(b) Number of juveniles in social guidance homes and types of delinquency, 2004 168
(c) Number of juveniles in social guidance homes and types of delinquency, 2005 169
(d) Number of juveniles in social guidance homes and types of delinquency, 2006 170
(e) Number of juveniles in social guidance homes and types of delinquency, 2007 171
(f) Number of juveniles in social guidance homes and types of delinquency, 2008 172
68. Number of imprisoned children, 2003–2008 173
69. Number of children living with their mothers in prison, 2003–2008 173
70. Number of social guidance homes for juveniles 174
71. Social groups targeted by the programme (2006–2007), including child workers,
their siblings and their families, employers, civil society organizations and schoolchildren, and partnership activities of the Child Labour Unit at the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour and rehabilitation centres for child workers in San`a City, Aden and Seiyun 175
72. Number of users of safe childhood centres (street children) in the governorates 178
73. Number of deported children and interceptions of children being smuggled 178
1. The Constitution of the Republic of Yemen enshrines the principles of democracy and political pluralism and the State takes a positive approach to new human rights concepts in general and to children’s right in particular, given that children are a part of the present and every part of the future. Believing that to be so, the Republic of Yemen acceded to the first Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict, by Act No. 19 of 24 August 2004, and to the second Optional Protocol thereto on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, by Act No. 20 of 24 August 2004.
2. A comprehensive review was carried out to ensure that the domestic legislation is substantially reflected in national strategies and plans in order to serve the best interests of the child. The resulting draft amendments are essentially intended to address the inconsistency in national legislation concerning the definition of a child; provide legal protection for children, especially those living in difficult circumstances; deal with issues relating to the protection of children from sexual and economic exploitation and to, inter alia, child smuggling, early marriage, child labour and juvenile rights; introduce stricter penalties for all categories of offenders against children and violators of children’s rights; and promote harmonization of national legislation with international conventions in a manner that is in keeping with the teachings of Islam.
3. The present fourth report was prepared on the basis of the recommendations contained in the concluding observations of the Committee of the Rights of the Child on the third periodic report concerning the situation of children in Yemen, which was submitted to the Committee and considered in June 2005. This is an indication of the commitment of Yemen to the Convention and international instruments.
A. The reporting mechanism
4. The accumulated expertise of the Yemeni Government in periodic reporting was a key point of reference in the process of preparing the fourth periodic report. In that regard, the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood took the necessary measures in line with a participatory approach aimed at ensuring the engagement of all stakeholders in the different stages of preparation outlined below.
Stage I: Preparation and information-gathering
5. Designated pursuant to a decision of the Minister of Social Affairs and Labour, vice-chairperson of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, the entities involved in gathering information from governmental bodies and civil society organizations included the following: the Ministry of Public Health and Population; the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour; the Ministry of Human Rights; the Ministry of Justice; the Ministry of Education; the Ministry of Awqaf; the Ministry of Finance; the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation; the Ministry of the Interior; the Ministry of Culture; the Ministry of Tourism; the Ministry of Information; the Ministry of Legal Affairs; the Ministry of Water and Environment; the Ministry of Higher Education; the Ministry of Technical and Vocational Education; the House of Representatives; the Shura Council; the Office of the Public Prosecutor; the Reform Association; the Yemen Women’s Union; the Coordinating Authority for Child Rights Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs); the Women’s National Committee; the Saleh Foundation for Social Development; the Human Rights Information and Training Centre; the Yemeni Observatory for Human Rights; the Youth Advisory Council; and the Technical Secretariat of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood.
6. Difficulties were encountered in the information-gathering process; in particular, modern information systems were unavailable in most of the bodies concerned, meaning that the time allocated to this stage was protracted. The Democracy School – an NGO – was also unable to take up the invitation extended to it to participate in this stage, as it represents the Secretariat-General of the Children’s Parliament and will be preparing a shadow report.
Stage II: Initial drafting of the report
7. A drafting committee of national experts was formed to work under the direct supervision of the Secretary-General of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood. The committee based its activities on the guidelines for periodic reporting and the Committee’s concluding observations on the third periodic report.
Stage III: Review
8. The review process was conducted in two phases:
(1) The initial draft of the report was presented and discussed at a national workshop attended by some 70 participants from relevant governmental entities, civil society organizations and donor agencies, as well as by representatives of the Children’s Parliament and stakeholders from some of the main governorates;
(2) The final draft and the report on the outputs from the workshop were presented to a review committee chaired by the Secretary-General of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, with a membership consisting of the Minister of State for Social Affairs and Labour (Development Sector), the Assistant Secretary-General of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, the Director of the Periodic Reports Department at the Ministry of Human Rights, and the human rights officer at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Stage IV: Approval
9. The final draft of the report was presented to the Technical Committee for Human Rights, which comprises representatives of various governmental stakeholders: the Presidency of the Republic; the Office of the Prime Minister; the Ministry of the Interior; the Ministry of Justice; the Ministry of Legal Affairs; the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour; the Office of the Public Prosecutor; the Ministry of Information; the Political Security Agency; the Ministry of Human Rights; and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The report was also transmitted to the Cabinet and the Presidency of the Republic for consideration and approval. Following its approval at a meeting of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, it was formally transmitted to the Committee on the Rights of the Child through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
10. The transmission of the report was delayed on account of several factors, in particular:
The difficulty of obtaining information and reports from stakeholders;
The substandard quality of the information and its lack of compliance with the guideline requirements, which led to more work for the drafting and review committees in terms of re-examining the information and checking key sources.
11. We wish here to thank profusely the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and Save the Children for the support which they provided for the successful completion of the reporting process.
B. Follow-up of the implementation of the Committee’s recommendations with respect to the third periodic report
12. In accordance with the recommendations made by the Committee in June 2005, the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, working in coordination with Save the Children Sweden, held a series of consultations with representatives of ministries, governmental institutions, the Yemeni Coordinating Authority for Child Rights NGOs and international organizations (UNICEF and Save the Children Sweden) in order to follow up implementation of the recommendations and observations relating to periodic reports.
13. The recommendations and concluding observations were made widely available to government ministries and stakeholder institutions. They were also transmitted to the governorates and NGOs through official communications to which a copy of the observations was annexed so that they could be reflected in the yearly work plans.
14. The third periodic report was printed in a book containing the Committee’s observations and recommendations, which was circulated and disseminated nationally and in activities implemented at the centralized and decentralized levels.
15. A national workshop was held in September 2005 with the aim of enlisting the help of participants in defining the role of the entities concerned with implementing the concluding observations and recommendations.
16. A working group of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood and ministerial representatives was formed to monitor implementation of the plan and it held a number of meetings to follow up on the efforts of child-related institutions.
17. A report on recommendations implemented in connection with the Convention on the Rights of the Child was compiled in 2006 from the reports of ministries and governmental institutions on that subject. This endeavour was the fruit of the partnership between the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood and Save the Children Sweden in implementing a project called “Together for follow-up of the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child”. The project comprises a set of components and activities designed to strengthen the role of the Supreme Council in following up, together with other stakeholder institutions, the implementation of the Convention by the Yemeni Government.
18. Civil society organizations joined in briefing stakeholders about the Committee’s recommendations through workshops and meetings, and the Children’s Parliament played its part in following up implementation of the Committee’s recommendations by devoting one of its sessions to a discussion with officials about the Government’s efforts on that score and about our country’s level of implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
19. In the following parts of this report, we will examine the legislative, executive, administrative and judicial measures taken at the national level to implement the Convention in general and those taken with respect to the Committee’s concluding observations and recommendations.
II. General measures of implementation
A. Legislative measures
20. In order to strengthen the status of the Convention in national laws, and given the importance of harmonizing domestic legislation with the Convention, the Yemeni Government profited from the Committee’s recommendations concerning the reports submitted in 2000, 2003 and 2006 to undertake a comprehensive review of a number of national laws, in particular:
(1) The Children’s Act No. 45 of 2002;
(2) The Juvenile Welfare Act No. 24 of 1992;
(3) The Military Penal Code No. 21 of 1998;
(4) The Penal Code No. 12 of 1994;
(5) The Personal Status Act No. 20 of 1992;
(6) The Prisons Regulation Act No. 48 of 1991.
21. A committee of legal experts from governmental bodies and NGOs was formed and the services of two experts, one national and one international, were engaged. An advisory meeting was organized with stakeholders from all governorates in order to expand the circle of participation. After a discussion of the national legislation, draft amendments1 were submitted to the Cabinet, which debated and approved them at its meeting held on 5 December 2006 and submitted them to the House of Representatives. The amendments focused on a number of key issues of relevance to children’s rights, including:
The legislative inconsistency concerning the definition of a child;
Issues relating to the protection of children from violence and exploitation, the suppression of female genital mutilation (FGM), early marriage, child labour and juvenile rights;
The introduction of stricter penalties for offenders against children and violators of children’s rights;
The harmonization of national legislation with the international conventions ratified by the Republic of Yemen.
22. The Government also presented to the House of Representatives a number of bills relating to children’s issues, in particular the Public Health Bill, the Safe Maternity Bill and the Labour Bill, all of which were referred to the competent committees of the House of Representatives for consideration and review.