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Features of Constitution1

Is there a constitution? Yes
Does the constitution provide for freedom of religion? No


Constitution Year 1991
Last Amended 2001
Source UNHCR Refworld
Translation Source is an English translation
Current as of May 11, 2011

Constitution Excerpts (clauses that reference religion)2

Article (1)

The 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.

Article (2)

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

Article (3)

Islamic Shari'ah is the source of all legislation.

Article (7)

The 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:
a. 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.
b. Lawful competition between the public, private, cooperative and mixed economic sectors, and realization of equal and just treatment in all sectors.
c. 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.

Article (21)

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

Article (23)

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

Article (26)

The 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.

Article (31)

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

Article (47)

Criminal 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.

Article (52)

Residences, 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.

Article (54)

Education 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.

Article (60)

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

Article (64)

1. A voter must meet the following two conditions:
a. must be a Yemeni citizen.
b. must be at least 18 years old.
2. A candidate for the House of Representatives must meet the following conditions:
a. must be a Yemeni.
b. must be at least 25 years old.
c. must be able to read and write (literate).
d. 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 honor and honesty, unless he was pardoned /reprieved.

Article (107)

Every Yemeni who meets the following specified conditions may become a candidate for the post of the President of the Republic:
a. To be at least forty years old.
b. To be a descendant of Yemeni parents.
c. To be at liberty to practice his political and civil rights.
d. To be of good character, practice his Islamic duties and have no dishonorable criminal record and if so, he has been reprieved.
e. Not to be married to a foreign spouse or to enter into such a marriage during his term of office.

Article (160)

The text of the constitutional oath to be sworn by the President of the Republic, his deputy, members of the House of Representatives, the Prime Ministers and Cabinet members and by the speaker and members of the Consultative Council, shall be as follows:
I swear by Allah Almighty:
- To adhere to the Qur'an (the Book of God) and the traditions established by the Prophet Mohammed;
- To faithfully safeguard the Republican system; - To respect the country’s Constitution and Laws;
- To fully protect people’s freedom and safeguard their interests and;
- To safeguard the country’s unity, independence and territorial integrity.


1.  Data under the "Features of Constitution" heading are drawn from coding of the U.S. State Department's 2008 International Religious Freedom Reports conducted by researchers at the Association of Religion Data Archives. The article by Brian Grim and Roger Finke describes the coding of the International Religious Freedom reports. A dataset with these and the other international measures highlighted on the country pages can be downloaded from this website. Used with permission.

2.  The constitutional excerpts shown above are reproduced from the websites given in the "Source" field; the links to these websites were active as of May 2011. Where the constitutional text shown on these websites was provided in a language other than English, this text was translated to English by ARDA staff with assistance from web-based translation utilities such as Google Translate and Yahoo! Babel Fish. Constitutional text was converted to American English where applicable. Constitutional clauses were judged to contain religious content based largely on the standards used in the construction of the Religion and State Constitutions Dataset collected by Jonathan Fox. Emphases were added to the text by ARDA staff to highlight religious content in articles that also contain content that does not pertain to matters of religion. The data on this page were correct to the best of the knowledge of the ARDA as of the date listed in the "Current as of" field shown above. Please contact us at if you are aware of any incorrect information provided on this page.

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