Country Profile: Yemen

This Country Profile provides a basic overview of the legal history and institutional structures of the Republic of Yemen (Al Jumhuriyah al Yamaniyah), based on research produced by the Library of Congress. Under Yemen’s Constitution, Islamic law (sharīʿa or fiqh) is the primary source of legislation.

Country Background

Yemen is a country located in the Middle East, bordering the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, and the Arabian Sea. Yemen is bounded by Oman and Saudi Arabia. The capital of Yemen is Sanaa. The official language is Arabic. The country’s population in 2017 was approximately 28 million. The official religion of Yemen is Islam. Yemen is a predominantly Muslim country, and about 99% of the population is Muslim (65% of whom are Sunnī and 35% of whom are Shīʿī). Yemen is a member state of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and Arab League.

There is a large refugee population in Yemen. Yemen is the only country in the Arabian Peninsula that has signed international accords governing the protection of refugees. Refugees and asylum seekers living in Yemen are predominantly from Somalia, Iraq, Ethiopia, and Syria. Additionally, hundreds of thousands of Yemenis have been internally displaced due to the ongoing Yemeni Civil War (2015–present).

Constitution & Legal Structure

Before the Yemeni Civil War (2015-present), Yemen was referred to as a parliamentary republic, in which sovereignty belonged to the people and the Constitution was the supreme law of the land. However, at present, the conflict in Yemen has escalated such that there are numerous competing factions and the government system can be best described as “in transition.” The current Constitution was adopted in 1991. While a new Constitution was drawn up in 2015, it remains unofficial due to the ongoing conflict. . . .

Read Yemen’s profile.