17/ At its 1414th
meeting (fifty-third session), held on 5 April 1995.
243. The Committee welcomes
the second periodic report submitted by the State party and welcomes
the delegation's willingness to resume its dialogue with the Committee.
The Committee regrets, however, that although the report provides information
on general legislative norms in Yemen, it fails to deal with the actual
state of implementation of the Covenant in practice and the difficulties
encountered in the course of implementation. The Committee appreciated
the presence of a competent delegation which provided helpful information
to the Committee in addressing some of its questions. Nevertheless,
the Committee has obtained only a partial picture of the human rights
situation in the country.
244. The Committee welcomes
in this connection the intention expressed by the delegation to send
additional information as requested by the Committee, particularly information
on the difficulties encountered in the implementation of the Covenant,
statistics relating to specific articles and the texts of the Civil
Code, Code of Criminal Procedure, the amendments to the Constitution,
and other relevant laws and regulations.
2. Factors and difficulties affecting the implementation of the Covenant
245. The Committee notes
that the civil war has left much of the infrastructure destroyed and
created severe economic difficulties, which have served to restrict
the resources allocated to the protection of human rights. The Committee
also notes that national reconstruction and reconciliation remains handicapped
by internal disorder.
246. The Committee notes
the existence in the State party of customs and traditions, particularly
in the area of equality between men and women, which may tend to impede
the proper observance of international standards of human rights.
247. The Committee welcomes the succession of Yemen to the Covenant, which
was previously acceded to by the Democratic Republic of Yemen in 1986.
248. The Committee welcomes
the Government's efforts to raise awareness of human rights issues by
disseminating the texts of human rights treaties, including the Covenant,
and by holding seminars in this field. It further welcomes the Government's
assertion that newspapers are free to publish the reports submitted
by the Government and other information released by human rights groups
and international organizations.
249. The Committee welcomes
the delegation's indication of the Government's willingness to investigate
specific cases of human rights violations brought to its attention.
In this regard, the Committee notes the assurances of the delegation
that the courts are receiving cases of human rights violations which
took place during the civil war.
4. Principal subjects of concern
250. The Committee is concerned
that some aspects of the legal provisions in the State party do not
conform entirely with the Covenant.
251. The Committee calls
attention to the contradictions between the Covenant and the Constitution,
which affords a lower level of human rights protection than does the
Covenant. The Committee expresses concern that victims of human rights
violations, despite the direct applicability of the Covenant, may be
denied effective remedy if the courts adhere to the standards set forth
in the Constitution.
252. The Committee notes
with concern the general amnesty granted to civilian and military personnel
for human rights violations they may have committed against civilians
during the civil war. The Committee notes in this regard that some amnesty
laws may prevent appropriate investigation and punishment of perpetrators
of past human rights violations, undermine efforts to establish respect
of human rights, contribute to an atmosphere of impunity among perpetrators
of human rights violations, and constitute impediments to efforts undertaken
to consolidate democracy and promote respect for human rights.
253. The Committee notes
with concern that the role and the competences of the political security
forces have not been clarified.
254. The Committee expresses
its deep concern at allegations of arbitrary deprivation of life, acts
of torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, arbitrary
arrest and detention, abusive treatment of persons deprived of their
liberty, and violations of the rights to a fair trial. It is deeply
concerned that those violations were not followed by inquiries or investigations,
that the perpetrators of such acts were not punished, and that the victims
were not compensated. Ill-treatment of prisoners and overcrowding of
prisons continue to be of concern.
255. The Committee notes
with concern reports of female genital mutilation, which appears to
be a common practice in some parts of the country. It also notes with
concern that the provisions of the Personal Status Act No. 20 of 1992,
particularly articles 40 and 41, establish unequal obligations of wives
and husbands where wives are relegated to an inferior position. The
Committee is concerned that the requirements of this Act, particularly
that wives must obey their husbands' orders and may not leave their
homes except in limited situations, contradict articles 3 and 23 of
the Covenant. The Committee further regrets that the laws of Yemen contain
no specific provisions for dealing with domestic violence.
256. The Committee is concerned
about the lack of information concerning the death penalty in Yemen
and, bearing in mind that article 6 of the Covenant limits the circumstances
under which the death penalty may be imposed, regrets that it is unable
to assess whether the State party is in conformity with article 6 due
to the lack of information on the specific crimes that may result in
the imposition of the death penalty and on the number of cases in which
it was imposed. The Committee deplores that, according to information
before it, executions of persons below the age of 18 have taken place
that would be a clear violation of article 6, paragraph 5, of the Covenant.
The Committee requests that the State party provide information on the
cases mentioned during the dialogue. In this regard, the Committee regrets
that the right to life has not been incorporated in the new Constitution.
The Committee is also deeply concerned about the maintenance of corporal
punishments like amputation of limbs and whipping, which is in violation
of article 7 of the Covenant.
257. The Committee notes
with deep concern the widespread employment of minors, especially in
5. Suggestions and recommendations
258. The Committee recommends
that a thorough review be undertaken of the legal framework for the
protection of human rights in the State party to ensure full conformity
with the Covenant. The Committee takes note of the indication by the
delegation of the lack of technical expertise in the legal field in
the State party and its appeal for assistance in this area. Accordingly,
the Committee recommends that the State party avail itself of the technical
cooperation services of the Centre for Human Rights and address through
the Centre's programmes the question of the status of the Covenant in
relation to the Constitution.
259. Regarding the application
of the Covenant, the Committee requests that it be informed in future
periodic reports of the State party of any instances that may arise
where the Covenant was directly invoked in the courts, as well as the
results of any such proceedings.
260. The Committee recommends
that the State party endeavour to bring to justice perpetrators of human
rights abuses, in accordance with article 2 (2) of the Covenant. It
urges the State party to continue to investigate allegations of human
rights violations, past and present, to act on the findings of its investigations,
to bring to justice the perpetrators and to compensate the victims of
such acts. To this end, the Committee recommends that an independent
mechanism be instituted for receiving complaints of human rights violations
and that this mechanism be given investigative authority to pursue such
complaints. The Committee suggests that the Government pursue in this
manner not only individual complaints but also violations reported by
national and international non-governmental organizations.
261. The Committee recommends
that the State party review its laws and make appropriate amendments
to ensure full legal and de facto equality for women in all aspects
of society, particularly in the laws governing the status of women,
women's rights and obligations in marriage. The Committee further recommends
that the Government conduct a study on the practice of female genital
mutilation within its territory and formulate specific plans to eradicate
262. The Committee recommends
that the Government review its policy on the death penalty with a view
to its eventual abolishment. Recalling that article 6 of the Covenant
limits the circumstances under which the death penalty may be imposed,
it recommends that the Government include in its next report a list
of all of the crimes that, when tried, may result in the imposition
of the death penalty. If the imposition of the death penalty in respect
of some of these crimes is found to be inconsistent with article 6,
the Committee recommends that the relevant laws be appropriately amended.
The Committee recommends that the Government take the initiative for
the total abolishment of corporal punishment.
263. The Committee recommends
that the Government conduct a study on the phenomenon of working children,
especially children in rural areas, and include its findings in its
next periodic report to the Committee.
264. The Committee recommends
that more detailed information about specific laws and more concrete
and factual information about the enjoyment of rights be provided by
Yemen in its next periodic report so as to enable the Committee to clearly
understand the progress made in the implementation of the Covenant in
the State party.
265. The Committee recommends
that appropriate mechanisms be established to revise the relevant legal
codes, to provide human rights training for personnel involved in the
administration of justice, to draft the State party's reports to various
human rights treaty bodies, and to collect and analyse data on human
rights issues. In this regard, the Committee recommends that the Government
draw on the assistance available through the Centre for Human Rights
technical cooperation services.