Constitution of the Republic of Vanuatu 1980, as amended to 1983


Affirmative Action (Broadly)

(1) The Republic of Vanuatu recognises, that, subject to any restrictions imposed by law on non-citizens, all persons are entitled to the following fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual without discrimination on the grounds of race, place of origin, religious or traditional beliefs, political opinions, language or sex but subject to respect for the rights and freedoms of others and to the legitimate public interest in defence, safety, public order, welfare and health –

(k) equal treatment under the law or administrative action, except that no law shall be inconsistent with this sub-paragraph insofar as it makes provision for the special benefit, welfare, protection or advancement of females, children and young persons, members of under-privileged groups or inhabitants of less developed areas.
… (Art. 5)

Citizenship and Nationality

On the Day of Independence the following persons shall automatically become citizens of Vanuatu –
(a) a person who has or had four grandparents who belong to a tribe or community indigenous to Vanuatu; and
(b) a person of ni-Vanuatu ancestry who has no citizenship, nationality or the status of an optant. (Art. 9)

Citizenship and Nationality

Every person who on the Day of Independence is a person of ni-Vanuatu ancestry and has the nationality or citizenship of a foreign state or the status of an optant shall become a citizen of Vanuatu if he makes an application, or an application is made on his behalf by his parent or lawful guardian, within 3 months of the Day of Independence or such longer period as Parliament may prescribe. The Vanuatu citizenship of such a person shall automatically lapse if he has not renounced his other citizenship or nationality within 3 months of the granting of Vanuatu citizenship or such longer period as Parliament may prescribe, except that in the case of a person under the age of 18 years the period of renunciation shall be 3 months after he has reached the age of 18 years. (Art. 10)

Citizenship and Nationality

Anyone born after the Day of Independence, whether in Vanuatu or abroad, shall become a citizen of Vanuatu if at least one of his parents is a citizen of Vanuatu. (Art. 11)

Citizenship and Nationality

A national of a foreign state or a stateless person may apply to be naturalised as a citizen of Vanuatu if he has lived continuously in Vanuatu for at least 10 years immediately before the date of the application.
Parliament may prescribe further conditions of the eligibility to apply for naturalisation and shall provide for the machinery to review and decide on applications for naturalisation. (Art. 12)

Citizenship and Nationality

The Republic of Vanuatu does not recognise dual nationality. Any citizen of Vanuatu who is or becomes a citizen of another state shall cease to be a citizen of Vanuatu unless he renounces that other citizenship within 3 months of acquiring Vanuatu citizenship or that other citizenship, as the case may be, or such longer period as Parliament may prescribe, except that in the case of a person under the age of 18 years the period of renunciation shall be 3 months after he has reached the age of 18 years. (Art. 13)

Citizenship and Nationality

Parliament may make provision for the acquisition of citizenship of Vanuatu by persons not covered in the preceding Articles of this Chapter and may make provision for the deprivation and renunciation of citizenship of Vanuatu. (Art. 14)

Jurisdiction and Access

(1) Anyone who considers that a provision of the Constitution has been infringed in relation to him may, without prejudice to any other legal remedy available to him, apply to the Supreme Court for redress.
(2) The Supreme Court has jurisdiction to determine the matter and to make such order as it considers appropriate to enforce the provisions of the Constitution.
(3) When a question concerning the interpretation of the Constitution arises before a subordinate court, and the court considers that the question concerns a fundamental point of law, the court shall submit the question to the Supreme Court for its determination. (Art. 53)

Jurisdiction and Access

The jurisdiction to hear and determine any question as to whether a person has been validly elected as a member of Parliament, the National Council of Chiefs, and a Local Government Council or whether he has vacated his seat or has become disqualified to hold it shall vest in the Supreme Court. (Art. 54)

Education

Every person has the following fundamental duties to himself and his descendants and to others –

(h) in the case of a parent, to support, assist and educate all his children, legitimate and illegitimate, and in particular to give them a true understanding of their fundamental rights and duties and of the national objectives and of the culture and customs of the people of Vanuatu;
… (Art. 7)

Equality and Non-Discrimination

(1) The Republic of Vanuatu recognises, that, subject to any restrictions imposed by law on non-citizens, all persons are entitled to the following fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual without discrimination on the grounds of race, place of origin, religious or traditional beliefs, political opinions, language or sex but subject to respect for the rights and freedoms of others and to the legitimate public interest in defence, safety, public order, welfare and health –

(d) protection of the law;

(k) equal treatment under the law or administrative action, except that no law shall be inconsistent with this sub-paragraph insofar as it makes provision for the special benefit, welfare, protection or advancement of females, children and young persons, members of under-privileged groups or inhabitants of less developed areas.
… (Art. 5)

Obligations of the State

(1) The Republic of Vanuatu recognises, that, subject to any restrictions imposed by law on non-citizens, all persons are entitled to the following fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual without discrimination on the grounds of race, place of origin, religious or traditional beliefs, political opinions, language or sex but subject to respect for the rights and freedoms of others and to the legitimate public interest in defence, safety, public order, welfare and health –
(a) life;
(b) liberty;
(c) security of the person;
(d) protection of the law;
(e) freedom from inhuman treatment and forced labour;
(f) freedom of conscience and worship;
(g) freedom of expression;
(h) freedom of assembly and association;
(i) freedom of movement;
(j) protection for the privacy of the home and other property and from unjust deprivation of property;
(k) equal treatment under the law or administrative action, except that no law shall be inconsistent with this sub-paragraph insofar as it makes provision for the special benefit, welfare, protection or advancement of females, children and young persons, members of under-privileged groups or inhabitants of less developed areas.
… (Art. 5)

Obligations of Private Parties

(1) The Republic of Vanuatu recognises, that, subject to any restrictions imposed by law on non-citizens, all persons are entitled to the following fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual without discrimination on the grounds of race, place of origin, religious or traditional beliefs, political opinions, language or sex but subject to respect for the rights and freedoms of others and to the legitimate public interest in defence, safety, public order, welfare and health –
(a) life;
(b) liberty;
(c) security of the person;
(d) protection of the law;
(e) freedom from inhuman treatment and forced labour;
(f) freedom of conscience and worship;
(g) freedom of expression;
(h) freedom of assembly and association;
(i) freedom of movement;
(j) protection for the privacy of the home and other property and from unjust deprivation of property;
(k) equal treatment under the law or administrative action, except that no law shall be inconsistent with this sub-paragraph insofar as it makes provision for the special benefit, welfare, protection or advancement of females, children and young persons, members of under-privileged groups or inhabitants of less developed areas.
… (Art. 5)

Obligations of Private Parties

Every person has the following fundamental dutiesto himself and his descendants and to others –


(f) to respect the rights and freedoms of others and to cooperate fully with others in the interests of interdependence and solidarity;
… (Art. 7)

Judicial Protection

(1) Anyone who considers that any of the rights guaranteed to him by the Constitution has been, is being or is likely to be infringed may, independently of any other possible legal remedy, apply to the Supreme Court to enforce that right.
(2) The Supreme Court may make such orders, issue such writs and give such directions, including the payment of compensation, as it considers appropriate to enforce the right. (Art. 6)

National Human Rights Bodies

(1) The Ombudsman may enquire into the conduct of any person or body to which this Article applies –
(a) upon receiving a complaint from a member of the public (or, if for reasons of incapacity, from his representative or a member of his family) who claims to have been the victim of an injustice as a result of particular conduct;
(b) at the request of a Minister, a member of Parliament, of the National Council of Chiefs or of a Local Government Council; or
(c) of his own initiative.
(2) This Article shall apply to all public servants, public authorities and ministerial departments, with the exception of the President of the Republic, the Judicial Service Commission, the Supreme Court and other judicial bodies.
(3) The Ombudsman may request any Minister, public servant, administrator, authority concerned or any person likely to assist him, to furnish him with information and documents needed for his enquiry.
… (Art. 62)

Indigenous Peoples

Any indigenous Vanuatu citizen qualified to be elected to Parliament shall be eligible for election as President of the Republic. (Art. 35)

Indigenous Peoples

All land in the Republic of Vanuatu belongs to the indigenous custom owners and their descendants. (Art. 73)

Indigenous Peoples

Only indigenous citizens of the Republic of Vanuatu who have acquired their land in accordance with a recognised system of land tenure shall have perpetual ownership of their land. (Art. 75)

Indigenous Peoples

(1) Notwithstanding Articles 73 and 74 the Government may buy land from custom owners for the purpose of transferring ownership of it to indigenous citizens or indigenous communities from over-populated islands.
(2) When redistributing land in accordance with subarticle (1), the Government shall give priority to ethnic, linguistic, customary and geographical ties. (Art. 81)

Limitations and/or Derogations

(1) The Republic of Vanuatu recognises, that, subject to any restrictions imposed by law on non-citizens, all persons are entitled to the following fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual without discrimination on the grounds of race, place of origin, religious or traditional beliefs, political opinions, language or sex but subject to respect for the rights and freedoms of others and to the legitimate public interest in defence, safety, public order, welfare and health –
(a) life;
(b) liberty;
(c) security of the person;
(d) protection of the law;
(e) freedom from inhuman treatment and forced labour;
(f) freedom of conscience and worship;
(g) freedom of expression;
(h) freedom of assembly and association;
(i) freedom of movement;
(j) protection for the privacy of the home and other property and from unjust deprivation of property;
(k) equal treatment under the law or administrative action, except that no law shall be inconsistent with this sub-paragraph insofar as it makes provision for the special benefit, welfare, protection or advancement of females, children and young persons, members of under-privileged groups or inhabitants of less developed areas.
… (Art. 5)

Limitations and/or Derogations

(1) Subject to subarticle (2) regulations made by the Council of Ministers in accordance with Article 693 shall have effect notwithstanding the provisions of Chapter 2, Part I4except that no regulation shall –
(a) derogate from the right to life and the freedom from inhuman treatment and forced labour; and
(b) make provision for the detention of a person without trial for more than 1 month unless such person is an enemy alien.
(2) Regulations made by the Council of Ministers in accordance with Article 69 shall be such as are reasonably necessary in the circumstances of the emergency to which they relate and as are justifiable in a democratic society. (Art. 71)

Marriage and Family Life

Every person has the following fundamental duties to himself and his descendants and to others –

(h) in the case of a parent, to support, assist and educate all his children, legitimate and illegitimate, and in particular to give them a true understanding of their fundamental rights and duties and of the national objectives and of the culture and customs of the people of Vanuatu;
… (Art. 7)

Political Rights and Association

(2) The franchise is universal, equal and secret. Subject to such conditions or restrictions as may be prescribed by Parliament, every citizen of Vanuatu who is at least 18 years of age shall be entitled to vote.
... (Art. 4)

Political Rights and Association

(1) The Republic of Vanuatu recognises, that, subject to any restrictions imposed by law on non-citizens, all persons are entitled to the following fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual without discrimination on the grounds of race, place of origin, religious or traditional beliefs, political opinions, language or sex but subject to respect for the rights and freedoms of others and to the legitimate public interest in defence, safety, public order, welfare and health –

(h) freedom of assembly and association;
… (Art. 5)

Political Parties

(3) Political parties may be formed freely and may contest elections. They shall respect the Constitution and the principles of democracy. (Art. 4)

Electoral Bodies

(1) The Electoral Commission shall have general responsibility for and shall supervise the registration of electors and the conduct of elections to Parliament, the National Council of Chiefs, local government and municipal councils. The Commission shall have such powers and functions relating to such registration and elections as may be prescribed by Parliament.
(2) The Principal Electoral Officer shall have such powers and functions relating to such registration and elections as may be prescribed by Parliament. The Principal Electoral Officer shall keep the Commission fully informed concerning the exercise of his functions and shall have the right to attend meetings of the Commission, and shall comply with any directions that the Commission may give to him in the exercise of his functions.
... (Art. 20)

Head of State

The head of the Republic shall be known as the President and shall symbolise the unity of the nation. (Art. 33)

Head of State

(1) The President of the Republic shall be elected, in accordance with Schedule 1, by secret ballot by an electoral college consisting of Parliament and the chairmen of Local Government Councils.
… (Art. 34)

Head of State

Any indigenous Vanuatu citizen qualified to be elected to Parliament shall be eligible for election as President of the Republic. (Art. 35)

Government

(1) The executive power of the people of the Republic of Vanuatu is vested in the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers and shall be exercised as provided by the Constitution or a law.
… (Art. 39)

Government

(1) There shall be a Council of Ministers which shall consist of the Prime Minister and other Ministers.
(2) The number of Ministers, including the Prime Minister, shall not exceed a quarter of the number of members of Parliament. (Art. 40)

Government

The Prime Minister shall be elected by Parliament from among its members by secret ballot in accordance with the rules in Schedule 2. (Art. 41)

Government

(1) The Prime Minister shall appoint the other Ministers from among the members of Parliament and may designate one of them as Deputy Prime Minister.
… (Art. 42)

Legislature

The legislature shall consist of a single chamber which shall be known as Parliament. (Art. 15)

Legislature

(1) Parliament shall consist of members elected on the basis of universal franchise through an electoral system which includes an element of proportional representation so as to ensure fair representation of different political groups and opinions.
(2) Subject to such conditions or restrictions as may be prescribed by Parliament every citizen of Vanuatu who is at least 25 years of age shall be eligible to stand for election to Parliament. (Art. 17)

Property, Inheritance and Land Tenure

(1) The Republic of Vanuatu recognises, that, subject to any restrictions imposed by law on non-citizens, all persons are entitled to the following fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual without discrimination on the grounds of race, place of origin, religious or traditional beliefs, political opinions, language or sex but subject to respect for the rights and freedoms of others and to the legitimate public interest in defence, safety, public order, welfare and health –

(j) protection for the privacy of the home and other property and from unjust deprivation of property;
… (Art. 5)

Property, Inheritance and Land Tenure

All land in the Republic of Vanuatu belongs to the indigenous custom owners and their descendants. (Art. 73)

Property, Inheritance and Land Tenure

The rules of custom shall form the basis of ownership and use of land in the Republic of Vanuatu. (Art. 74)

Property, Inheritance and Land Tenure

Only indigenous citizens of the Republic of Vanuatu who have acquired their land in accordance with a recognised system of land tenure shall have perpetual ownership of their land. (Art. 75)

Property, Inheritance and Land Tenure

Parliament, after consultation with the National Council of Chiefs, shall provide for the implementation of Articles 73, 74 and 75 in a national land law and may make different provision for different categories of land, one of which shall be urban land. (Art. 76)

Property, Inheritance and Land Tenure

(2) The Government shall arrange for the appropriate customary institutions or procedures to resolve disputes concerning the ownership of custom land. (Art. 78)

Property, Inheritance and Land Tenure

(1) Notwithstanding Articles 73 and 74 the Government may buy land from custom owners for the purpose of transferring ownership of it to indigenous citizens or indigenous communities from over-populated islands.
(2) When redistributing land in accordance with subarticle (1), the Government shall give priority to ethnic, linguistic, customary and geographical ties. (Art. 81)

Protection from Violence

(1) The Republic of Vanuatu recognises, that, subject to any restrictions imposed by law on non-citizens, all persons are entitled to the following fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual without discrimination on the grounds of race, place of origin, religious or traditional beliefs, political opinions, language or sex but subject to respect for the rights and freedoms of others and to the legitimate public interest in defence, safety, public order, welfare and health –
...
(c) security of the person;

(e) freedom from inhuman treatment and forced labour;
... (Art. 5)

Public Institutions and Services

(1) The Republic of Vanuatu recognises, that, subject to any restrictions imposed by law on non-citizens, all persons are entitled to the following fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual without discrimination on the grounds of race, place of origin, religious or traditional beliefs, political opinions, language or sex but subject to respect for the rights and freedoms of others and to the legitimate public interest in defence, safety, public order, welfare and health –

(k) equal treatment under the law or administrative action, except that no law shall be inconsistent with this sub-paragraph insofar as it makes provision for the special benefit, welfare, protection or advancement of females, children and young persons, members of under-privileged groups or inhabitants of less developed areas.
… (Art. 5)

Status of the Constitution

The Constitution is the supreme law of the Republic of Vanuatu. (Art. 2)

Status of the Constitution

Every person has the following fundamental duties to himself and his descendants and to others –
(a) to respect and to act in the spirit of the Constitution;
… (Art. 7)

Status of the Constitution

(1) Until otherwise provided by Parliament, all Joint Regulations and subsidiary legislation made thereunder in force immediately before the Day of Independence shall continue in operation on and after that day as if they had been made in pursuance of the Constitution and shall be construed with such adaptations as may be necessary to bring them into conformity with the Constitution.
… (Art. 95)

Religious Law

… HEREBY proclaim the establishment of the united and free Republic of Vanuatu founded on traditional Melanesian values, faith in God, and Christian principles, … (Preamble)

Customary Law

(1) The National Council of Chiefs shall be composed of custom chiefs elected by their peers sitting in District Councils of Chiefs.
… (Art. 29)

Customary Law

(1) The National Council of Chiefs has a general competence to discuss all matters relating to custom and tradition and may make recommendations for the preservation and promotion of ni-Vanuatu culture and languages.
(2) The Council may be consulted on any question, particularly any question relating to tradition and custom, in connection with any bill before Parliament. (Art. 30)

Customary Law

Parliament shall by law provide for the organisation of the National Council of Chiefs and in particular for the role of chiefs at the village, island and district level. (Art. 31)

Customary Law

Parliament may provide for the manner of the ascertainment of relevant rules of custom, and may in particular provide for persons knowledgeable in custom to sit with the judges of the Supreme Court or the Court of Appeal and take part in its proceedings. (Art. 51)

Customary Law

Parliament shall provide for the establishment of village or island courts with jurisdiction over customary and other matters and shall provide for the role of chiefs in such courts. (Art. 52)

Customary Law

All land in the Republic of Vanuatu belongs to the indigenous custom owners and their descendants. (Art. 73)

Customary Law

The rules of custom shall form the basis of ownership and use of land in the Republic of Vanuatu. (Art. 74)

Customary Law

Parliament, after consultation with the National Council of Chiefs, shall provide for the implementation of Articles 73, 74 and 75 in a national land law and may make different provision for different categories of land, one of which shall be urban land. (Art. 76)

Customary Law

(2) The Government shall arrange for the appropriate customary institutions or procedures to resolve disputes concerning the ownership of custom land. (Art. 78)

Customary Law

(1) Notwithstanding Articles 73 and 74 the Government may buy land from custom owners for the purpose of transferring ownership of it to indigenous citizens or indigenous communities from over-populated islands.
(2) When redistributing land in accordance with subarticle (1), the Government shall give priority to ethnic, linguistic, customary and geographical ties. (Art. 81)

Customary Law

(3) Customary Law shall continue to have effect as part of the law of the Republic of Vanuatu. (Art. 95)

Affirmative Action (Broadly)

English

(1) The Republic of Vanuatu recognises, that, subject to any restrictions imposed by law on non-citizens, all persons are entitled to the following fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual without discrimination on the grounds of race, place of origin, religious or traditional beliefs, political opinions, language or sex but subject to respect for the rights and freedoms of others and to the legitimate public interest in defence, safety, public order, welfare and health –

(k) equal treatment under the law or administrative action, except that no law shall be inconsistent with this sub-paragraph insofar as it makes provision for the special benefit, welfare, protection or advancement of females, children and young persons, members of under-privileged groups or inhabitants of less developed areas.
… (Art. 5)

Citizenship and Nationality

English

On the Day of Independence the following persons shall automatically become citizens of Vanuatu –
(a) a person who has or had four grandparents who belong to a tribe or community indigenous to Vanuatu; and
(b) a person of ni-Vanuatu ancestry who has no citizenship, nationality or the status of an optant. (Art. 9)

Citizenship and Nationality

English

Every person who on the Day of Independence is a person of ni-Vanuatu ancestry and has the nationality or citizenship of a foreign state or the status of an optant shall become a citizen of Vanuatu if he makes an application, or an application is made on his behalf by his parent or lawful guardian, within 3 months of the Day of Independence or such longer period as Parliament may prescribe. The Vanuatu citizenship of such a person shall automatically lapse if he has not renounced his other citizenship or nationality within 3 months of the granting of Vanuatu citizenship or such longer period as Parliament may prescribe, except that in the case of a person under the age of 18 years the period of renunciation shall be 3 months after he has reached the age of 18 years. (Art. 10)

Citizenship and Nationality

English

Anyone born after the Day of Independence, whether in Vanuatu or abroad, shall become a citizen of Vanuatu if at least one of his parents is a citizen of Vanuatu. (Art. 11)

Citizenship and Nationality

English

A national of a foreign state or a stateless person may apply to be naturalised as a citizen of Vanuatu if he has lived continuously in Vanuatu for at least 10 years immediately before the date of the application.
Parliament may prescribe further conditions of the eligibility to apply for naturalisation and shall provide for the machinery to review and decide on applications for naturalisation. (Art. 12)

Citizenship and Nationality

English

The Republic of Vanuatu does not recognise dual nationality. Any citizen of Vanuatu who is or becomes a citizen of another state shall cease to be a citizen of Vanuatu unless he renounces that other citizenship within 3 months of acquiring Vanuatu citizenship or that other citizenship, as the case may be, or such longer period as Parliament may prescribe, except that in the case of a person under the age of 18 years the period of renunciation shall be 3 months after he has reached the age of 18 years. (Art. 13)

Citizenship and Nationality

English

Parliament may make provision for the acquisition of citizenship of Vanuatu by persons not covered in the preceding Articles of this Chapter and may make provision for the deprivation and renunciation of citizenship of Vanuatu. (Art. 14)

Jurisdiction and Access

English

(1) Anyone who considers that a provision of the Constitution has been infringed in relation to him may, without prejudice to any other legal remedy available to him, apply to the Supreme Court for redress.
(2) The Supreme Court has jurisdiction to determine the matter and to make such order as it considers appropriate to enforce the provisions of the Constitution.
(3) When a question concerning the interpretation of the Constitution arises before a subordinate court, and the court considers that the question concerns a fundamental point of law, the court shall submit the question to the Supreme Court for its determination. (Art. 53)

Jurisdiction and Access

English

The jurisdiction to hear and determine any question as to whether a person has been validly elected as a member of Parliament, the National Council of Chiefs, and a Local Government Council or whether he has vacated his seat or has become disqualified to hold it shall vest in the Supreme Court. (Art. 54)

Education

English

Every person has the following fundamental duties to himself and his descendants and to others –

(h) in the case of a parent, to support, assist and educate all his children, legitimate and illegitimate, and in particular to give them a true understanding of their fundamental rights and duties and of the national objectives and of the culture and customs of the people of Vanuatu;
… (Art. 7)

Equality and Non-Discrimination

English

(1) The Republic of Vanuatu recognises, that, subject to any restrictions imposed by law on non-citizens, all persons are entitled to the following fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual without discrimination on the grounds of race, place of origin, religious or traditional beliefs, political opinions, language or sex but subject to respect for the rights and freedoms of others and to the legitimate public interest in defence, safety, public order, welfare and health –

(d) protection of the law;

(k) equal treatment under the law or administrative action, except that no law shall be inconsistent with this sub-paragraph insofar as it makes provision for the special benefit, welfare, protection or advancement of females, children and young persons, members of under-privileged groups or inhabitants of less developed areas.
… (Art. 5)

Obligations of the State

English

(1) The Republic of Vanuatu recognises, that, subject to any restrictions imposed by law on non-citizens, all persons are entitled to the following fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual without discrimination on the grounds of race, place of origin, religious or traditional beliefs, political opinions, language or sex but subject to respect for the rights and freedoms of others and to the legitimate public interest in defence, safety, public order, welfare and health –
(a) life;
(b) liberty;
(c) security of the person;
(d) protection of the law;
(e) freedom from inhuman treatment and forced labour;
(f) freedom of conscience and worship;
(g) freedom of expression;
(h) freedom of assembly and association;
(i) freedom of movement;
(j) protection for the privacy of the home and other property and from unjust deprivation of property;
(k) equal treatment under the law or administrative action, except that no law shall be inconsistent with this sub-paragraph insofar as it makes provision for the special benefit, welfare, protection or advancement of females, children and young persons, members of under-privileged groups or inhabitants of less developed areas.
… (Art. 5)

Obligations of Private Parties

English

(1) The Republic of Vanuatu recognises, that, subject to any restrictions imposed by law on non-citizens, all persons are entitled to the following fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual without discrimination on the grounds of race, place of origin, religious or traditional beliefs, political opinions, language or sex but subject to respect for the rights and freedoms of others and to the legitimate public interest in defence, safety, public order, welfare and health –
(a) life;
(b) liberty;
(c) security of the person;
(d) protection of the law;
(e) freedom from inhuman treatment and forced labour;
(f) freedom of conscience and worship;
(g) freedom of expression;
(h) freedom of assembly and association;
(i) freedom of movement;
(j) protection for the privacy of the home and other property and from unjust deprivation of property;
(k) equal treatment under the law or administrative action, except that no law shall be inconsistent with this sub-paragraph insofar as it makes provision for the special benefit, welfare, protection or advancement of females, children and young persons, members of under-privileged groups or inhabitants of less developed areas.
… (Art. 5)

Obligations of Private Parties

English

Every person has the following fundamental dutiesto himself and his descendants and to others –


(f) to respect the rights and freedoms of others and to cooperate fully with others in the interests of interdependence and solidarity;
… (Art. 7)

Judicial Protection

English

(1) Anyone who considers that any of the rights guaranteed to him by the Constitution has been, is being or is likely to be infringed may, independently of any other possible legal remedy, apply to the Supreme Court to enforce that right.
(2) The Supreme Court may make such orders, issue such writs and give such directions, including the payment of compensation, as it considers appropriate to enforce the right. (Art. 6)

National Human Rights Bodies

English

(1) The Ombudsman may enquire into the conduct of any person or body to which this Article applies –
(a) upon receiving a complaint from a member of the public (or, if for reasons of incapacity, from his representative or a member of his family) who claims to have been the victim of an injustice as a result of particular conduct;
(b) at the request of a Minister, a member of Parliament, of the National Council of Chiefs or of a Local Government Council; or
(c) of his own initiative.
(2) This Article shall apply to all public servants, public authorities and ministerial departments, with the exception of the President of the Republic, the Judicial Service Commission, the Supreme Court and other judicial bodies.
(3) The Ombudsman may request any Minister, public servant, administrator, authority concerned or any person likely to assist him, to furnish him with information and documents needed for his enquiry.
… (Art. 62)

Indigenous Peoples

English

Any indigenous Vanuatu citizen qualified to be elected to Parliament shall be eligible for election as President of the Republic. (Art. 35)

Indigenous Peoples

English

All land in the Republic of Vanuatu belongs to the indigenous custom owners and their descendants. (Art. 73)

Indigenous Peoples

English

Only indigenous citizens of the Republic of Vanuatu who have acquired their land in accordance with a recognised system of land tenure shall have perpetual ownership of their land. (Art. 75)

Indigenous Peoples

English

(1) Notwithstanding Articles 73 and 74 the Government may buy land from custom owners for the purpose of transferring ownership of it to indigenous citizens or indigenous communities from over-populated islands.
(2) When redistributing land in accordance with subarticle (1), the Government shall give priority to ethnic, linguistic, customary and geographical ties. (Art. 81)

Limitations and/or Derogations

English

(1) The Republic of Vanuatu recognises, that, subject to any restrictions imposed by law on non-citizens, all persons are entitled to the following fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual without discrimination on the grounds of race, place of origin, religious or traditional beliefs, political opinions, language or sex but subject to respect for the rights and freedoms of others and to the legitimate public interest in defence, safety, public order, welfare and health –
(a) life;
(b) liberty;
(c) security of the person;
(d) protection of the law;
(e) freedom from inhuman treatment and forced labour;
(f) freedom of conscience and worship;
(g) freedom of expression;
(h) freedom of assembly and association;
(i) freedom of movement;
(j) protection for the privacy of the home and other property and from unjust deprivation of property;
(k) equal treatment under the law or administrative action, except that no law shall be inconsistent with this sub-paragraph insofar as it makes provision for the special benefit, welfare, protection or advancement of females, children and young persons, members of under-privileged groups or inhabitants of less developed areas.
… (Art. 5)

Limitations and/or Derogations

English

(1) Subject to subarticle (2) regulations made by the Council of Ministers in accordance with Article 693 shall have effect notwithstanding the provisions of Chapter 2, Part I4except that no regulation shall –
(a) derogate from the right to life and the freedom from inhuman treatment and forced labour; and
(b) make provision for the detention of a person without trial for more than 1 month unless such person is an enemy alien.
(2) Regulations made by the Council of Ministers in accordance with Article 69 shall be such as are reasonably necessary in the circumstances of the emergency to which they relate and as are justifiable in a democratic society. (Art. 71)

Marriage and Family Life

English

Every person has the following fundamental duties to himself and his descendants and to others –

(h) in the case of a parent, to support, assist and educate all his children, legitimate and illegitimate, and in particular to give them a true understanding of their fundamental rights and duties and of the national objectives and of the culture and customs of the people of Vanuatu;
… (Art. 7)

Political Rights and Association

English

(2) The franchise is universal, equal and secret. Subject to such conditions or restrictions as may be prescribed by Parliament, every citizen of Vanuatu who is at least 18 years of age shall be entitled to vote.
... (Art. 4)

Political Rights and Association

English

(1) The Republic of Vanuatu recognises, that, subject to any restrictions imposed by law on non-citizens, all persons are entitled to the following fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual without discrimination on the grounds of race, place of origin, religious or traditional beliefs, political opinions, language or sex but subject to respect for the rights and freedoms of others and to the legitimate public interest in defence, safety, public order, welfare and health –

(h) freedom of assembly and association;
… (Art. 5)

Political Parties

English

(3) Political parties may be formed freely and may contest elections. They shall respect the Constitution and the principles of democracy. (Art. 4)

Electoral Bodies

English

(1) The Electoral Commission shall have general responsibility for and shall supervise the registration of electors and the conduct of elections to Parliament, the National Council of Chiefs, local government and municipal councils. The Commission shall have such powers and functions relating to such registration and elections as may be prescribed by Parliament.
(2) The Principal Electoral Officer shall have such powers and functions relating to such registration and elections as may be prescribed by Parliament. The Principal Electoral Officer shall keep the Commission fully informed concerning the exercise of his functions and shall have the right to attend meetings of the Commission, and shall comply with any directions that the Commission may give to him in the exercise of his functions.
... (Art. 20)

Head of State

English

The head of the Republic shall be known as the President and shall symbolise the unity of the nation. (Art. 33)

Head of State

English

(1) The President of the Republic shall be elected, in accordance with Schedule 1, by secret ballot by an electoral college consisting of Parliament and the chairmen of Local Government Councils.
… (Art. 34)

Head of State

English

Any indigenous Vanuatu citizen qualified to be elected to Parliament shall be eligible for election as President of the Republic. (Art. 35)

Government

English

(1) The executive power of the people of the Republic of Vanuatu is vested in the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers and shall be exercised as provided by the Constitution or a law.
… (Art. 39)

Government

English

(1) There shall be a Council of Ministers which shall consist of the Prime Minister and other Ministers.
(2) The number of Ministers, including the Prime Minister, shall not exceed a quarter of the number of members of Parliament. (Art. 40)

Government

English

The Prime Minister shall be elected by Parliament from among its members by secret ballot in accordance with the rules in Schedule 2. (Art. 41)

Government

English

(1) The Prime Minister shall appoint the other Ministers from among the members of Parliament and may designate one of them as Deputy Prime Minister.
… (Art. 42)

Legislature

English

The legislature shall consist of a single chamber which shall be known as Parliament. (Art. 15)

Legislature

English

(1) Parliament shall consist of members elected on the basis of universal franchise through an electoral system which includes an element of proportional representation so as to ensure fair representation of different political groups and opinions.
(2) Subject to such conditions or restrictions as may be prescribed by Parliament every citizen of Vanuatu who is at least 25 years of age shall be eligible to stand for election to Parliament. (Art. 17)

Property, Inheritance and Land Tenure

English

(1) The Republic of Vanuatu recognises, that, subject to any restrictions imposed by law on non-citizens, all persons are entitled to the following fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual without discrimination on the grounds of race, place of origin, religious or traditional beliefs, political opinions, language or sex but subject to respect for the rights and freedoms of others and to the legitimate public interest in defence, safety, public order, welfare and health –

(j) protection for the privacy of the home and other property and from unjust deprivation of property;
… (Art. 5)

Property, Inheritance and Land Tenure

English

All land in the Republic of Vanuatu belongs to the indigenous custom owners and their descendants. (Art. 73)

Property, Inheritance and Land Tenure

English

The rules of custom shall form the basis of ownership and use of land in the Republic of Vanuatu. (Art. 74)

Property, Inheritance and Land Tenure

English

Only indigenous citizens of the Republic of Vanuatu who have acquired their land in accordance with a recognised system of land tenure shall have perpetual ownership of their land. (Art. 75)

Property, Inheritance and Land Tenure

English

Parliament, after consultation with the National Council of Chiefs, shall provide for the implementation of Articles 73, 74 and 75 in a national land law and may make different provision for different categories of land, one of which shall be urban land. (Art. 76)

Property, Inheritance and Land Tenure

English

(2) The Government shall arrange for the appropriate customary institutions or procedures to resolve disputes concerning the ownership of custom land. (Art. 78)

Property, Inheritance and Land Tenure

English

(1) Notwithstanding Articles 73 and 74 the Government may buy land from custom owners for the purpose of transferring ownership of it to indigenous citizens or indigenous communities from over-populated islands.
(2) When redistributing land in accordance with subarticle (1), the Government shall give priority to ethnic, linguistic, customary and geographical ties. (Art. 81)

Protection from Violence

English

(1) The Republic of Vanuatu recognises, that, subject to any restrictions imposed by law on non-citizens, all persons are entitled to the following fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual without discrimination on the grounds of race, place of origin, religious or traditional beliefs, political opinions, language or sex but subject to respect for the rights and freedoms of others and to the legitimate public interest in defence, safety, public order, welfare and health –
...
(c) security of the person;

(e) freedom from inhuman treatment and forced labour;
... (Art. 5)

Public Institutions and Services

English

(1) The Republic of Vanuatu recognises, that, subject to any restrictions imposed by law on non-citizens, all persons are entitled to the following fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual without discrimination on the grounds of race, place of origin, religious or traditional beliefs, political opinions, language or sex but subject to respect for the rights and freedoms of others and to the legitimate public interest in defence, safety, public order, welfare and health –

(k) equal treatment under the law or administrative action, except that no law shall be inconsistent with this sub-paragraph insofar as it makes provision for the special benefit, welfare, protection or advancement of females, children and young persons, members of under-privileged groups or inhabitants of less developed areas.
… (Art. 5)

Status of the Constitution

English

The Constitution is the supreme law of the Republic of Vanuatu. (Art. 2)

Status of the Constitution

English

Every person has the following fundamental duties to himself and his descendants and to others –
(a) to respect and to act in the spirit of the Constitution;
… (Art. 7)

Status of the Constitution

English

(1) Until otherwise provided by Parliament, all Joint Regulations and subsidiary legislation made thereunder in force immediately before the Day of Independence shall continue in operation on and after that day as if they had been made in pursuance of the Constitution and shall be construed with such adaptations as may be necessary to bring them into conformity with the Constitution.
… (Art. 95)

Religious Law

English

… HEREBY proclaim the establishment of the united and free Republic of Vanuatu founded on traditional Melanesian values, faith in God, and Christian principles, … (Preamble)

Customary Law

English

(1) The National Council of Chiefs shall be composed of custom chiefs elected by their peers sitting in District Councils of Chiefs.
… (Art. 29)

Customary Law

English

(1) The National Council of Chiefs has a general competence to discuss all matters relating to custom and tradition and may make recommendations for the preservation and promotion of ni-Vanuatu culture and languages.
(2) The Council may be consulted on any question, particularly any question relating to tradition and custom, in connection with any bill before Parliament. (Art. 30)

Customary Law

English

Parliament shall by law provide for the organisation of the National Council of Chiefs and in particular for the role of chiefs at the village, island and district level. (Art. 31)

Customary Law

English

Parliament may provide for the manner of the ascertainment of relevant rules of custom, and may in particular provide for persons knowledgeable in custom to sit with the judges of the Supreme Court or the Court of Appeal and take part in its proceedings. (Art. 51)

Customary Law

English

Parliament shall provide for the establishment of village or island courts with jurisdiction over customary and other matters and shall provide for the role of chiefs in such courts. (Art. 52)

Customary Law

English

All land in the Republic of Vanuatu belongs to the indigenous custom owners and their descendants. (Art. 73)

Customary Law

English

The rules of custom shall form the basis of ownership and use of land in the Republic of Vanuatu. (Art. 74)

Customary Law

English

Parliament, after consultation with the National Council of Chiefs, shall provide for the implementation of Articles 73, 74 and 75 in a national land law and may make different provision for different categories of land, one of which shall be urban land. (Art. 76)

Customary Law

English

(2) The Government shall arrange for the appropriate customary institutions or procedures to resolve disputes concerning the ownership of custom land. (Art. 78)

Customary Law

English

(1) Notwithstanding Articles 73 and 74 the Government may buy land from custom owners for the purpose of transferring ownership of it to indigenous citizens or indigenous communities from over-populated islands.
(2) When redistributing land in accordance with subarticle (1), the Government shall give priority to ethnic, linguistic, customary and geographical ties. (Art. 81)

Customary Law

English

(3) Customary Law shall continue to have effect as part of the law of the Republic of Vanuatu. (Art. 95)

1

Links to all sites last visited 2 March 2016

2

According to Art. 8: “Fundamental duties non-justiciable but public authorities to encourage compliance except as provided by law, the fundamental duties are non-justiciable. Nevertheless it is the duty of all public authorities to encourage compliance with them so far as lies within their respective powers.”

3,4

3 - Art. 69 on Emergency Regulations. 
4 - Chapter 2 on Fundamental Rights and Duties, Part I on Fundamental Rights.