East Timor: Assembly approves structure of draft constitution

East Timor: Assembly approves structure of draft constitution

East Timor’s Constituent Assembly today approved the overall structure of the nation’s first draft Constitution, with debate on the draft’s 151 articles scheduled to begin early next week, the United Nations Transitional Administration reported from the capital, Dili.

UNTAET, as the UN mission is known, said that the draft Constitution was distributed to each of the Assembly’s 88 members yesterday, and released to the public on Friday. The Assembly’s Systemization and Harmonization Committee completed the draft earlier this week, and translations of the Portuguese-language text were being currently produced.

The structure – which was approved by a vote of 72 members in favour, 2 against, and 9 abstentions – is designed to guide the work of the four thematic groups that produced separate sections of the draft Constitution.

An affirmative vote of at least 60 of the 88 assembly members will be needed for the Constitution to pass.

In other news from East Timor, the territory’s Chief Minister, Marí Alkatiri, today issued a statement calling for an end to domestic violence in East Timor.

“I have been informed with concern that domestic violence cases are on the increase and lot of our people consider beating a wife a private matter not to be discussed publicly,” the Chief Minister said.

“The Second Transitional Government is preoccupied with the reconciliation process which will lead to healing among the East Timorese,” the statement said. “This process can only be a success if it begins in the family. We are therefore committed to creating a culture of peace and respect for human rights of all our people. Our women and girls should enjoy their freedom without violence.”