Constitution of Eritrea 1997


Citizenship and Nationality

1. Any person born of an Eritrean father or mother is an Eritrean by birth.
2. Any foreign citizen may acquire Eritrean citizenship pursuant to law.
3. The details concerning citizenship shall be regulated by law. (Art. 3)

Jurisdiction and Access

1. The Supreme Court shall be the court of last resort; and shall be presided over by the Chief Justice.
2. The Supreme Court shall have:
a. sole jurisdiction of interpreting this Constitution and the constitutionality of any law enacted or any action taken by government;
b. sole jurisdiction of hearing and adjudicating upon charges against a President who has been impeached by the National Assembly pursuant to the provisions of Article 41(6)(a) and (b) hereof; and
c. the power of hearing and adjudicating cases appealed from lower courts pursuant to law.
… (Art. 49)

Employment Rights and Protection

7. Every citizen shall have the right to practice any lawful profession, or engage in any occupation or trade. … (Art. 19)

Employment Rights and Protection

3. Every citizen shall have the right to participate freely in any economic activity and to engage in any lawful business.

5. The National Assembly shall enact laws guaranteeing and securing the social welfare of citizens, the rights and conditions of labor and other rights and responsibilities listed in this Article. (Art. 21)

Equality and Non-Discrimination

… Realizing that in order to build an advanced country, it is necessary that the unity, equality, love for truth and justice, self-reliance, and hard work, which we nurtured during our revolutionary struggle for independence and which helped us to triumph, must become the core of our national values; …
Convinced that the establishment of a democratic order, through the participation of and in response to the needs and interests of citizens, which guarantees the recognition and protection of the rights of citizens, human dignity, equality, balanced development and the satisfaction of the material and spiritual needs of citizens, is the foundation of economic growth, social harmony and progress;
Noting the fact that the Eritrean women's heroic participation in the struggle for independence, human rights and solidarity, based on equality and mutual respect, generated by such struggle will serve as an unshakable foundation for our commitment to create a society in which women and men shall interact on the bases of mutual respect, solidarity and equality. … (Preamble)

Equality and Non-Discrimination

Without consideration to the wording of any provision in this Constitution with reference to gender, all of its articles shall apply equally to both genders. (Art. 5)

Equality and Non-Discrimination

1. All persons are equal under the law.
2. No person may be discriminated against on account of race, ethnic origin, language, colour, gender, religion, disability, age, political view, or social or economic status or any other improper factors.
3. The National Assembly shall enact laws that can assist in eliminating inequalities existing in the Eritrean society. (Art. 14)

Obligations of the State

… Convinced that the establishment of a democratic order, through the participation of and in response to the needs and interests of citizens, which guarantees the recognition and protection of the rights of citizens, human dignity, equality, balanced development and the satisfaction of the material and spiritual needs of citizens, is the foundation of economic growth, social harmony and progress; … (Preamble)

Obligations of the State

2. This Constitution enunciates the principles on which the State is based and by which it shall be guided and determines the organization and operation of government. It is the source of government legitimacy and the basis for the protection of the rights, freedoms and dignity of citizens and of just administration.
… (Art. 2)

Obligations of the State

2. Any act that violates the human rights of women or limits or otherwise thwarts their role and participation is prohibited.
… (Art. 7)

Obligations of the State

1. The National Assembly or any subordinate legislative authority shall not make any law, and the Executive and the agencies of government shall not take any action that abolishes or abridges the fundamental rights and freedoms conferred by this Constitution, unless so authorised by this Constitution. Any law or action in violation thereof shall be null and void.
… (Art. 28)

Obligations of the State

The rights enumerated in this Chapter shall not preclude other rights which ensue from the spirit of this Constitution and the principles of a society based on social justice, democracy and the rule of law. (Art. 29)

Obligations of Private Parties

5. This Constitution shall serve as a basis for instilling constitutional culture and for enlightening citizens to respect fundamental human rights and duties. (Art. 2)

Obligations of Private Parties

All citizens shall have the duty to:

6. respect the rights of others;
… (Art. 25)

Judicial Protection

2. Any aggrieved person who claims that a fundamental right or freedom guaranteed by this Constitution has been denied or violated shall be entitled to petition a competent court for redress. Where it ascertains that such fundamental right or freedom has been denied or violated, the court shall have the power to make all such orders as shall be necessary to secure for such petitioner the enjoyment of such fundamental right or freedom, and where such applicant suffers damage, to include an award of monetary compensation. (Art. 28)

Limitations and/or Derogations

1. The fundamental rights and freedoms guaranteed under this Constitution may be limited only in so far as is in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, health or morals, for the prevention of public disorder or crime or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.
2. Any law providing for the limitation of the fundamental rights and freedoms guaranteed in this Constitution must:
a. be consistent with the principles of democracy and justice;
b. be of general application and not negate the essential content of the right or freedom in question;
c. specify the ascertainable extent of such limitations and identify the article or articles hereof on which authority to enact such limitation is claimed to rest.
3. The provisions of Sub-Article 1 of this Article shall not be used to limit the fundamental rights and freedoms guaranteed under Articles 14(1) and (2); 15;16; 17 (2), (5), (7) and (8); and 19 (1) of this Constitution. (Art. 26)

Limitations and/or Derogations

5. A declaration of a state of emergency or any measures undertaken or laws enacted pursuant to it shall not:
a. suspend Articles 14(1) and (2); 16; 17(2); and 19(1) of the Constitution;
b. grant pardon or amnesty to any person or persons who, acting under the authority of the State, have committed illegal acts; or
c. introduce martial law when there is no external invasion or civil disorder. (Art. 27)

Limitations and/or Derogations

1. The National Assembly or any subordinate legislative authority shall not make any law, and the Executive and the agencies of government shall not take any action that abolishes or abridges the fundamental rights and freedoms conferred by this Constitution, unless so authorised by this Constitution. Any law or action in violation thereof shall be null and void.
… (Art. 28)

Limitations and/or Derogations

The rights enumerated in this Chapter shall not preclude other rights which ensue from the spirit of this Constitution and the principles of a society based on social justice, democracy and the rule of law. (Art. 29)

Marriage and Family Life

2. The State shall encourage values of community solidarity and love and respect of the family.
… (Art. 9)

Marriage and Family Life

1. The family is the natural and fundamental unit of society and is entitled to the protection and special care of the State and society.
2. Men and women of full legal age shall have the right, upon their consent, to marry and to found a family freely, without any discrimination and they shall have equal rights and duties as to all family affairs.
3. Parents have the right and duty to bring up their children with due care and affection; and, in turn, children have the right and the duty to respect their parents and to sustain them in their old age. (Art. 22)

Participation in Public Life and Institutions

2. The State shall, through participation of all citizens, ensure national stability and development by encouraging democratic dialogue and national consensus; and by laying a firm political, cultural and moral foundation of national unity and social harmony.
… (Art. 6)

Participation in Public Life and Institutions

1. It is a fundamental principle of the State of Eritrea to guarantee its citizens broad and active participation in all political, economic, social and cultural life of the country.
2. Any act that violates the human rights of women or limits or otherwise thwarts their role and participation is prohibited.
3. There shall be established appropriate institutions to encourage and develop people's initiative and participation in their communities.
4. Pursuant to the provisions of this Constitution and laws enacted pursuant thereto, all Eritreans, without distinction, are guaranteed equal opportunity to participate in any position of leadership in the country.
… (Art. 7)

Political Rights and Association

1. It is a fundamental principle of the State of Eritrea to guarantee its citizens broad and active participation in all political, economic, social and cultural life of the country.
2. Any act that violates the human rights of women or limits or otherwise thwarts their role and participation is prohibited.

4. Pursuant to the provisions of this Constitution and laws enacted pursuant thereto, all Eritreans, without distinction, are guaranteed equal opportunity to participate in any position of leadership in the country.
… (Art. 7)

Political Rights and Association

6. Every citizen shall have the right to form organisations for political, social, economic and cultural ends. … (Art. 19)

Political Rights and Association

Every citizen who fulfills the requirements of the electoral law shall have the right to vote and to seek elective office. (Art. 20)

Political Rights and Association

1. All Eritrean citizens, of eighteen years of age or more, shall have the right to vote.
2. The National Assembly shall enact an electoral law, which shall ensure the representation and participation of the Eritrean people. (Art. 30)

Electoral Bodies

1. There shall be established an Electoral Commission, operating independently, without interference, which shall, on the basis of the electoral law , ensure that free and fair elections are held and administer their implementation; decide on issues raised in the course of the electoral process; and formulate and implement civic educational programmes relating to elections and other democratic procedures.
… (Art. 58)

Head of State

1. The President of Eritrea is the Head of the State and the Government of Eritrea and the Commander-in-Chief of the Eritrean Defense Forces.
… (Art. 39)

Head of State

Any member of the National Assembly who seeks to be a candidate to the office of the President of Eritrea shall be a citizen of Eritrea by birth. (Art. 40)

Head of State

1. The President shall be elected from amongst the members of the National Assembly by all absolute majority vote of its members. A candidate for the office of the President must be nominated by at least 20 percent vote of all the members of the National Assembly.
… (Art. 41)

Government

1. There shall be a ministerial Cabinet presided over by the President.
2. The President may select ministers from among members of the National Assembly or from among persons who are not members of the National Assembly.
… (Art. 46)

Legislature

1. There shall be a National Assembly which shall be the supreme representative and legislative body.
2. The National Assembly shall be composed of representatives elected by the people.
3. Members of the National Assembly shall be elected by secret ballot of all citizens who are qualified to vote.

6. The qualifications and election of the members of the National Assembly, the conditions for vacating their seats and other related matters shall be determined by law. (Art. 31)

Property, Inheritance and Land Tenure

1. Subject to the provisions of Sub-Article 2 of this Article, any citizen shall have the right, anywhere in Eritrea, to acquire and dispose property, individually or in association with others, and to bequeath the same to his heirs or legatees.
… (Art. 23)

Protection from Violence

1. The dignity of all persons shall be inviolable.
2. No person shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
3. No person shall be held in slavery or servitude nor shall any person be required to perform forced labour not authorised by law. (Art. 16)

Public Institutions and Services

2. The State shall ensure peaceful and stable conditions by establishing appropriate participatory institutions that guarantee and hasten equitable economic and social progress. (Art. 6)

Public Institutions and Services

2. All administrative institutions shall be free from corruption, discrimination and delay in the delivery of efficient and equitable public services. (Art. 11)

Public Institutions and Services

1. Every citizen shall have the right of equal access to publicly funded social services. The State shall endeavor, within the limit of its resources, to make available to all citizens health, education, cultural and other social services.
… (Art. 21)

Public Institutions and Services

1. The family is the natural and fundamental unit of society and is entitled to the protection and special care of the State and society.
... (Art. 22)

Status of the Constitution

… approve and solemnly ratify, through the Constituent Assembly, this Constitution as the fundamental law of our Sovereign and Independent State of Eritrea. (Preamble)

Status of the Constitution

3. This Constitution is the supreme law of the country and the source of all laws of the State, and all laws, orders and acts contrary to its letter and spirit shall be null and void.
4. All organs of the State, all public and private associations and institutions and all citizens shall be bound by and remain loyal to the Constitution and shall ensure its observance.
5. This Constitution shall serve as a basis for instilling constitutional culture and for enlightening citizens to respect fundamental human rights and duties. (Art. 2)

Status of the Constitution

All citizens shall have the duty to:

5. respect and defend the Constitution;
… (Art. 25)

Citizenship and Nationality

English

1. Any person born of an Eritrean father or mother is an Eritrean by birth.
2. Any foreign citizen may acquire Eritrean citizenship pursuant to law.
3. The details concerning citizenship shall be regulated by law. (Art. 3)

Jurisdiction and Access

English

1. The Supreme Court shall be the court of last resort; and shall be presided over by the Chief Justice.
2. The Supreme Court shall have:
a. sole jurisdiction of interpreting this Constitution and the constitutionality of any law enacted or any action taken by government;
b. sole jurisdiction of hearing and adjudicating upon charges against a President who has been impeached by the National Assembly pursuant to the provisions of Article 41(6)(a) and (b) hereof; and
c. the power of hearing and adjudicating cases appealed from lower courts pursuant to law.
… (Art. 49)

Employment Rights and Protection

English

7. Every citizen shall have the right to practice any lawful profession, or engage in any occupation or trade. … (Art. 19)

Employment Rights and Protection

English

3. Every citizen shall have the right to participate freely in any economic activity and to engage in any lawful business.

5. The National Assembly shall enact laws guaranteeing and securing the social welfare of citizens, the rights and conditions of labor and other rights and responsibilities listed in this Article. (Art. 21)

Equality and Non-Discrimination

English

… Realizing that in order to build an advanced country, it is necessary that the unity, equality, love for truth and justice, self-reliance, and hard work, which we nurtured during our revolutionary struggle for independence and which helped us to triumph, must become the core of our national values; …
Convinced that the establishment of a democratic order, through the participation of and in response to the needs and interests of citizens, which guarantees the recognition and protection of the rights of citizens, human dignity, equality, balanced development and the satisfaction of the material and spiritual needs of citizens, is the foundation of economic growth, social harmony and progress;
Noting the fact that the Eritrean women's heroic participation in the struggle for independence, human rights and solidarity, based on equality and mutual respect, generated by such struggle will serve as an unshakable foundation for our commitment to create a society in which women and men shall interact on the bases of mutual respect, solidarity and equality. … (Preamble)

Equality and Non-Discrimination

English

Without consideration to the wording of any provision in this Constitution with reference to gender, all of its articles shall apply equally to both genders. (Art. 5)

Equality and Non-Discrimination

English

1. All persons are equal under the law.
2. No person may be discriminated against on account of race, ethnic origin, language, colour, gender, religion, disability, age, political view, or social or economic status or any other improper factors.
3. The National Assembly shall enact laws that can assist in eliminating inequalities existing in the Eritrean society. (Art. 14)

Obligations of the State

English

… Convinced that the establishment of a democratic order, through the participation of and in response to the needs and interests of citizens, which guarantees the recognition and protection of the rights of citizens, human dignity, equality, balanced development and the satisfaction of the material and spiritual needs of citizens, is the foundation of economic growth, social harmony and progress; … (Preamble)

Obligations of the State

English

2. This Constitution enunciates the principles on which the State is based and by which it shall be guided and determines the organization and operation of government. It is the source of government legitimacy and the basis for the protection of the rights, freedoms and dignity of citizens and of just administration.
… (Art. 2)

Obligations of the State

English

2. Any act that violates the human rights of women or limits or otherwise thwarts their role and participation is prohibited.
… (Art. 7)

Obligations of the State

English

1. The National Assembly or any subordinate legislative authority shall not make any law, and the Executive and the agencies of government shall not take any action that abolishes or abridges the fundamental rights and freedoms conferred by this Constitution, unless so authorised by this Constitution. Any law or action in violation thereof shall be null and void.
… (Art. 28)

Obligations of the State

English

The rights enumerated in this Chapter shall not preclude other rights which ensue from the spirit of this Constitution and the principles of a society based on social justice, democracy and the rule of law. (Art. 29)

Obligations of Private Parties

English

5. This Constitution shall serve as a basis for instilling constitutional culture and for enlightening citizens to respect fundamental human rights and duties. (Art. 2)

Obligations of Private Parties

English

All citizens shall have the duty to:

6. respect the rights of others;
… (Art. 25)

Judicial Protection

English

2. Any aggrieved person who claims that a fundamental right or freedom guaranteed by this Constitution has been denied or violated shall be entitled to petition a competent court for redress. Where it ascertains that such fundamental right or freedom has been denied or violated, the court shall have the power to make all such orders as shall be necessary to secure for such petitioner the enjoyment of such fundamental right or freedom, and where such applicant suffers damage, to include an award of monetary compensation. (Art. 28)

Limitations and/or Derogations

English

1. The fundamental rights and freedoms guaranteed under this Constitution may be limited only in so far as is in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, health or morals, for the prevention of public disorder or crime or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.
2. Any law providing for the limitation of the fundamental rights and freedoms guaranteed in this Constitution must:
a. be consistent with the principles of democracy and justice;
b. be of general application and not negate the essential content of the right or freedom in question;
c. specify the ascertainable extent of such limitations and identify the article or articles hereof on which authority to enact such limitation is claimed to rest.
3. The provisions of Sub-Article 1 of this Article shall not be used to limit the fundamental rights and freedoms guaranteed under Articles 14(1) and (2); 15;16; 17 (2), (5), (7) and (8); and 19 (1) of this Constitution. (Art. 26)

Limitations and/or Derogations

English

5. A declaration of a state of emergency or any measures undertaken or laws enacted pursuant to it shall not:
a. suspend Articles 14(1) and (2); 16; 17(2); and 19(1) of the Constitution;
b. grant pardon or amnesty to any person or persons who, acting under the authority of the State, have committed illegal acts; or
c. introduce martial law when there is no external invasion or civil disorder. (Art. 27)

Limitations and/or Derogations

English

1. The National Assembly or any subordinate legislative authority shall not make any law, and the Executive and the agencies of government shall not take any action that abolishes or abridges the fundamental rights and freedoms conferred by this Constitution, unless so authorised by this Constitution. Any law or action in violation thereof shall be null and void.
… (Art. 28)

Limitations and/or Derogations

English

The rights enumerated in this Chapter shall not preclude other rights which ensue from the spirit of this Constitution and the principles of a society based on social justice, democracy and the rule of law. (Art. 29)

Marriage and Family Life

English

2. The State shall encourage values of community solidarity and love and respect of the family.
… (Art. 9)

Marriage and Family Life

English

1. The family is the natural and fundamental unit of society and is entitled to the protection and special care of the State and society.
2. Men and women of full legal age shall have the right, upon their consent, to marry and to found a family freely, without any discrimination and they shall have equal rights and duties as to all family affairs.
3. Parents have the right and duty to bring up their children with due care and affection; and, in turn, children have the right and the duty to respect their parents and to sustain them in their old age. (Art. 22)

Participation in Public Life and Institutions

English

2. The State shall, through participation of all citizens, ensure national stability and development by encouraging democratic dialogue and national consensus; and by laying a firm political, cultural and moral foundation of national unity and social harmony.
… (Art. 6)

Participation in Public Life and Institutions

English

1. It is a fundamental principle of the State of Eritrea to guarantee its citizens broad and active participation in all political, economic, social and cultural life of the country.
2. Any act that violates the human rights of women or limits or otherwise thwarts their role and participation is prohibited.
3. There shall be established appropriate institutions to encourage and develop people's initiative and participation in their communities.
4. Pursuant to the provisions of this Constitution and laws enacted pursuant thereto, all Eritreans, without distinction, are guaranteed equal opportunity to participate in any position of leadership in the country.
… (Art. 7)

Political Rights and Association

English

1. It is a fundamental principle of the State of Eritrea to guarantee its citizens broad and active participation in all political, economic, social and cultural life of the country.
2. Any act that violates the human rights of women or limits or otherwise thwarts their role and participation is prohibited.

4. Pursuant to the provisions of this Constitution and laws enacted pursuant thereto, all Eritreans, without distinction, are guaranteed equal opportunity to participate in any position of leadership in the country.
… (Art. 7)

Political Rights and Association

English

6. Every citizen shall have the right to form organisations for political, social, economic and cultural ends. … (Art. 19)

Political Rights and Association

English

Every citizen who fulfills the requirements of the electoral law shall have the right to vote and to seek elective office. (Art. 20)

Political Rights and Association

English

1. All Eritrean citizens, of eighteen years of age or more, shall have the right to vote.
2. The National Assembly shall enact an electoral law, which shall ensure the representation and participation of the Eritrean people. (Art. 30)

Electoral Bodies

English

1. There shall be established an Electoral Commission, operating independently, without interference, which shall, on the basis of the electoral law , ensure that free and fair elections are held and administer their implementation; decide on issues raised in the course of the electoral process; and formulate and implement civic educational programmes relating to elections and other democratic procedures.
… (Art. 58)

Head of State

English

1. The President of Eritrea is the Head of the State and the Government of Eritrea and the Commander-in-Chief of the Eritrean Defense Forces.
… (Art. 39)

Head of State

English

Any member of the National Assembly who seeks to be a candidate to the office of the President of Eritrea shall be a citizen of Eritrea by birth. (Art. 40)

Head of State

English

1. The President shall be elected from amongst the members of the National Assembly by all absolute majority vote of its members. A candidate for the office of the President must be nominated by at least 20 percent vote of all the members of the National Assembly.
… (Art. 41)

Government

English

1. There shall be a ministerial Cabinet presided over by the President.
2. The President may select ministers from among members of the National Assembly or from among persons who are not members of the National Assembly.
… (Art. 46)

Legislature

English

1. There shall be a National Assembly which shall be the supreme representative and legislative body.
2. The National Assembly shall be composed of representatives elected by the people.
3. Members of the National Assembly shall be elected by secret ballot of all citizens who are qualified to vote.

6. The qualifications and election of the members of the National Assembly, the conditions for vacating their seats and other related matters shall be determined by law. (Art. 31)

Property, Inheritance and Land Tenure

English

1. Subject to the provisions of Sub-Article 2 of this Article, any citizen shall have the right, anywhere in Eritrea, to acquire and dispose property, individually or in association with others, and to bequeath the same to his heirs or legatees.
… (Art. 23)

Protection from Violence

English

1. The dignity of all persons shall be inviolable.
2. No person shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
3. No person shall be held in slavery or servitude nor shall any person be required to perform forced labour not authorised by law. (Art. 16)

Public Institutions and Services

English

2. The State shall ensure peaceful and stable conditions by establishing appropriate participatory institutions that guarantee and hasten equitable economic and social progress. (Art. 6)

Public Institutions and Services

English

2. All administrative institutions shall be free from corruption, discrimination and delay in the delivery of efficient and equitable public services. (Art. 11)

Public Institutions and Services

English

1. Every citizen shall have the right of equal access to publicly funded social services. The State shall endeavor, within the limit of its resources, to make available to all citizens health, education, cultural and other social services.
… (Art. 21)

Public Institutions and Services

English

1. The family is the natural and fundamental unit of society and is entitled to the protection and special care of the State and society.
... (Art. 22)

Status of the Constitution

English

… approve and solemnly ratify, through the Constituent Assembly, this Constitution as the fundamental law of our Sovereign and Independent State of Eritrea. (Preamble)

Status of the Constitution

English

3. This Constitution is the supreme law of the country and the source of all laws of the State, and all laws, orders and acts contrary to its letter and spirit shall be null and void.
4. All organs of the State, all public and private associations and institutions and all citizens shall be bound by and remain loyal to the Constitution and shall ensure its observance.
5. This Constitution shall serve as a basis for instilling constitutional culture and for enlightening citizens to respect fundamental human rights and duties. (Art. 2)

Status of the Constitution

English

All citizens shall have the duty to:

5. respect and defend the Constitution;
… (Art. 25)

1

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