Palau 1981 Constitution (reviewed 1992)


Section 1

The government shall take no action to deny or impair the freedom of conscience or of philosophical or religious belief of any person nor take any action to compel, prohibit or hinder the exercise of religion. 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.

Section 2

The government shall take no action to deny or impair the freedom of expression or press. No bona fide reporter may be required by the government to divulge or be jailed for refusal to divulge information obtained in the course of a professional investigation.

Section 3

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.

Section 4

Every person has the right to be secure in his person, house, papers and effects against entry, search and seizure.

Section 5

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 investigation.

Section 6

The government shall take no action to deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law nor shall private property be taken except for a recognized public use and for just compensation in money or in kind. No person shall be held criminally liable for an act which was not a legally recognized crime at the time of its commission, nor shall the penalty for an act be increased after the act was committed. No person shall be placed in double jeopardy for the same offense. No person shall be found guilty of a crime or punished by legislation. Contracts to which a citizen is a party shall not be impaired by legislation. No person shall be imprisoned for debt. A warrant for search and seizure may not issue except from a justice or judge on probable cause supported by an affidavit particularly describing the place, persons, or things to be searched, arrested, or seized.

Section 7

A person accused of a criminal offense shall be presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt and shall enjoy the right to be informed of the nature of the accusation and to a speedy, public and impartial trial. He shall be permitted full opportunity to examine all witnesses and shall have the right of compulsory process for obtaining witnesses and evidence on his behalf at public expense. He shall not be compelled to testify against himself. At all times the accused shall have the right to counsel. If the accused is unable to afford counsel, he shall be assigned counsel by the government. Accused persons lawfully detained shall be separated from convicted criminals and on the basis of sex and age. Bail may not be unreasonably excessive nor denied those accused and detained before trial. The writ of habeas corpus is hereby recognized and may not be suspended. The national government may be held liable in a civil action for unlawful arrest or damage to private property as prescribed by law. Coerced or forced confessions shall not be admitted into evidence nor may a person be convicted or punished solely on the basis of a confession without corroborating evidence.

Section 8

A victim of a criminal offense may be compensated by the government as prescribed by law or at the discretion of the court.

Section 9

A citizen of Palau may enter and leave Palau and may migrate within Palau.

Section 10

Torture, cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment, and excessive fines are prohibited.

Section 11

Slavery or involuntary servitude is prohibited except to punish crime. The government shall protect children from exploitation.

Section 12

A citizen has the right to examine any government document and to observe the official deliberations of any agency of government.

Section 13

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.