Constitution of the Republic of Palau 1981, as amended to 1992


Citizenship and Nationality

A person who is a citizen of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands immediately prior to the effective date of this Constitution and who has at least one parent of recognized Palauan ancestry is a citizen of Palau. (Art. III, Sec. 1)

Citizenship and Nationality

A person born of parents, one or both of whom are citizens of Palau is a citizen of Palau by birth, and shall remain a citizen of Palau so long as the person is not or does not become a citizen of any other nation. (Art. III, Sec. 2)

Citizenship and Nationality

A citizen of Palau who is a citizen of another nation shall, within three (3) years after his eighteenth (18) birthday, or within three (3) years after the effective date of this Constitution, whichever is later, renounce his citizenship of the other nation and register his intent to remain a citizen of Palau. If he fails to comply with this requirement, he shall be deprived of Palauan citizenship. (Art. III, Sec. 3)

Citizenship and Nationality

A person born of parents, one or both of whom are of recognized Palauan ancestry, shall have the right to enter and reside in Palau and to enjoy other rights and privileges as provided by law, which shall include the right to petition to become a naturalized citizen of Palau; provided, that prior to, becoming a naturalized citizen, a person must renounce his citizenship of another nation. There shall be no citizenship by naturalization except pursuant to this section. (Art. III, Sec 4)

Citizenship and Nationality

The Olbiil Era Kelulau shall adopt uniform laws for admission and exclusion of non-citizens of Palau. (Art. III, Sec. 5)

Citizenship and Nationality

The Olbiil Era Kelulau shall have the following powers:

(4) to regulate immigration and establish a uniform system of naturalization;
… (Art. IX, Sec. 5)

Equality and Non-Discrimination

Every person shall be equal under the law and shall be entitled to equal protection. The government shall take no action to discriminate against any person on the basis of sex, race, place of origin, language, religion or belief, social status or clan affiliation except for the preferential treatment of citizens, for the protection of minors, elderly, indigent, physically or mentally handicapped, and other similar groups, and in matters concerning intestate succession and domestic relations. No person shall be treated unfairly in legislative or executive investigations. (Art. IV, Sec. 5)

Marriage and Family Life

Every person shall be equal under the law and shall be entitled to equal protection. The government shall take no action to discriminate against any person on the basis of sex, race, place of origin, language, religion or belief, social status or clan affiliation except for the preferential treatment of citizens, for the protection of minors, elderly, indigent, physically or mentally handicapped, and other similar groups, and in matters concerning intestate succession and domestic relations. No person shall be treated unfairly in legislative or executive investigations. (Art. IV, Sec. 5)

Marriage and Family Life

The government shall provide for marital and related parental rights, privileges and responsibilities on the basis of equality between men and women, mutual consent and cooperation. Parents or individuals acting in the capacity of parents shall be legally responsible for the support and for the unlawful conduct of their minor children as prescribed by law. (Art. IV, Sec. 13)

Political Rights and Association

The government shall take no action to deny or impair the right of any person to peacefully assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances or to associate with others for any lawful purpose including the right to organize and to bargain collectively. (Art. IV, Sec. 3)

Political Rights and Association

A citizen of Palau eighteen (18) years of age or older may vote in national and state elections. The Olbiil Era Kelulau shall prescribe a minimum period of residence and provide for voter registration for national elections. Each state shall prescribe a minimum period of residence and provide for voter registration for state elections. ... (Art. VII)

Head of State

The President shall be the chief executive of the national government. (Art. VIII, Sec. 1)

Head of State

Any citizen of Palau who is not less than thirty-five (35) years of age and has been a resident of Palau for the five (5) years immediately preceding the election shall be eligible to hold the office of President or Vice President. (Art. VIII, Sec. 3)

Head of State

The President and Vice President shall be elected in a nationwide election for a term of four years. ... (Art. VIII, Sec. 4)

Vice-President

The Vice President shall serve as a member of the cabinet and have such other responsibilities as may be assigned by the President. (Art. VIII, Sec. 2)

Vice-President

Any citizen of Palau who is not less than thirty-five (35) years of age and has been a resident of Palau for the five (5) years immediately preceding the election shall be eligible to hold the office of President or Vice President. (Art. VIII, Sec. 3)

Vice-President

The President and Vice President shall be elected in a nationwide election for a term of four years. ... (Art. VIII, Sec. 4)

Government

The cabinet shall consist of the heads of the major executive departments created by law. The cabinet members shall be appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate and shall serve at the will of the President. No person may serve in a legislature and the cabinet at the same time. (Art. VIII, Sec. 5)

Legislature

The legislative power of Palau shall be vested in the Olbiil Era Kelulau which shall consist of two houses, the House of Delegates and the Senate. (Art. IX, Sec. 1)

Legislature

The House of Delegates shall be composed of one delegate to be popularly elected from each of the states of Palau. The Senate shall be composed of the number of senators prescribed from time to time by the reapportionment commission as provided by law. (Art. IX, Sec. 3)

Legislature

To be eligible to hold office in the Olbiil Era Kelulau, a person must be:
(1) a citizen;
(2) not less than twenty-five (25) years of age;
(3) a resident of Palau for not less-than five (5) years immediately preceding the election; and
(4) a resident of the district in which he wishes to run for office for not less than one (1) year immediately preceding the election. (Art. IX, Sec. 6)

Property, Inheritance and Land Tenure

Every person shall be equal under the law and shall be entitled to equal protection. The government shall take no action to discriminate against any person on the basis of sex, race, place of origin, language, religion or belief, social status or clan affiliation except for the preferential treatment of citizens, for the protection of minors, elderly, indigent, physically or mentally handicapped, and other similar groups, and in matters concerning intestate succession and domestic relations. No person shall be treated unfairly in legislative or executive investigations. (Art. IV, Sec. 5)

Property, Inheritance and Land Tenure

Only citizens of Palau and corporations wholly owned by citizens of Palau may acquire title to land or waters in Palau. (Art. XIII, Sec. 8)

Protection from Violence

Torture, cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment, and excessive fines are prohibited. (Art. IV, Sec. 10)

Protection from Violence

Slavery or involuntary servitude is prohibited except to punish crime. The government shall protect children from exploitation. (Art. IV, Sec. 11)

Protection from Violence

The national government shall take positive action to attain these national objectives and implement these national policies: ... protection of the safety and security of persons and property; … (Art. VI)

Status of the Constitution

This Constitution is the supreme law of the land. (Art. II, Sec. 1)

Status of the Constitution

Any law, act of government, or agreement to which a government of Palau is a party, shall not conflict with this Constitution and shall be invalid to the extent of such conflict. (Art. II, Sec. 2)

Status of the Constitution

The government shall take no action to prohibit or revoke the role or function of a traditional leader as recognized by custom and tradition which is not inconsistent with this Constitution … (Art. V, Sec. 1)

Status of the Constitution

(a) All existing law in force and effect in Palau immediately preceding the effective date of this Constitution shall, subject to the provisions of this Constitution, remain in force and effect until repealed, revoked, amended or until it expires by its own terms.
(b) All rights, interests, obligations, judgments, and liabilities arising under the existing law shall remain in force and effect and shall be recognized, exercised, and enforced accordingly, subject to the provisions of this Constitution. (Art. XV, Sec. 3)

Status of the Constitution

Any provision of this Constitution or a law enacted pursuant to it which is in conflict with the Trusteeship Agreement between the United States of America and the United Nations Security Council shall not become effective until the date of termination of such Trusteeship Agreement. (Art. XV, Sec. 10)

Status of International Law

Any law, act of government, or agreement to which a government of Palau is a party, shall not conflict with this Constitution and shall be invalid to the extent of such conflict. (Art. II, Sec. 2)

Status of International Law

Any provision of this Constitution or a law enacted pursuant to it which is in conflict with the Trusteeship Agreement between the United States of America and the United Nations Security Council shall not become effective until the date of termination of such Trusteeship Agreement. (Art. XV, Sec. 10)

Religious Law

… The government shall not recognize or establish a national religion, but may provide assistance to private or parochial schools on a fair and equitable basis for nonreligious purposes. (Art. IV, Sec. 1)

Customary Law

The government shall take no action to prohibit or revoke the role or function of a traditional leader as recognized by custom and tradition which is not inconsistent with this Constitution, nor shall it prevent a traditional leader from being recognized, honoured, or given formal or functional roles at any level of government. (Art. V, Sec. 1)

Customary Law

Statutes and traditional law shall be equally authoritative. In case of conflict between a statute and a traditional law, the statute shall prevail only to the extent it is not in conflict with the underlying principles of the traditional law. (Art. V, Sec. 2)

Customary Law

A Council of Chiefs composed of a traditional chief from each of the states shall advise the President on matters concerning traditional laws, customs and their relationship to this Constitution and the laws of Palau. No person shall be a member of the Council of Chiefs unless he has been appointed and accepted as a chief in a traditional manner, and is recognized as such by the traditional council of chiefs of his state. No chief shall serve in the Council of Chiefs while serving as a member of the Olbiil Era Kelulau or the cabinet. (Art. VIII, Sec. 6)

Citizenship and Nationality

English

A person who is a citizen of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands immediately prior to the effective date of this Constitution and who has at least one parent of recognized Palauan ancestry is a citizen of Palau. (Art. III, Sec. 1)

Citizenship and Nationality

English

A person born of parents, one or both of whom are citizens of Palau is a citizen of Palau by birth, and shall remain a citizen of Palau so long as the person is not or does not become a citizen of any other nation. (Art. III, Sec. 2)

Citizenship and Nationality

English

A citizen of Palau who is a citizen of another nation shall, within three (3) years after his eighteenth (18) birthday, or within three (3) years after the effective date of this Constitution, whichever is later, renounce his citizenship of the other nation and register his intent to remain a citizen of Palau. If he fails to comply with this requirement, he shall be deprived of Palauan citizenship. (Art. III, Sec. 3)

Citizenship and Nationality

English

A person born of parents, one or both of whom are of recognized Palauan ancestry, shall have the right to enter and reside in Palau and to enjoy other rights and privileges as provided by law, which shall include the right to petition to become a naturalized citizen of Palau; provided, that prior to, becoming a naturalized citizen, a person must renounce his citizenship of another nation. There shall be no citizenship by naturalization except pursuant to this section. (Art. III, Sec 4)

Citizenship and Nationality

English

The Olbiil Era Kelulau shall adopt uniform laws for admission and exclusion of non-citizens of Palau. (Art. III, Sec. 5)

Citizenship and Nationality

English

The Olbiil Era Kelulau shall have the following powers:

(4) to regulate immigration and establish a uniform system of naturalization;
… (Art. IX, Sec. 5)

Equality and Non-Discrimination

English

Every person shall be equal under the law and shall be entitled to equal protection. The government shall take no action to discriminate against any person on the basis of sex, race, place of origin, language, religion or belief, social status or clan affiliation except for the preferential treatment of citizens, for the protection of minors, elderly, indigent, physically or mentally handicapped, and other similar groups, and in matters concerning intestate succession and domestic relations. No person shall be treated unfairly in legislative or executive investigations. (Art. IV, Sec. 5)

Marriage and Family Life

English

Every person shall be equal under the law and shall be entitled to equal protection. The government shall take no action to discriminate against any person on the basis of sex, race, place of origin, language, religion or belief, social status or clan affiliation except for the preferential treatment of citizens, for the protection of minors, elderly, indigent, physically or mentally handicapped, and other similar groups, and in matters concerning intestate succession and domestic relations. No person shall be treated unfairly in legislative or executive investigations. (Art. IV, Sec. 5)

Marriage and Family Life

English

The government shall provide for marital and related parental rights, privileges and responsibilities on the basis of equality between men and women, mutual consent and cooperation. Parents or individuals acting in the capacity of parents shall be legally responsible for the support and for the unlawful conduct of their minor children as prescribed by law. (Art. IV, Sec. 13)

Political Rights and Association

English

The government shall take no action to deny or impair the right of any person to peacefully assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances or to associate with others for any lawful purpose including the right to organize and to bargain collectively. (Art. IV, Sec. 3)

Political Rights and Association

English

A citizen of Palau eighteen (18) years of age or older may vote in national and state elections. The Olbiil Era Kelulau shall prescribe a minimum period of residence and provide for voter registration for national elections. Each state shall prescribe a minimum period of residence and provide for voter registration for state elections. ... (Art. VII)

Head of State

English

The President shall be the chief executive of the national government. (Art. VIII, Sec. 1)

Head of State

English

Any citizen of Palau who is not less than thirty-five (35) years of age and has been a resident of Palau for the five (5) years immediately preceding the election shall be eligible to hold the office of President or Vice President. (Art. VIII, Sec. 3)

Head of State

English

The President and Vice President shall be elected in a nationwide election for a term of four years. ... (Art. VIII, Sec. 4)

Vice-President

English

The Vice President shall serve as a member of the cabinet and have such other responsibilities as may be assigned by the President. (Art. VIII, Sec. 2)

Vice-President

English

Any citizen of Palau who is not less than thirty-five (35) years of age and has been a resident of Palau for the five (5) years immediately preceding the election shall be eligible to hold the office of President or Vice President. (Art. VIII, Sec. 3)

Vice-President

English

The President and Vice President shall be elected in a nationwide election for a term of four years. ... (Art. VIII, Sec. 4)

Government

English

The cabinet shall consist of the heads of the major executive departments created by law. The cabinet members shall be appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate and shall serve at the will of the President. No person may serve in a legislature and the cabinet at the same time. (Art. VIII, Sec. 5)

Legislature

English

The legislative power of Palau shall be vested in the Olbiil Era Kelulau which shall consist of two houses, the House of Delegates and the Senate. (Art. IX, Sec. 1)

Legislature

English

The House of Delegates shall be composed of one delegate to be popularly elected from each of the states of Palau. The Senate shall be composed of the number of senators prescribed from time to time by the reapportionment commission as provided by law. (Art. IX, Sec. 3)

Legislature

English

To be eligible to hold office in the Olbiil Era Kelulau, a person must be:
(1) a citizen;
(2) not less than twenty-five (25) years of age;
(3) a resident of Palau for not less-than five (5) years immediately preceding the election; and
(4) a resident of the district in which he wishes to run for office for not less than one (1) year immediately preceding the election. (Art. IX, Sec. 6)

Property, Inheritance and Land Tenure

English

Every person shall be equal under the law and shall be entitled to equal protection. The government shall take no action to discriminate against any person on the basis of sex, race, place of origin, language, religion or belief, social status or clan affiliation except for the preferential treatment of citizens, for the protection of minors, elderly, indigent, physically or mentally handicapped, and other similar groups, and in matters concerning intestate succession and domestic relations. No person shall be treated unfairly in legislative or executive investigations. (Art. IV, Sec. 5)

Property, Inheritance and Land Tenure

English

Only citizens of Palau and corporations wholly owned by citizens of Palau may acquire title to land or waters in Palau. (Art. XIII, Sec. 8)

Protection from Violence

English

Torture, cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment, and excessive fines are prohibited. (Art. IV, Sec. 10)

Protection from Violence

English

Slavery or involuntary servitude is prohibited except to punish crime. The government shall protect children from exploitation. (Art. IV, Sec. 11)

Protection from Violence

English

The national government shall take positive action to attain these national objectives and implement these national policies: ... protection of the safety and security of persons and property; … (Art. VI)

Status of the Constitution

English

This Constitution is the supreme law of the land. (Art. II, Sec. 1)

Status of the Constitution

English

Any law, act of government, or agreement to which a government of Palau is a party, shall not conflict with this Constitution and shall be invalid to the extent of such conflict. (Art. II, Sec. 2)

Status of the Constitution

English

The government shall take no action to prohibit or revoke the role or function of a traditional leader as recognized by custom and tradition which is not inconsistent with this Constitution … (Art. V, Sec. 1)

Status of the Constitution

English

(a) All existing law in force and effect in Palau immediately preceding the effective date of this Constitution shall, subject to the provisions of this Constitution, remain in force and effect until repealed, revoked, amended or until it expires by its own terms.
(b) All rights, interests, obligations, judgments, and liabilities arising under the existing law shall remain in force and effect and shall be recognized, exercised, and enforced accordingly, subject to the provisions of this Constitution. (Art. XV, Sec. 3)

Status of the Constitution

English

Any provision of this Constitution or a law enacted pursuant to it which is in conflict with the Trusteeship Agreement between the United States of America and the United Nations Security Council shall not become effective until the date of termination of such Trusteeship Agreement. (Art. XV, Sec. 10)

Status of International Law

English

Any law, act of government, or agreement to which a government of Palau is a party, shall not conflict with this Constitution and shall be invalid to the extent of such conflict. (Art. II, Sec. 2)

Status of International Law

English

Any provision of this Constitution or a law enacted pursuant to it which is in conflict with the Trusteeship Agreement between the United States of America and the United Nations Security Council shall not become effective until the date of termination of such Trusteeship Agreement. (Art. XV, Sec. 10)

Religious Law

English

… The government shall not recognize or establish a national religion, but may provide assistance to private or parochial schools on a fair and equitable basis for nonreligious purposes. (Art. IV, Sec. 1)

Customary Law

English

The government shall take no action to prohibit or revoke the role or function of a traditional leader as recognized by custom and tradition which is not inconsistent with this Constitution, nor shall it prevent a traditional leader from being recognized, honoured, or given formal or functional roles at any level of government. (Art. V, Sec. 1)

Customary Law

English

Statutes and traditional law shall be equally authoritative. In case of conflict between a statute and a traditional law, the statute shall prevail only to the extent it is not in conflict with the underlying principles of the traditional law. (Art. V, Sec. 2)

Customary Law

English

A Council of Chiefs composed of a traditional chief from each of the states shall advise the President on matters concerning traditional laws, customs and their relationship to this Constitution and the laws of Palau. No person shall be a member of the Council of Chiefs unless he has been appointed and accepted as a chief in a traditional manner, and is recognized as such by the traditional council of chiefs of his state. No chief shall serve in the Council of Chiefs while serving as a member of the Olbiil Era Kelulau or the cabinet. (Art. VIII, Sec. 6)

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