Palau 1981 Constitution (reviewed 1992)


In exercising our inherent sovereignty, We, the people of Palau proclaim and reaffirm our immemorial right to be supreme in these islands of Palau, our homeland. We renew our dedication to preserve and enhance our traditional heritage, our national identity and our respect for peace, freedom and justice for all mankind. In establishing this Constitution of the sovereign Republic of Palau, We venture into the future with full reliance on our own efforts and the divine guidance of Almighty God.


Section 1

Palau shall have jurisdiction and sovereignty over its territory which shall consist of all of the islands of the Palauan archipelago, the internal waters, the territorial waters, extending to two hundred (200) nautical miles from a straight archipelagic baseline, the seabed, subsoil, water column, insular shelves, and airspace over land and water, unless otherwise limited by international treaty obligations assumed by Palau. The straight archipelagic baseline shall be drawn from the northernmost point of Ngeruangel Reef, thence east to the northernmost point of Kayangel Island and around the island to its easternmost point, south to the easternmost point of Helen’s Reef, west from the southernmost point of Helen’s Reef to the easternmost point of Tobi Island and then around the island to its westernmost point, north to the westernmost point of Fana Island, and north to the westernmost point of Ngeruangel Reef and then around the reef to the point of origin.

Section 2

Each state shall have exclusive ownership of all living and non-living resources, except highly migratory fish, from the land to twelve (12) nautical miles seaward from the traditional baselines; provided, however, that traditional fishing rights and practices shall not be impaired.

Section 3

The national government shall have the power to add territory and to extend jurisdiction.

Section 4

Nothing in this Article shall be interpreted to violate the right of innocent passage and the internationally recognized freedom of the high seas.