Robinson advises East Timor constitutional assembly on human rights

In a letter to the Speaker of East Timor’s Constituent Assembly, Ms. Robinson welcomes the primacy given to the protection of human rights in the draft text, including the promotion of women’s status in the society, and notes with appreciation that fundamental rights in the constitution are to be interpreted in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.Ms. Robinson goes on to strongly recommend that this provision be extended to include other international human rights treaties and conventions such as those dealing with civil and political rights and economic, social and cultural rights.The High Commissioner also points out that there is no legitimate basis for differentiating between persons with original and acquired citizenship, and recommends that all persons within the country’s jurisdiction have their inherent human rights recognized and protected by the State.The letter also suggests that the constitution provide for an independent national institution to promote and protect human rights.Meanwhile, the Assembly today continued its deliberations on the draft text, passing another six articles of the territory’s first-ever constitution. Articles 80 through 84, passed with significant majorities, relate to the powers and responsibilities of the President, including the duty to appoint and swear-in the Prime Minister. Article 85 deals with the composition of the Council of State.

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