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Constitution of Yemen (1991, rev. 2001)

1The following text is from the Constitute Project, who through a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License, has generously made this content available for use for noncommercial purposes. Follow (right-click) the links and read the annotation to learn more. 1





6The Republic of Yemen is an Arab, Islamic and independent sovereign state whose integrity is inviolable, and no part of which may be ceded. The people of Yemen are part of the Arab and Islamic Nation.


8Islam is the religion of the state, and Arabic is its official Language.


10Islamic Shari'ah is the source of all legislation.


12The people of Yemen are the possessor and the source of power, which they exercise directly through public referendums and elections, or indirectly through the legislative, executive and judicial authorities, as well as through elected local councils.


14The political system of the Republic of Yemen is based on political and partisan pluralism in order to achieve a peaceful transformation of power. The Law stipulates rules and procedures required for the formation of political organizations and parties, and the exercise of political activity. Misuse of Governmental posts and public funds for the special interest of a specific party or Political organization is not permitted.


16The Republic of Yemen confirms its adherence to the UN Charter, the International Declaration of Human Rights, the Charter of the Arab League, and Principles of international Law which are generally recognized.



19The national economy is based on freedom of economic activity which benefits both the individual and society and which enhances national independence. The national economy should be founded on the following principles:

20a.Islamic social justice in economic relations which aims at developing and promoting production, achieving social integration and equilibrium, providing equal opportunities and promoting higher living standards in society.

21b.Lawful competition between the public, private, cooperative and mixed economic sectors, and realisation of equal and just treatment in all sectors.

22c.Protection and respect for private ownership, which cannot be confiscated unless necessary in the public interest, in lieu of fair consideration and in accordance with Law.


24All types of natural resources and sources of energy, whether aboveground, underground, in territorial waters, on the continental shelf or the exclusive economic zone are owned by the State, which assure their exploitation for the common good of the people.


26The state's economic policy shall be based on scientific planning which ensures the best utilization of all resources and the promotion of capabilities for all economic sectors in all socio-economic fields of development and within the state's development plan which serves the common interest and the national economy.


28The state shall sponsor free trade and investment in a way that serves the national economy. It shall issue legislation that guarantees protection for producers and consumers alike, assures availability of basic commodities and promotes anti-trust Laws. The state shall undertake to promote private capital investments in all socio-economic development fields all in accordance with the Law.


30The law shall regulate the state's official currency and the financial and banking systems. It shall also define measurements, standards and weights.


32Taxes should be assessed with regard to the public interest in order to achieve social justice among citizens.


34a. The imposition, adjustment and Revocation of taxes shall only be authorized by Law. No one shall be partially or fully exempted from tax-payments unless the law stipulates so and no one shall be subject to taxes, or other charges unless so dictated by law.

35b. The imposition, collection, adjustment, exemption and disposition of duties and fees shall only be dictated by law.


37The state shall encourage cooperation and savings. It shall sponsor efforts to establish cooperative projects and activities of all kinds.


39The Law shall specify the basic rules for the collection and disbursement of public funds.


41The executive power is not authorized to contract loans or guarantee them or associate itself with a project that entails the spending of public funds in a coming year/years without the approval of the House of Representatives.


43The Law shall specify the scales of salaries, wages. compensations, subsidies and bonuses payable from the government treasury.


45Contracting concessions regarding natural resources and public facilities should be undertaken according to the law. The law may illustrate some cases of limited significance in which concessions could be granted according to rules and procedures clarified in the law. The law shall define cases and ways of granting certain immobile and mobile property, and rules and procedures to be undertaken. The law shall also regulate the ways of awarding concessions to local entities/units and the free disposal/ use of public funds.


47Public funds and properties are inviolable. The state and all members of society shall maintain and protect them. Any attack on or misuse of these, shall be considered sabotage and an aggression on society, and those who violate their sacrosanctity shall be punished in accordance with the law.


49General confiscation of property is prohibited, private confiscation is not allowed without a legal judgment.


51The state shall collect the Zakat (Shari'ah tax) and shall spend it through its legal channels in accordance with law.


53Endowment properties are inviolable. Those who control them are obliged to improve and develop their resources and spend them in a way that secures the accomplishment of their objectives and legal aims.


55The right of inheritance is guaranteed in accordance with Islamic tenets (Shari'ah). A special law will be issued accordingly.



58The state shall guarantee equal opportunities for all citizens in the fields of political, economic, social and cultural activities and shall enact the necessary laws for the realization thereof.


60Yemeni society is based on social solidarity, which is based on justice, freedom and equality according to the law.


62The Family is the basis of society, its pillars are religion, customs and love of the homeland. The law shall maintain the integrity of the family and strengthen its ties.


64The state shall guarantee freedom of scientific research and achievements in the fields of literature, arts and culture, which conform with the spirit and objectives of the Constitution. The state shall provide means conducive to such achievements and shall provide support and encouragement for scientific and technical invention, and artistic creation and shall protect achievements thereof.


66Public office is a duty and an honour. Persons in public office are to serve the public interest and the people. The law shall specify the terms of public service and the duties and rights of persons in public office.


68Work is a right, an honour, and a necessity for society's progress. Every citizen has the right to choose the appropriate work for himself within the law. No citizen can be compelled to do any work except within the law, and in which case it is to serve the common interest and be in return for a fair wage. The law shall regulate union activities and professional work, and the relationship between workers and employers.


70The state shall protect mothers and children, and shall sponsor the youth and the young.


72Women are the sisters of men. They have rights and duties, which are guaranteed and assigned by Shari'ah and stipulated by law.


74Education, health and social services are the basic pillars for building and developing the society. Society shall with the state take part in providing them.


76In cooperation with society, the state bears responsibility for consequences resulting from natural disasters and public crises.


78It is the duty of the state and all members of society to protect and maintain the archaeological and historical sites. Any abuse of the sites or aggression on archaeological finds shall be considered sabotage and an assault against society. The law shall punish those who abuse their inviolability or sell them.


80Environmental protection is the collective responsibility of the state and the community at large. Each individual shall have a religious and national duty to protect the environment.



83The state is the authority to establish the armed forces, the police, the security forces and any such bodies. Such forces belong to all the people and their function is to protect the republic and safeguard its territories and security. No organization, individual, group, political party or organization may establish forces or paramilitary groups for whatever purpose or under any name. The law stipulates the conditions for military service, promotion and disciplinary procedures in the military, police and security forces.


85General mobilization shall be organized according to the law and shall be proclaimed by the President of the Republic following the approval of the House of Representatives.


87The National Defense Council, headed by the President of the Republic, will exist to attend to matters pertaining to means of safeguarding the Republic and its security. The law shall determine its composition, duties and other functions.


89The police is a civilian and Regular force which performs its duties for the service of the people and guarantees peace and security for the people. It shall preserve the law, keep public order, maintain common decency, implement the orders of the judicial authority and execute duties dictated to it by the Country's laws, and regulations.


91Military, security, police and other forces shall not be employed in the interest of a party, an individual or group. They shall be safeguarded against all forms of differentiation resulting from party affiliation, racism, factionalism, regionalism and tribalism in order to guarantee their neutrality and the fulfillment of their duties in the proper manner. The members of all forces are banned from party memberships and activities according to the law.



94Citizens are all equal in rights and duties.


96Every citizen has the right to participate in the political, economic, cultural life of the country. The state shall guarantee freedom of thought and expression of opinion in speech, writing and photography within the limits of the law.


98The citizen has the right to elect and nominate himself as a candidate in an election, as well as the right to demonstrate his opinion in a referendum. The law shall regulate the provisions regarding the practice of this right.


100The law shall regulate Yemeni nationality. Any Yemeni shall not be deprived of his nationality. Once Yemeni nationality is acquired it may not be withdrawn except in accordance with the law.


102A Yemeni national may not be extradited to a foreign authority.


104Extraditing political refugees is prohibited.


106Criminal liability is personal. No crime or punishment shall be undertaken without a provision in the Shari'ah or the law. The accused is innocent until proven guilty by a final judicial sentence, and no law may be enacted to put a person to trial for acts committed retroactively.


108a. The state shall guarantee to its citizens their personal freedom, preserve their dignity and their security. The law shall define the cases in which citizens freedom may be restricted. Personal freedom cannot be restricted without the decision of a competent court of law.

109b. No individual can be arrested, searched or detained unless caught in the act (in flagrant delicto) or served with a summons from a judge or the Public Prosecutor, which is necessary for the progress of an investigation or the maintenance of security. No person can be put under surveillance unless in accordance with the law. Any person whose freedom is restricted in any way must have his dignity protected. Physical and psychological torture is prohibited. Forcing confessions during investigations is forbidden. The person whose freedom is restricted has the right not to answer any questions in the absence of his lawyer. No person may be imprisoned or detained in places other than those designated as such and governed by the law of prisons. Physical punishment and inhumane treatment during arrest, detention or imprisonment are prohibited.

110c. Any person temporarily apprehended on suspicion of committing a crime shall be presented in front of a court within a maximum of 24 hours from the time of his detention. The judge or Public Prosecutor shall inform the detained individual of the reason for his detention and questioning and shall enable the accused to state his defense and rebuttals. The court then gives a justified order for the release of the accused or for the extension of his detention. In any cases, the Prosecutor is not entitled to continue detention of the accused individual more than several days except with a judicial order. The law shall define the maximum period of custody.

111d. Upon arrest, for whatever reason, a person may immediately contact someone of his choice. The same notification shall be repeated whenever a court orders the continuation of the detention. If the nominated person can not be notified, the detainee's relative or concerned persons shall be notified.

112e. The law shall determine the punishment for whosoever violates any of the stipulations of this Article and it shall also determine the appropriate compensation for any harm the person suffers as a result of such a violation. Physical or psychological torture at the time of arrest, detention or jail is a crime that cannot be prescribable. All those who practice, order, or participate in executing, physical or psychological torture shall be punished.


114The right to defend oneself in person or by representation is guaranteed during all periods of investigation and in front of all courts, in accordance with the rules of the law. The state shall guarantee judicial assistance to those who cannot afford it, according to the law.


116Execution of punishments shall not be undertaken by illegal means. The law shall organize such matter.


118Citizens have the right of recourse to the courts to protect their rights and lawful interests. They also have the right to submit their complaints, criticisms, and suggestions to the various government bodies directly or indirectly.


120Residences, places of worship, and educational institutions have a sanctity which may not be violated through surveillance or search except in the cases stipulated by the law.


122The state shall guarantee the freedom and confidentiality of mail, telephone, telegram and all other means of communication, none of which may be censored, searched, exposed, delayed or confiscated except in cases specified by law and according to a court order.


124Education is a right for all citizens. The state shall guarantee education in accordance with the law through building various schools and cultural and educational institutions. Basic education is obligatory. The state shall do its best to obliterate illiteracy and give special care to expanding technical and vocational education. The state shall give special attention to young people and protect them against perversions, provide them with religious, mental and physical education, and the appropriate environment to develop their aptitude in all fields.


126Health care is a right for all citizens. The state shall guarantee this by building various hospitals and health establishments and expanding their care. The law shall organize the medical profession. The expansion of free health services and health education among the citizens.


128The state shall guarantee social security for all citizens in cases of illness, disability, unemployment, old age or the loss of support. The state shall especially guarantee this, according to the Law, for the families of those killed in war.


130Freedom of movement from one place to another within the country is guaranteed for all citizens, and may not be restricted except by law and for reasons necessitated by the security and safety of the people. The law shall regulate entry and exit from Yemen. No citizen may be deported from or denied return to Yemen.


132In as much as it is not contrary to the Constitution, the citizens may organize themselves along political, professional and union lines. They have the right to form associations in scientific, cultural, social and national unions in a way that serves the goals of the Constitution. The state shall guarantee these rights, and shall take the necessary measures to enable citizens to exercise them. The state shall guarantee freedom for the political, trade, cultural, scientific and social organizations.


134Paying taxes and public dues is a duty according to the law.


136Defending religion and the homeland is a sacred duty, military duty is an honour, and national service is to be organized by law.


138Preserving national unity, safeguarding secrets of the state, respecting the laws and following their provisions are every citizen's duty.




142The House of Representatives is the legislative authority of the state. It shall enact laws, sanction general state policies and the general plan for economic and social development as well as approve state budget and the balance sheet. It shall also oversee the activities of the Executive Authority as stipulated in this constitution.


144The House of Representatives consists of 301 members, who shall be elected in a secret, free and equal vote directly by the people. The Republic shall be divided into constituencies equal in number of population with a variation of not more than 5% plus or minus. Each constituency shall elect a member to the House of Representatives.


146a. A voter must meet the following two conditions:

1471.must be a Yemeni citizen.

1482.must be at least 18 years old.

149b. A candidate for the House of Representatives must meet the following conditions:

1501.must be a Yemeni.

1512.must be at least 25 years old.

1523.must be able to read and write (literate).

1534.must be of good character and conduct, fulfill his religious duties and have no court convictions against him for committing crimes that contradict the rules of honour and honesty, unless he was pardoned/ reprieved.


155The term of the House of Representatives is six calendar years starting from the date of its first session. The president of the Republic shall call for a new Parliamentary elections at least sixty (60) days before the House of Representatives concludes its term. If in extraordinary circumstances elections cannot be held, the existing House shall continue to function until such circumstances are over and elections are duly held.


157The House of Representatives is to be located in Sana'a, the capital. Internal regulations determine the conditions under which the House may hold meetings outside the capital city.


159The House of Representatives issues its internal regulations, stipulating the procedures of its working committees, and its rules for practicing constitutional competence. Such regulations, enacted and amended by law, may not contradict or amend any clause in the constitution


161The House shall be competent to determine the legitimacy of its membership. Any appeal shall be submitted to the Supreme Court within 15 days of its delivery to the House. The Court's findings and verdict must be submitted to the House, which will judge the validity of the appeal within 60 days of receiving the verdict of the court. Membership of the House may not be nullified except by a resolution taken by two thirds of the House. The investigation must be completed within 90 days from the date of the submission of the appeal to the Supreme Court.


163The House of Representatives alone shall have the exclusive right to maintain order and security within the premises of the House. The Speaker of the House shall take charge of such responsibility through a special guard force under his command. No other armed force may enter the House premises or take positions near its entrances except at the request of the Speaker.


165The House of Representatives shall, on an invitation from the President of the Republic, hold its first meeting no later than two weeks after the announcement of the results of the elections. If no such invitation is made, the House shall meet on the morning following the date of expiration of the said two weeks.


167At its first meeting, the House of Representatives shall elect from among its members, the Speaker and three Deputies to from the Presiding Board of the House. The oldest member shall chair the House during the election of the Speaker and the House's internal regulations shall specify all the procedures for electing the Presiding Board of the House, its duration and its other functions. The House shall include a General Secretariat, presided over by a Secretary General, the internal regulations of the House shall specify the rules that relate to its formation and other rules connected to it.


169For the meetings of the House of Representatives to be valid, it is necessary for more than half of its members to attend, excluding those whose seats were declared vacant. Decisions shall be taken by an absolute majority of the attending members except in cases where the Constitution or House regulations demand a specific majority. If the results of voting are equally divided, further deliberations must be rejected within the same session, but shall be given priority if submitted in another session.


171Meetings of the House of Representatives shall be open to the public but the House may hold closed meetings at the request of the Speaker, the President, the Government, or at the request of at least twenty members of the House. The House shall then decide whether the discussion of the subject should be conducted openly or in closed meetings.


173The House shall annually hold two ordinary sessions. It may be called to hold extraordinary session. The internal regulations of the House shall specify the dates of the ordinary sessions and their duration. In times of necessity, the House may call for extraordinary sessions by Presidential decree, a decision by the Presiding Board of the House, or a written request from one third of the members. The House session shall not be adjourned during the last quarter of the year before the endorsement of the General Budget of the state.


175A member of the House of Representatives represents the whole nation, guard the public interest and his representative may not be subjected to any restriction or special condition.


177A member of the House of Representatives shall, prior to his assumption of membership duties, swear the Constitutional oath before the house in an open session.


179The Speaker and members of the House of Representatives, the Presidency Board and other members of the House shall receive a fair remuneration specified by law. The Chairman of the council of Ministers, his deputies and ministers shall not be entitled to such remuneration if they happen to be members of the House Representatives.


181If a seat of a member of the House of Representatives becomes vacant for more than a year before the expiry of the House's tenure, a replacement shall be elected within sixty days of the House's declaration of the vacancy and this membership ends when the existing House duration comes to an end.


183A member of the House of Representatives shall not interfere with the work of the Executive or the Judicial authorities.


185Membership of the House of Representatives may not be combined with membership of a local council or with any public employment. Membership of the Council of Ministers may concur with membership of the House of Representatives.


187A member of the House of Representatives shall not be held responsible for facts he comes across or matters he raises in the House or any of its committees, or for his voting pattern in open or closed meetings. This does not apply to cases of slander or defamation by members.


189A member of the House of Representatives may Not be subject to procedures of investigation, inspection, arrest, imprisonment, or punishment except with the permission of the House of Representatives save in the case his being caught in the act, and in such a case, the House shall be notified forthwith. The House shall make sure of the rectitude of the procedures followed in such cases. If the House is in recess, permission shall be sought from the Presidency Board of the House, and the House of Representatives shall be notified at the first meeting following the procedures taken.


191Member of the House of Representatives submit their resignations to the House, which has the exclusive right to accept them.


193The membership of a member of the House of Representatives may not be nullified unless any of the membership conditions stipulated in this Constitution cease to apply, or if the member commits a grave violation of the membership duties according to the specifications of the internal regulations of the House.


195A member of the House of Representatives and the government have the right to propose bills for laws, and their amendments. In the case of financial laws that aim at increasing or abolishing an existing tax, or decrease or give exemption from part of it, or aim at allocating part of the state funds for a certain project, these may only be proposed by the government or by at least 20% of the representatives. All the proposed laws presented by a member or additional members of the House shall not be referred to one of the committees of the house before being studied by a special committee which will determine whether the proposal meets the requirements for action by the house. If the House decides to discuss any of these it can be transferred to the committee responsible for examining and reporting thereon. Any proposed law submitted by others than the government may not be submitted again during the same session.


197Within a maximum of twenty five days of the formation of the new government, the Chairman of the Council of Ministers shall present his government's programme to the House of Representatives in order to win a vote of confidence by the majority of the members of the house. If the House of Representatives is in recess, it is to be recalled for an extraordinary session. The members of the House and the House as a whole has the right to comment on the government's program. The failure of the government to win the required majority is to be considered a withholding of confidence.


199The House of Representatives shall approve comprehensive social and economic development plans. The law shall be enacted to stipulate the process of the preparation of such plans, their submission to the House, the voting procedures and the process of issuance.


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  • Theoretical/Philosophical
  • Historical Commentary
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  • separation of powers
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  • Rufus King
  • slave
  • slave labor
  • slavery
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  • Revolution
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  • William Jackson
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