right to dismiss an employee for union activities.  
Employees may appeal cases of antiunion discrimination to the Ministry 
of Labor.  Employees may also take a case to the labor courts, which are 
often favorably disposed toward workers especially if the employer is a 
foreign company.

There are no export processing zones.

   c.   Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor

The Constitution prohibits forced or compulsory labor.  There are no 
reports of its practice.

   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 stores, workshops, selling goods on 
the streets, and begging.  The established minimum age for employment is 
15 in the private sector and 18 in the public sector.  By special 
permit, children age 12 to 15 may work.  The Government rarely enforces 
these provisions, especially in rural and remote areas.

   e.   Acceptable Conditions of Work

The Labor Law sets a monthly and daily minimum wage.  The minimum wage 
provides a worker and family with only a very modest standard of living.  
Inflation has substantially eroded wages during the past few years.

The law specifies a 40-hour workweek with a maximum 8-hour workday, but 
many workshops and stores operate 10- to 12-hour shifts without penalty.  
The workweek for government employees is 35 hours, 6 hours per day, 
Saturday through Wednesday, and 5 hours on Thursday.

Workers have the right to remove themselves from dangerous work 
situations.  The Ministry of Labor now has the responsibility for 
regulating workplace health and safety conditions, but enforcement 
remains lax.  Some foreign-owned companies implement higher health, 
safety, and environmental standards than required in Yemen.

(###)

[end of document]

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