Timor-Leste 2002 Constitution


The independence of East Timor, proclaimed by the Frente Revolucionária of Independent East Timor (FRETILIN) on November 28, 1975, is internationally recognized on May 20, 2002, following the liberation of the Timorese people from the colonization and occupation of the Maubere Motherland by foreign powers.

The elaboration and adoption of the Constitution of the Democratic Republic of East Timor is the culmination of the secular resistance of the Timorese People intensified following the invasion of December 7, 1975.

The struggle waged against the enemy, initially under the leadership of FRETILIN, gave way to more comprehensive forms of political participation, particularly in the wake of the establishment of the National Council of the Maubere Resistance (CNRT) in 1987 and the National Council of Timorese Resistance (CNRT) in 1998.

The Resistance was divided into three fronts.

The armed front was carried out by the glorious Forças Armadas de Libertação Nacional de Timor-Leste (FALINTIL) whose historical undertaking is to be praised.

The action of the clandestine front, astutely unleashed in hostile territory, involved the sacrifice of thousands of lives of women and men, especially the youth, who fought with abnegation for freedom and independence.

The diplomatic front, harmoniously carried out all over the world, enabled the opening of the way for definitive liberation.

In its cultural and humane perspective, the Catholic Church in East Timor has always been able to take on the suffering of all the People with dignity, placing itself on their side in the defense of their most elementary rights.

Ultimately, the present Constitution represents a heart-felt tribute to all martyrs of the Motherland.

Thus, the Members of the Constituent Assembly, as the legitimate representatives of the People, were elected on August 30, 2001.

Based further on the results of the referendum of August 30, 1999, organized under the auspices of the United Nations, which confirmed the self-determined will for independence;

Fully conscious of the need to build a democratic and institutional culture appropriate for a State based on the rule of law where respect for the Constitution, for the laws and for democratically elected institutions constitute its unquestionable foundation;

Interpreting the profound sentiment, the aspirations and the faith in God of the People of East Timor;

Solemnly reaffirm their determination to fight all forms of tyranny, oppression, social, cultural or religious domination and segregation, to defend national independence, to respect and guarantee human rights and the fundamental rights of the citizen, to ensure the principle of the separation of powers in the organization of the State, and to establish the essential rules of multi-party democracy, with a view to building a just and prosperous nation and developing a society of solidarity and fraternity.

The Constituent Assembly, meeting in plenary session on March 22, 2002, approves and decrees the following Constitution of the Democratic Republic of East Timor.