Honduras 1982 Constitution (reviewed 2013)

Table of Contents


We, the representatives elected by the sovereign will of the Honduran people, meeting in the National Constituent Assembly, invoking the protection of God and the example of our founding fathers, placing our faith in the restoration of the Central American union and faithfully interpreting the aspirations of the people who conferred upon us their mandate, hereby decree and sanction this Constitution so as to strengthen and perpetuate a rule of law which ensures a politically, economically and socially just society which affirms our nationality and establishes the conditions for the full realization of man as a human being, within a context of justice, liberty, security, stability, pluralism, peace, representative democracy and the common good.

Title I. The State

Chapter I. The Organization of the State

Article 1

Honduras is a State of law, sovereign, constituted as a free, democratic and independent republic to ensure its inhabitants the enjoyment of justice, liberty, culture, and social and economic well-being.

Article 2

Sovereignty originates in the people, from which stem all the powers of the State, which are exercised through representation.

The supplanting of popular sovereignty and the usurping of their constituted power shall be considered crimes of treason against the fatherland. Responsibility in these cases is imprescriptible and an action may be initiated by the competent organ in its own motion or by petition of any citizen.

Article 3

No one owes obedience to a usurping government nor to those who assume office or public service by force of arms or by using means or procedures which violate or ignore the provisions established by this Constitution and other laws. The acts adopted by such authorities are null. The people have the right to resort to insurrection in defense of the constitutional order.

Article 4

The form of government is republican, democratic and representative. It is exercised by three branches: Legislative, Executive and Judicial, which are complementary, independent, and not subordinate to one another.

Alternation in the exercise of the Presidency of the Republic is obligatory.

Violation of this rule constitutes a crime of treason against the nation.

Article 5

The government of the Republic must be founded on the principles of popular sovereignty, the self-determination of the people, and participatory democracy, from which stems the national integration, which implies participation by all political sectors in the Public Administration, in order to ensure and strengthen the process of Honduras, political stability and social peace.

In order to strengthen representative democracy, the referendum, the plebiscite, and the citizen initiative of law are instituted as mechanisms of citizen participation.

The referendum shall be convoked over an ordinary law or a constitutional norm or its approved reform for its ratification or rejection by the citizenry.

The plebiscite shall be convoked asking for a pronouncement from the people on constitutional, legislative, or administrative aspects over which the Constitutional Powers have never made a previous decision.

The referendum and the plebiscite may be recognized at a national, regional, sub-regional, departmental, and municipal level.

The following have the power to ask for a referendum or plebiscite:

  1. At least two per cent (2%) of the citizens registered in the National Electoral Census, in accordance with the data that should be provided periodically by the Supreme Electoral Tribunal to the National Congress.
  2. At least ten representatives of the National Congress, and
  3. The President of the Republic in resolution of the Council of Secretaries of State.

The National Congress shall come to know and discuss such petitions, and if they approve them, shall emit a Decree that determines the bounds of the consultation, ordering the Supreme Elections Tribunal to convoke, organize, and direct the consultation to the citizens.

The percentages of legislative approval of the citizen consultations are determined following the topic to be consulted on in accordance with this constitution, by simple majority of the totality of its members when it is about ordinary laws and matters, and two thirds of the totality of its members when it is about constitutional matters.

A Special Law approved by two thirds of the totality of the Representatives of the National Congress shall determine the procedures, requirements, and other necessary aspects for the exercise of the mechanisms of citizen participation.

It is uniquely the duty of the Supreme Elections Tribunal to convoke, organize, and direct the citizen consultations.

The citizen consultations should be made preferably on the same dates as general elections.

The exercise of suffrage in the citizen consultations is obligatory.

The result of the citizen consultations must be fulfilled if there is at least fifty-one percent (51%) of the total of participation in the last general election and if the affirmative vote achieves the majority of the valid votes.

The Special Law shall determine who has the initiative to ask for the convocation of a citizen consultation when it is not at the national level, as well as the percentage of participation necessary to be valid.

Once the official result is known in the term indicated by the Special Law, the Supreme Elections Tribunal shall inform the National Congress within a period of ten days about the result of the consultation. The National Congress shall issue a decree ordering those opposed to comply with the rules that result from the citizen consultation.

If the initiative submitted for consultation is approved, the approval of the Executive branch shall not be necessary, nor shall it proceed for its veto, consequently, the National Congress shall order the publication of the approved rules. These same rules may only be rejected or reformed through the same process of their approval.

Consultation on the same subjects may not be realized in the same nor the following period of Government.

Article 6

The official language of Honduras is Spanish. The State shall protect its purity and increase its learning.

Article 7

The national symbols are: the Flag, the Coat of Arms, and the National Anthem.

The law shall establish their characteristics and shall regulate their use.

Article 8

The cities of Tegucigalpa and Comayaguela, jointly, constitute the capital of the Republic.

Chapter II. The Territory

Article 9

The territory of Honduras is situated between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans and the Republics of Guatemala, El Salvador, and Nicaragua. Its boundaries with these republics are:

  1. With the Republic of Guatemala, those established by the arbitral award issued in Washington, D.C., United States of America, on January 23, 1933.
  2. With the Republic of Nicaragua, those established by the Mixed Honduran-Nicaraguan Boundary Commission, in 1900 and 1901, according to the description of the first section of the dividing line, contained in the second act of June 12, 1900, and in later acts, to Portillo de Teotecacinte, and from that place to the Atlantic Ocean, in accordance with the arbitral award handed down by His Majesty the King of Spain, Alfonso XIII, on December 23, 1906, and declared valid by the International Court of Justice on November 18, 1960.
  3. With the Republic of El Salvador, those established in Articles 16 and 17 of the General Peace Treaty signed in Lima, Peru, on October 30, 1980, whose instruments of ratification were exchanged in Tegucigalpa, Central District, Honduras, on December 10, 1980. In the sections pending delimitation the provisions of the pertinent articles of the above-mentioned Treaty shall be applied.

Article 10

The territories located on the mainland within its territorial limits, its inland waters and its islands, islets, and the cays in the Gulf of Fonseca which historically, geographically, and legally correspond to it belong to Honduras. So are the Bay Islands, the Swan Islands, also known as Santanilla or Santillana, Viciosas, Misteriosas; and the cays Zapotillos, Cochinos, Vivorillos, Seal or Foca (or Becerro), Caratasca, Cajones, or Hobbies, Mayores de Cabo Falso, Cocrocuma, Palo de Campeche, Los Bajos, Pichones, Media Luna, Gorda and Los Bancos Salmedina, Providencia, De Coral, Cabo Falso, Rosalinda and Serranilla, and all others located in the Atlantic that historically, geographically and legally belong to it.

The Gulf of Fonseca may be subjected to a special regime.

Article 11

The following also belong to the State of Honduras.

  1. The territorial sea to a distance of twelve nautical miles, measured from the baseline of the lowest tide along the entire coast;
  2. The zone contiguous to its territorial sea, which extends up to twenty-four nautical miles, measured from the baseline from which the breadth of the territorial sea is measured;
  3. The exclusive economic zone, which extends up to a distance of two hundred nautical miles, measured from the baseline from which the breadth of the territorial sea is measured;
  4. The continental shelf, which includes the bed and the subsoil of the submarine platform, which extends beyond its territorial sea and along the entire length of the natural extension of its territory to the outer limits of its continental border, or instead to a distance of two hundred nautical miles from the baseline from which the breadth of the territorial sea is measured in those cases in which the outer limits of the continental border does not reach that distance; and
  5. Concerning the Pacific Ocean, the previous measures shall be taken from the line of the closure of the mouth of the Gulf of Fonseca, out to the high seas.

Article 12

The State exercises sovereignty and jurisdiction over the air space, and the subsoil of its continental and insular territory, its territorial sea, its contiguous zone, its exclusive economic zone, and its continental shelf.

This declaration of sovereignty does not ignore similar legitimate rights of other states on a basis of reciprocity, and it neither affects the rights of free navigation of all nations, in accordance with international law, nor compliance with those treaties or conventions ratified by the Republic.

Article 13

In those cases referred to in the preceding articles, the domain of the nation is inalienable and imprescriptible.

Article 14

Foreign States may only acquire, in the territory of the Republic, on a basis of reciprocity, such real estate as may be necessary for the seat of their diplomatic mission, with prejudice to the provisions of international treaties.

Chapter III. Treaties

Article 15

Honduras supports the principles and practices of international law, that promote solidarity and self-determination of peoples, non-intervention and the strengthening of universal peace and democracy.

Honduras proclaims as inevitable the validity and obligatory execution of arbitral and judicial sentences of an international character.

Article 16

All international treaties must be approved by the National Congress before their ratification by the Executive branch.

International treaties entered into by Honduras with other States form part of the domestic law as soon as they enter into force.

Article 17

When an international treaty affects a constitutional provision, it must be approved through the same procedure that governs Constitutional reform, and simultaneously the effected constitutional precept shall be modified in the same way by the same procedure, before the treaty is ratified by the Executive branch.

Article 18

In case of conflict between the treaty or convention and the law, the former shall prevail.

Article 19

No authority may enter into or ratify treaties or grant concessions that damage the territorial integrity, the sovereignty or the independence of the Republic.

Anyone who does so shall be tried for the crime of treason to the country. Responsibility in such a case is imprescriptible.

Article 20

Any treaty or convention entered into by the Executive branch, relating to the national territory, shall require approval by the National Congress by a vote of not less than three fourths of its members.

Article 21

The Executive branch may, in matters of its exclusive competence, enter into, ratify or adhere to international conventions with foreign states or international organizations without the previous requirement of approval by congress, which it must inform immediately.

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