Chapter I General Foundations
Section I. Political Foundations
The Federal Republic of Yemen is a federal State, civil, democratic, Arab Islamic, independent and a sovereign country; based on the will of the people, equal citizenship and the rule of law. It is one indivisible country and no part thereof may be ceded. Yemen is part and parcel of the Arab and Islamic nations.
Islam is the religion of the State, and Arabic is its official language.
The State shall pay special attention to both the Mehri and Soqotri languages.
Islamic Sharia is the source of legislation. Interpretation of the codification of Sharia provisions shall be assigned exclusively to the Legislative Authority.
Power belongs to the people and the people are the source of power. The people shall exercise power directly through referenda and general elections, or indirectly through the legislative, executive and judicial institutions.
The people are free to determine their own political stature and free to peacefully pursue the attainment of economic, social and cultural development through institutions of governance at every level, in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution and international conventions ratified by Yemen.
- The Yemeni nationality is the foundation of citizenship. It is a right for everyone born to a Yemeni father or a Yemeni mother and the revocation of this citizenship is prohibited. The law shall regulate cases of acquisition of Yemeni nationality and cases of revocation thereof.
- All citizens, irrespective of their regional domiciles, shall have one national citizenship.
The political system shall be based on:
- Separation of powers, political pluralism and the peaceful transfer of power. It shall be prohibited, under any circumstances, to change the political system or to endeavor to achieve political, economic, social or cultural aims through violence, by force or by military coups.
- Ensuring political participation as required by representative, participatory and deliberative democracy.
It is prohibited to use places of worship to disseminate partisan thoughts, advocate for certain political benefits, incite fanaticism, hatred or sedition or any act of violence.
The State is committed to respect the United Nations Charter, the Arab League Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It shall adhere to international conventions and treaties ratified by the legislative authority and the generally recognized principles of International Law.
The State undertakes to combat terrorism of all forms as a national policy.
In its foreign policy, the State is committed to maintain sovereignty, security and the supreme interests of the country and shall adopt the principles of justice and respect for the sovereignty of other states, the rights of the people to freedom and dignity, and the maintenance of regional and international peace and security.
- Political parties and organizations are the mainstay of democracy and contribute to the embodiment of the political will of the people.
- The freedom to establish political parties and organizations shall be guaranteed according to the law and they may be established by mere notification. It is impermissible to intervene in their affairs; nor to stop their activities or dissolution thereof unless by a final court ruling.
- In their internal regulations, political parties and organizations shall adhere to the principles of democracy and good governance, and shall provide public financial statements on sources of funding, assets and methods of management thereof.
- Parties shall take care to ensure the representation of women and youth in their leadership bodies.
- It is prohibited to establish political parties and organizations on the basis of racial, sectarian or doctrinal grounds. It is also prohibited to:
- Prejudice the Republican and Democratic System.
- Receive foreign funding.
- Exploit religion for political ends.
No party, group or individual may establish military or para-military formations, squads or organizations. Any breach therefore is considered an act of aggression against the safety, security and unity of the Republic and shall be punished according to the law.
Section II. Economic Foundations
The national economy is a free social economy, the ultimate goal of which is to achieve economic and social development, increase production and promote social welfare. It shall be based on the following foundations:
- Freedom of economic activity.
- Social justice.
- Diversity of private, public, mixed and cooperative economic sectors as well as freedom of competition between the sectors.
- Strengthening of public-private partnerships to achieve economic and social development.
- Transparency and good governance in the performance of all economic sectors.
Private ownership is protected and the enjoyment and disposition is guaranteed, and the State and society are obligated to protect and respect this right. It is prohibited to prejudice or expropriate this right except for public benefit and only in exchange for equitable compensation paid in advance pursuant to the situations and in the manner set forth in the law.
Natural resources of all types and energy sources underground, in the surface, in territorial waters, in the exclusive economic zone or in the continental shelf belong to the people. The State shall ensure conservation, sound management and exploitation and investment to realize the public interests therefrom. Revenues generated from these resources shall be shared by all levels of government in a fair and equitable manner in accordance with this Constitution, with due considerations for the rights of future generations.
The State shall foster freedom of trade and investment so as to serve the national economy. Each region shall have a leading role in the field of regional economic development.
The State shall guarantee freedom of commerce in a manner that promotes inter-regional integration, facilitates movement of citizens, goods, commodities, monies and services. It is impermissible to put in place obstacles, restrictions, customs or tax barriers or any administrative constraints between regions.
Public funds and properties shall have sanctity, and the State and all members of society shall maintain, protect and respect them; whereby violation of this sanctity or a transgression against it shall be a crime punishable by law.
Public confiscation of funds is prohibited; and no private confiscation is permissible, except under a court ruling, and in the circumstances prescribed by law.
Payment of taxes and sharing in the public burden is a duty. Imposing taxes, modifying or repealing existing taxes may only be done under a law. No one shall be exempted from payment of taxes in whole or in part, except in cases set forth in the law. In imposing taxes, the interest of society, development of State resources and attainment of social justice must be taken into account in accordance with a fair and equitable tax system. Income tax shall be progressive and tax evasion is a crime punishable by law.
Raising, adjusting and repealing of fees or exemption thereof shall be done only under a law.
Federal law shall determine the State’s official currency, the banking system as well as weights and measures.
Inheritance is guaranteed according to the provisions of Islamic Sharia, and shall be regulated by law.
The State shall assume the collection and disbursement of Zakat through its banking channels in a manner that achieves the legitimate purposes thereof and ensures its social and economic role. Zakat may not be mixed with general revenues.
The State shall promote endowments, and shall be committed to maintain, protect and develop endowment funds. Spending thereof shall be in accordance with the wishes of donors to ensure the social and economic role of endowments. Any offence, wastage or causing damage to endowments funds and properties shall be a crime to which the statute of limitations does not apply.
State economic policy shall be based on indicative scientific planning.
The State shall promote and protect savings, credit and investment in various sectors and provide the necessary facilities and the appropriate infrastructure.
The State shall endeavor to regulate economic activities, oversee markets, protect consumers, monitor standards and measurements and prevent monopoly and illegal competition.
The State shall pay special attention to medium, small and micro enterprises and shall take necessary measures to develop and protect them, in a manner that ensures job creation and the reduction of unemployment rates.
The State shall encourage investments in different energy sources.
The State shall support manufacturing, protect productive activities and provide the infrastructure to increase production and promote exports.
The State shall promote the creation of cooperatives and shall ensure their protection. The State shall enact legislations to regulate and protect the funds of cooperatives.
The State shall place a special emphasis on the knowledge economy and information technology in all sectors, shall protect cyberspace security, and shall take necessary measures to that end as regulated by law.
The State shall protect its seas, beaches, waterways and islands including latent resources. Trespassing, polluting or abuse is prohibited and the law shall regulate exploitation thereof.
The State shall commit itself to provide strategic food stocks to deal with emergencies and natural disasters.
The State shall ensure the promotion of effective participation of woman in investment and economic development and provide necessary support, patronage and encouragement for rural women in the different spheres.
The State shall be committed to the development of agricultural and livestock production, shall contribute to the provision of necessary inputs, and shall encourage industries and investment in this area.
The State shall be committed to the protection of fish resources, prevention of overfishing and encourage and support fishermen.
The State shall be committed to support tourism activities and the development of its resources; through the building of infrastructure, development of tourist areas and destinations and promotion of private sector investments in this area.
The State shall endeavor to recover monies and assets resulting from illicit gains. The statute of limitations does not apply to claims in this respect.
Section III. Social and Cultural Foundations
The State shall ensure healthcare of high quality to all citizens without discrimination, by building adequate infrastructure and proving training and care to medical professionals, allocation of a specific percentage from the general budget to the health sector, encourage the contributions of private sector and civil society organizations in this field and the creation of a comprehensive health insurance system.
Education is the foundation of progress and advancement of society. It shall aim at building a sound personality of an individual, religiously, psychologically and emotionally, and develop talents and scientific competences of the individual, and promote a scientific approach to thinking, criticism and analysis. It shall also seek to instill values of virtue, tolerance, good citizenship and respect for the principles of human rights to ensure integrated and comprehensive development of the individual’s personality, respond to labor market needs and the building and development of modern sciences.
Education is compulsory in its basic and secondary stages and free of charge in all State educational institutions. The State shall be committed to provide the necessary basic infrastructure, and to the development of the professional and scientific skills of teachers, and to ensure their material and intellectual rights.
The State shall ensure the provision of university education in line with global quality standards.
The State shall ensure the financial and administrative autonomy of the universities, apply good governance therein, build capacities of the faculty staff; develop their competences and support their material and intellectual rights.
The State shall be committed to promote technical education and vocational training that is in line with global quality standards, and in a manner, appropriate to the needs of society and the labor market. The State shall encourage and promote the role of the private sector in this area.
The State shall oversee the curriculum development process for all education stages in line with standards and controls that aim to enhance the spirit of tolerance and brotherhood, preserve the social fabric of society and accommodates the ideological, doctrinal and geographical diversity of Yemeni society.
Exploitation of educational institutions for partisan or political ends is prohibited.
Private education in all stages is guaranteed in accordance with standards enshrined in the law.
The State shall allocate a percentage of the general budget to education in all of its stages and types in order to meet international standards.
The State shall be committed to eradicating illiteracy and its causes in all its forms for all citizens, both female and male and in rural and urban areas alike.
The State shall support scientific research, ensure its freedom, endeavor to expand areas of research, develop mechanisms, support its centers and link outputs to development plans. The State shall sponsor researchers and guarantee their material and intellectual rights.
The State shall endeavor to promote a collective national identity, and strengthen the foundations of social solidarity, justice, freedom and equality, and cultural and intellectual diversity, and the consolidation of the noble Islamic and human values.
The State shall endeavor to promote the values of brotherhood, tolerance and co-existence, and the renouncement of the culture of hatred and glorification of war, doctrinal, sectarian and regional incitement, and shall criminalize the act of accusing Muslims of not being members of the Islamic faith, whether they are individuals or groups. Libel of Islam and all divinely revealed religions and insulting prophets shall be considered a criminal offense.
The State shall be committed to the support and welfare of women, enactment of laws that would ensure protection of women and advancing their status in society. The State shall also eliminate negative cultural and social norms that demean the dignity of women.
Youth are an active force in nation building. The State shall foster youth in a manner that ensures integrated and comprehensive development of character, in all spiritual, moral and physical spheres, empower youth scientifically, professionally, politically and economically, and harness their energies in development and to ensure their political participation at no less than 20% in different powers and authorities.
- The family is the foundation of society, and the State shall endeavor to pass legislation to protect its social and economic rights, which ensures its unity and stability, and the protection of the family entity and the entrenchment of religious, moral and patriotic values. The State shall support and protect motherhood and childhood. Reproduction is considered a responsibility, the burden of which shall be borne by the family and the State.
- The State shall promote family guidance centers and establish specialized courts for family cases to ensure expeditious litigation procedures to achieve justice.
The State shall develop a population policy with the objective of striking a balance between population growth and available resources and to optimize investment in human capital for the realization of sustainable development.
The State shall develop a comprehensive national housing policy ensuring an increase in real estate investment, the promotion of cooperative housing projects and engaging the private and banking sectors to ensure effective opportunities for low income people to obtain adequate and affordable housing matching their income levels.
The State shall undertake legislative and executive actions to raise the status of vulnerable and marginalized groups and promote their active participation in political, economic and social life. The State shall endeavor to integrate marginalized groups into society.
The State shall ensure:
- Sufficient attention to the Arabic language, and to the Arabization and translation of the various sciences, with particular attention to the development of the Mehri and Soqotri languages.
- The maintenence of the cultural and linguistic diversity of society, cultural creations and folk heritage.
The State shall support the advancement of all areas of science, culture, literature and the arts and support the establishment of cultural and artistic associations and centers. It shall support the freedom of scientific, literary, artistic and cultural creativity, and encourage the efforts of creative people and inventors and accord protection to intellectual property.
Antiquities are a civilizational heritage for Yemen and humanity and belong to the people. It is impermissible to damage or alter monuments thereof. The State shall ensure the protection, preservation and maintenance of antiquities, develop sites and regulate archaeological excavations under its full oversight. Tampering, vandalism or trafficking of antiquities is a crime and lawsuits thereto shall not be subject to the statute of limitations. The State shall ensure recovery of looted antiquities.
Yemeni manuscripts and documents are part of the national heritage, the foundation of national memory and belong to the people. It is not permitted to prejudice or destroy them. The State shall protect, preserve and maintain them and shall contribute to the preservation and maintenance of private manuscripts. Tampering with or mishandling of official documents shall be deemed a crime not subject to the statute of limitations.
The State shall bear the burdens arising from natural disasters and general adversities and shall provide protection and care for affected citizens; particularly vulnerable groups.
The State shall endeavor to eliminate detrimental social phenomena threatening social peace including the code of revenge.
The State shall develop a national policy for the gradual phase out of Qat, address its harmful effects and its economic, medical, social and cultural impacts, and shall support the cultivation of agricultural crops and other economic alternatives.
The State shall protect society against intoxicants and narcotics and shall protect society against the risks thereof.
The civil society sector and organizations shall be a partner in political, economic and social development in a manner that would strengthen its role in the context of development and popular oversight as regulated by law.