Country Report on Human Rights Practices for 1991

In 1991 Mozambique continued to be governed by President
Joaquim Chissano and menibers of the National Front for the
Liberation of Mozambique (FRELIMO) . The secret-ballot,
multiparty elections called for in the 1990 Constitution were
postponed, pending the outcome of peace talks in Rome between
the Government and the insurgent Mozambican National Resistance
(RENAMO). The Government passed legislation in 1991 governing
the new, multiparty system and, by year's end, 14 new political
parties had formed and held public meetings. Only FRELIMO,
though, had officially registered. At its Sixth Party
Congress, FRELIMO formally adopted social democracy as the
party's philosophy, replacing Marxism-Leninism, and held its
first secret-ballot elections for party leadership.
Since the late 1970 's, the Government has been under attack
from RENAMO, which is estimated to have as many as 20,000 men
under arms. Peace talks between the Government and RENAMO
began in mid-1990 under Italian mediation and were still under
way at year's end. Sporadic fighting, however, continued
between the Armed Forces of Mozambic[ue (FAM) and RENAMO in all
of the country's 10 provinces, including attacks on the
outskirts of the capital, Maputo.
The security forces include the 60,000 FAM soldiers, a people's
militia, and, until mid-1991 when it was abolished, the
Mozambican National Security Service (SNASP), which in the past
had been frequently charged with human rights abuses. In
September the President signed legislation creating a new
security force, the State Information and Security Service
(SISE). Several top officials of the former SNASP were
assigned to other government departments. Unlike its
predecessor, the new organization does not have the power to
arrest and detain suspects, and the Government's declared
intent is to limit SISE to legitimate intelligence and security
functions. At year's end, it was too early to evaluate SISE's
human rights record.
Approximately 80 percent of the population is employed in
agriculture, mostly on a small-scale, subsistence level. Major
sources of foreign exchange are seafood and agricultural
products, especially cashews, tea, sugar, and cotton. The
Government continued its efforts to move to a market-oriented
economy, but growth was extremely poor for the second year in a
row. Continued attacks by RENAMO on economic targets severely
hampered production and internal trade; approximately 5 million
people—a third of the nation's population—are thought to be
dependent on international food aid.
Human rights abuses continued in 1991, with the most blatant
arising out of the continuing civil conflict. Widespread
reports detailed massacres directed against civilians,
kidnapings, torture, and looting. RENAMO was responsible for
the vast majority of these atrocities, but government forces
also committed serious abuses. Other major human rights
problems included harsh prison conditions; the use of
arbitrary, incommunicado detention, especially by the SNASP;
incidents of military indiscipline and harassment of civilians;
forced recruitment; and citizens' inability to change their
The new Constitution represented a major step toward
safeguarding basic rights, but it also contains a number of
qualifying clauses which subordinate the new freedoms to
"national security" and "foreign policy interests." By the end
of 1991, it was unclear how the Government would implement key
provisions of the Constitution and a series of new laws enacted
in 1991 governing press, nationality, and labor. However, as
political parties were allowed to form and meet without
government intervention and labor disputes were being aired
publicly, people were increasingly confident and willing to
voice dissenting views, criticize government actions past and
present, and openly challenge FRELIMO/government orthodoxy.
The success of the new Constitution and a multiparty system
will depend heavily on resolution of the conflict with RENAMO,
which has long demanded the establishment of a multiparty
system but denounced the Government's unilateral implementation
of the Constitution and legislation on political parties.
Section 1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including
Freedom from
      a. Political and Other Extrajudicial Killing
There were no known or suspected cases of the Government
targeting persons for political killings in 1991. Both sides
were responsible for the deaths of civilians in the course of
the civil war, with the great majority of the killings
attributed to RENAMO forces (see Section l.g.).
      b. Disappearance
There were no reports of government-perpetrated
disappearances. However, thousands are missing due to the
conflict, often as a result of kidnapings in areas affected by
the war. RENAMO, in particular, regularly holds civilians
against their will, often employing them as porters or forcibly
impressing them into their military forces.
c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading
Treatment of Punishment
The new Constitution expressly prohibits torture. During the
prosecution of the war, however, both government and RENAMO
forces tortured prisoners and civilians. There were numerous
reports that government troops and security personnel beat and
extorted money from civilians. Several soldiers were convicted
for such crimes in 1991 and sentenced to prison terms, fines,
and expulsion from the armed services. RENAMO 's attacks on
civilians continued unabated in 1991. According to many
reports, RENAMO beat and mutilated people and forced family
members to witness or participate in the torture of their
relatives. Former RENAMO soldiers claimed that threats of
beating, torture, and execution were used to keep coerced
recruits from escaping.
Prison conditions remained very poor. For example, the local
press reported three persons in the Beira jail died in July as
a result of diseases caused by contaminated food; further, the
jail, which has a capacity for 70 inmates, was holding 216 at
one point. Since 1988 the Government has allowed international
human rights groups access to prisons where national security
prisoners (mainly RENAMO soldiers and sympathizers) are held,
both those already convicted and those awaiting trial. In past
years, there were reliable reports of torture, including
beatings, submersion in water, deprivation of food and sleep,
and prolonged isolation. It is not known to what extent these
cJbuses occurred in 1991, but instances of torture by security
police have reportedly declined sharply since 1988.
      d. Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile
The law requires that most detainees be charged or released
within 30 days. However, persons accused of the most serious
crimes, i.e., security offenses or those requiring a sentence
of more than 8 years, may be detained for up to 84 days without
being formally charged or investigated. With court approval,
such detainees may then be held for two additional periods of
84 days while the police complete their investigation. While
detained persons have the constitutional right to counsel and
to contact relatives or friends, this right is often not
respected. In some cases, detainees may be released from
prison while the investigation proceeds, but the bail system in
Mozambicjue remains ill-defined. The law provides that if the
prescribed period for investigation has been completed and no
charges have been brought, the detainee must be released. In
practice, however, this law is often ignored, in part because
of the severe lack of administrative personnel and trained
lawyers to monitor the judicial system, and in part because
citizens are often unaware of their rights, particularly those
granted under the new Constitution, and do not demand them. As
a result, there continued to be throughout 1991 a large backlog
of prisoners awaiting trial, despite reported government
efforts to speed up pretrial investigations. Detainees often
spend many months, even years, in pretrial status.
The SNASP, abolished in September, had broad powers to arrest
persons accused of political and economic crimes against the
State, such as espionage or sabotage. It often used these
powers arbitrarily, mainly against anyone suspected of
sympathizing with RENAMO, and held detainees indefinitely,
often incommunicado. Its successor, the SISE, no longer has
this power. In theory, security detainees now have the same
legal rights as ordinary criminal detainees.
The number of political detainees awaiting trial, as
distinguished from those who had been convicted, was unknown at
year's end. There were an estimated 700 security prisoners at
the end of 1990; that figure was thought to be lower in 1991,
though no concrete data were available. It is unknown how many
of these were awaiting trial. Most of those being held are
accused of sympathizing with, or committing crimes on behalf
In June and July, 21 persons were arrested for allegedly
attempting to overthrow the Government. Two of the suspects
were released shortly after their arrest, and three more were
released in September for lack of evidence. The Attorney
General said the State would ensure a fair and legal trial.
The new Constitution expressly prohibits the expulsion of any
Mozambican citizen.
      e. Denial of Fair Public Trial
Mozambique has two complementary justice systems: the
civil/criminal, which includes customary courts, and the
military justice system, both under the administration of the
Ministry of Justice. At the apex of both systems is the
Supreme Court. Military courts, including brigade courts and
provincial military courts for specified military-related
crimes, are administered jointly with the Ministry of Defense.
Crimes committed by senior military officials are handled
directly by the Supreme Court. Appeals, including military
cases, may be made to the Supreme Court, where two judges are
designated to handle military matters.
Since the establishment of the Supreme Court in 1988 and the
abolition of the Revolutionary Military Tribunal, persons
accused of crimes against the State are tried in common
civilian courts under standard criminal judicial procedures.
For example, persons arrested in July for allegedly attempting
to overthrow the Government are being tried in civilian
courts. Although all accused persons are in theory presumed
innocent and have the right to legal counsel and the right of
appeal, these rights are not always applied. A judge may order
a trial closed because of national security interests or to
protect the privacy of the plaintiff in cases concerning rape.
Trials in the regular civil and criminal court system are
generally public and fair, but the entire process suffers
severely from the Government's inability to reduce a large
backlog of cases.
In addition to the regular courts at the provincial and
district levels, there are customary courts at the local level
which handle matters such as estate and divorce cases. The
proceedings are usually conducted in public by a trained
representative of the Ministry of Justice, assisted by two or
four popularly elected lay judges instructed to exercise common
sense and to apply locally accepted principles.
The 1990 Constitution establishes an independent judiciary and
provides for the selection of judges by other jurists,
replacing the prior system of administratively appointed
justices. Under the new Constitution, the President appoints
seven members of the Supreme Court, including the Chief Justice
and Assistant Chief Justice, from career jurists. An
additional 9 to 18 "citizen judges" are elected by the National
Assembly. The practical impact of these and projected changes
on the independence of the judiciary remains to be tested.
Several of the new political parties continued to maintain that
the Government was still holding political prisoners as well as
operating reeducation camps, although no new evidence emerged
in 1991 to support those claims. The Government continued to
deny the charges and said that all political prisoners have
either been granted amnesty, pardoned, or were dead.
f . Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or
Despite provisions for privacy in the new Constitution, in
areas of active insurgency homes are entered at will by
security and police forces. Civilians living in these areas
are often forced to move to government-protected villages. The
population concentrated in the secure villages suffers from
malnutrition, disease, and high mortality rates.
It is widely assumed that surveillance devices are employed to
monitor local and international telecommunications systems and
that mail is periodically inspected, even though the new
Constitution expressly prohibits such surveillance.
      g. Use of Excessive Force and Violations of Humanitarian Law in Internal Conflicts
Both government (FAM) and RENAMO forces were again responsible
for violations of humanitarian law in 1991, although RENAMO
abuses continued to be much more widespread and systematic.
Attacks against civilians were reported frequently, and, given
the remoteness of much of the countryside, many more attacks
undoubtedly went unreported. Since it began in the late
1970 's, the conflict is estimated to have cost approximately
500,000 lives and left millions of Mozambicans homeless and
living on the edge of starvation.
There is no estimate of the number of killings in 1991 by
government forces, but there have been credible reports,
including allegations by refugees, of abuses by government
forces. According to press and eyewitness reports, government
soldiers regularly attacked residents of Matola-Rio, killing
and torturing many persons and looting property. In another
incident, security forces shot into a crowd of citizens during
a protest in Sofala province over the payment of salaries,
wounding three adults and killing a child. There were also
numerous complaints of forced recruitment by government troops.
Senior officials repeatedly urged the security and military
forces to respect the population, and in some cases legal
charges were brought against undisciplined soldiers. In one
such case, a military court sentenced two officers to 12 and 15
years in prison, respectively, for killing a civilian accused
of being involved with RENAMO. In 1991, 66 police were brought
before an internal commission of the police department for
crimes ranging from attacks on citizens to theft. According to
the Government, 46 of these police had been disciplined or
expelled from the force. The others were still being
Atrocities by RENAMO are well documented; the rebel group
continued to execute or kidnap noncombatants after attacks on
villages, often hacking or burning people to death and later
displaying body parts, apparently to intimidate would-be
resisters. For example, such atrocities were widely reported
in national and international media after RENAMO overran the
the town of Lalaua in Nampula province in August. There were
numerous other such abuses during the year. RENAMO also
continued to forcibly impress civilians, including children,
and to attack relief convoys, health workers, and clinics. By
year's end, allegations of armed attacks by both RENAMO and FAM
on refugee camps in Malawi were a growing concern.
Section 2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:
      a. Freedom of Speech and Press
The new Constitution provides for freedom of expression and the
press, but it also permits the Government to restrict these
freedoms for various reasons, including national defense
considerations. The new press law holds that, in cases of
defamation against the President or ambassadors accredited to
Mozambique, truth is not a sufficient defense. Criticism of
these persons, however, is not prohibited. In practice, there
was increased freedom of speech with the advent of several new
political parties. Some political opposition leaders voiced
harsh public criticism of the one-party political system, and
there was more open discussion within FRELIMO at its party
There is no formal prior press censorship in Mozambique.
However, many journalists have stated that they are held to
unwritten and sometimes vague guidelines by their media
directors, who are, in turn, appointed by the Government. The
journalists claim that this encouraged self-censorship.
In general, press freedom improved in 1991. According to media
sources, official interference was almost nonexistent by year's
end. The media ran stories on corruption, official
incompetence, and incidents of military and police abuse of the
civilian population. Journalists stated publicly that they had
received death threats from the military to stop stories on
army press-ganging but were apparently not intimidated and
continued to report the story. Editorials and commentaries
rarely criticized FRELIMO and never directly criticized the
President. However, the press reported, in full and without
penalty, strong criticism of FRELIMO and the Government by the
new political parties.
All mass media, including radio and television, are owned by
the Government, except for one privately owned newsmagazine.
The National Organization of Mozambican Journalists declared
its independence from FRELIMO in 1991. It lobbied vigorously
for a less restrictive press environment and pressed the
Government for a liberal interpretation of the new press law.
This new law permits private media and allows private
investment in state-owned media. Foreign journalists are
welcome, and foreign radio broadcasts and television are
received without interference.
No formal restrictions on academic freedom exist, but in
practice teachers are subject to the same self-censorship as
the media.
      b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association
The Constitution provides for freedom of assembly and
association. Legislation enacted in 1991 set up guidelines for
registering as a political party, as well as for holding public
demonstrations (see Section 3). Opposition political groups
met during the year and held congresses and press conferences
with no government interference.
While the requirements for holding public demonstrations are
not onerous, the Government's overly strict application of the
rules made it difficult for some groups to exercise this
right. The Government halted or prohibited several public
demonstrations on technical grounds. Some FRELIMO party
officials have defended this approach, insisting that security
concerns take precedence over freedom of assembly.
      c. Freedom of Religion
Both the original and the new Constitutions mandate strict
separation of church and state and provide for the freedom to
"practice or not practice a religion." The Government does not
require religious organizations or missionaries to register,
and foreign missionaries are readily granted visas. The new
Constitution gives religious institutions the right to own
property and allows private entities, including presumably
religious institutions, to operate schools.
Relations between the Government and religious organizations,
tense in the early years after independence, continued to
improve in 1991. The Government agreed in principle to return
many properties expropriated from religious organizations in
the post independence period, and some property was returned in
      d. Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation
The new Constitution provides for freedom to travel within the
country and abroad and prohibits exile or revocation of
Mozambican citizenship for political reasons. The Government
no longer requires citizens to obtain permits from local
authorities in order to travel throughout the country.
Citizens in insecure areas are often forced to move to
governnient-protected villages.
Given the civil conflict, there are few refugees from other
countries in Mozambique. At the end of 1991, only 358 refugees
received assistance from the United Nations High Commissioner
for Refugees (UNHCR) with the full cooperation of the
Government. There were no reported cases in which refugees
were forced to return to countries where they have a
well-founded fear of persecution.
There are an estimated 1.4 million internally displaced people,
living mainly in displaced persons camps scattered throughout
the country. In these camps, they receive emergency aid from
the Government and from the international community. Over 1.5
million Mozambicans have left their homes for refuge in
neighboring countries. Over half have gone to Malawi, others
to South Africa, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Zambia, and Swaziland.
The Government readily accepts and aids repatriates; in recent
years, an estimated 234,000 have returned on their own
initiative, or through UNHCR voluntary repatriation programs
coordinated with neighboring governments. Outflow, however,
still exceeds repatriations.
Section 3 Respect for Political Rights: The Right of Citizens
to Change Their Government
Citizens did not have the ability to change their government in
1991. Although the 1990 Constitution provides for multiparty
elections, RENAMO and most of the new opposition parties
indicated that they would, not participate in elections before a
political settlement was reached to end the longstanding civil
war. Consequently, the Government postponed national elections
indefinitely pending the outcome of the Rome peace talks with
RENAMO, at which issues related to the holding of future
multiparty elections were also being discussed. An accord
reached in Rome in November altered several aspects of the
political parties law passed by the Government in 1991 but
preserved the commitment to hold early elections.
The post independence single-party constitution established a
system that effectively allowed the President, the FRELIMO
Politburo, and the Council of Ministers to control policymaking
and implementation. The new Constitution officially ended the
leading role of the FRELIMO party, although the
FRELIMO-dominated Government will remain in office pending new
elections. The new Constitution calls for a strong presidency,
but it also strengthens the legislature by allowing a
two-thirds majority to override what is essentially a
presidential veto. It also provides for eventual
constitutional review of legislation by the Supreme Court.
The Constitution provides for an unlimited number of political
parties. Under the political parties law promulgated in 1991,
a legally recognized political party must demonstrate that it
has no racial, ethnic, or religious exclusiveness and must
demonstrate support in all provinces. (The November accord on
political parties law would eliminate this latter
recjuirement . ) Fourteen different parties had formally
announced their formation by the end of 1991; only FRELIMO,
though, had officially registered.
The success of the new Constitution and a multiparty system
will depend heavily on RENAMO's intentions. While RENAMO has
long demanded the establishment of a multiparty system in
Mozambique, it denounced the Government's unilateral
implementation of the new Constitution and legislation on
political parties.
Section 4 Governmental Attitude Regarding International and
Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged violations
of Human Rights
There are no local organizations that monitor human rights
abuses, although there are no legal obstacles to the formation
of such groups. The Government is receptive, however, to some
international human rights monitoring groups. The
International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) maintains
offices in Maputo and Beira, but its relations with the
Government suffered in 1991 following the discovery of military
and police uniforms in an ICRC donation shipment. The
Government accused the ICRC of providing uniforms to RENAMO,
which the ICRC denied. By the end of the year, however, the
matter had subsided, and relations were improving.
Section 5 Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, Language, or Social Status
The Constitution prohibits such discrimination, and there does
not appear to be any systematic persecution on the basis of
ethnicity or race. Nonetheless, the FRELIMO Government has
tended to include at all levels a disproportionate number of
southerners, mostly from the Shangana ethnic group. White,
Asian, and mixed-race Mozambicans are also heavily represented
relative to their numbers in the population. This is not the
case, however, in the military where no whites and few
mixed-race Mozambicans serve. Most observers, both Mozambican
and foreign, believe that ethnic imbalance in governmental
positions results from the greater educational opportunities
available to southerners and nonblacks under the former
colonial administration and not from deliberate government
policies. During its Sixth Congress in August, FRELIMO
broadened the regional and ethnic base of the party by creating
slates of candidates for the Central Committee from all
Racial issues figured in political debates in 1991. During the
discussion over the new nationality law, several National
Assembly members argued that Mozambican citizenship should be
limited to persons of black Mozambican origin, excluding
whites, Indians, and mixed races; the final legislation did
not, however, adopt that definition. Some of the new political
parties also played on racial themes as they worked to define
themselves. During its party congress, the Liberal Party of
Mozambique (PALMO) attacked the role of whites and mixed races
in the Government and the economy, though it publicly retreated
from these statements later.
The leadership of the RENAMO insurgents is predominantly from
the Shona-speaking ethnic groups who live near the Zimbabwean
border. There is no indication that the conflict between the
Government and RENAMO is primarily motivated by ethnicity,
although ethnic and regional factors may play some role, and
tribal factors may explain some of the violence. Historical
accident appears to be responsible for the ethnic composition
of the RENAMO leadership; the Shona was the group culturally
and geographically most accessible to the Rhodesian
intelligence organization, which established the forerunner to
RSIAMO in the late 1970 's. Since then RENAMO has recruited
from all ethnic groups and has not emphasized ethnic issues in
its corranuniques or in its negotiating positions.
The new Constitution forbids discrimination on the basis of sex
and mandates eqfual rights and responsibilities for women.
Family law requires that women have equal property rights and
rights over the children in any marriage. In practice, women
are under represented in the professions and in educational
institutions at all levels. Over 80 percent of Mozambican
women are peasant farmers, and most have had little education
or access to good health care. Mozambique has one of the
highest maternal mortality rates in the world. The
Organization of Mozambican Women (OMM) has made a long-term
project of studying the traditional practices of the various
ethnic groups and challenging, through grassroots educational
progreims, those practices believed detrimental to women.
FRELIMO made a concerted effort to increase the representation
of women in the party, electing in 1991 a Central Committee
with a 35-percent female membership.
According to medical and other sources, violence against women,
especially wife beating, is fairly widespread in Mozambique,
especially in rural areas. The police do not normally
intervene in domestic disputes, and cases are rarely brought
before the courts. The Government has not addressed the issue
specifically, and its influence is weak, especially in many
rural areas affected by the war. The OMM is campaigning to
change pviblic attitudes on violence against women and other
practices, such as female circumcision and bride-price
payments, which continue in some rural areas. Female
circumcision is found most frequently in coastal areas,
particularly among Muslim groups.
 Section 6 Worker Rights
      a. The Right of Association
The 1990 Constitution specifies that all workers are free to
join or not join a trade union. A new labor law passed in
December further protects workers' rights to organize and to
engage in union activity at their place of employment.
However, at the end of 1991, all trade unions were still
incorporated into a central labor union confederation, the
Organization of Mozambican Workers (OTM), which was loosely •
affiliated with the FRELIMO party until late 1990, when it
declared itself independent. In late 1991, the Assembly
approved legislation clarifying the right of labor groups to
form independent trade unions. By the end of 1991, no other
independent unions had yet been formed.
For the first time, the new Constitution explicitly provides
for the right to strike, though it restricts this right for
government employees, police, military personnel, and employees
of other essential services. Following the wave of wildcat
Strikes in 1990, the Government introduced a set of provisional
guidelines which have the effect of delaying strikes but which
nevertheless conferred de facto recognition on ad hoc labor
committees to act as independent negotiating units in place of
OTM. These guidelines require prior notice of strike activity,
exhaustion of other alternatives, presentation of a list of
demands, and appointment of a negotiating committee. According
to government reports, strikers in several subsequent walkouts
adhered to the guidelines. However, in 1991 there was much
confusion regarding the Government's interpretation of the
provisional guidelines, the new labor law, and the right to
During 1991 wildcat strikes continued in several sectors,
though with less frequency than in 1990. Strikers continued to
rely on ad hoc committees to press their demands rather than on
the OTM leadership with its close ties to the Government and
FRELIMO. While the new OTM leadership hoped to convince labor
of its new independent role, at the end of 1991 many OTM
leaders continued to hold prominent positions in FRELIMO.
Strikers in several industries were able to win their demands
from management, though a strike among air traffic controllers
dragged on throughout the year, with the Government taking an
ambivalent position.
The Constitution and labor legislation guarantee unions the
right to join and participate in international bodies. The OTM
is not affiliated with any non-African international trade
union organization; it is a member of the Organization of
African Trade Union Unity and the Southern African Trade Union
Coordinating Council.
      b. The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively
The new labor law protects workers' rights to organize and to
engage in collective bargaining. It expressly prohibits
discrimination against organized labor. In late 1991, the
Government decreed that it would no longer set all salary
levels. Negotiating wage increases was left in the hands of
the existing unions. Though some unions have begun the process
of negotiating new wage levels, it is too early to tell how
successful they will be or whether they will be able to gain
the confidence of workers. During most of 1991, workers chose
to bargain with employers through legally recognized ad hoc
committees, with mixed results. The law requires Government
arbitration if labor and management fail to reach agreement.
There are currently no export processing zones in Mozambique.
      c. Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor
Forced or compulsory labor is prohibited by law, and there have
been no reports of such labor practices by the Government.
RENAMO reportedly forces kidnaped civilians to perform various
support functions, including porter ing arms and supplies and
growing food for combatants. There were also reports of forced
conscription by the FAM.
      d. Minimum Age for Employment of Children
Child labor is regulated by the Ministry of Labor. In the wage
economy the minimum working age is 16. Because of high adult
unemployment, there are few children in regular wage
positions. However, children commonly work on family farms or
in the urban informal sector, where they perform such tasks as
watching cars or collecting scrap metal. In addition, many
children are kidnaped by RENAMO and forced to serve as soldiers
or laborers for the rebels.
      e. Acceptable Conditions of Work
The Ministry of Labor enforces minimum wage rates in the
private sector. Public sector rates are enforced by the
Ministry of Finance. Violations of minimum wage rates are
usually investigated only after workers register a complaint.
It is customary for workers to receive benefits such as
transportation and food. The minimum wage is not adequate to
sustain an average urban worker's family. Workers must turn to
second jobs, if available, as well as work garden plots to
survive. An estimated 80 percent of the work force is engaged
in subsistence agriculture, which is not covered by minimum
wage legislation. The standard legal workweek is 44 hours.
In the small, modern sector, the Government has enacted health
and environmental laws to protect workers. On occasion, the
Government has closed firms for noncompliance with these laws,
but enforcement by the Ministry of Labor is irregular,
particularly under current economic conditions.