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Constitution as adopted on 23 January 1961.

Article 3

    (1) The national language of the Republic of Vanuatu is Bislama. The official languages are Bislama, English and French. The principal languages of education are English and French.

    (2) The Republic of Vanuatu shall protect the different local languages which are part of the national heritage, and may declare one of them as a national language.

Article 5

    (1) The Republic of Vanuatu recognises, that, subject to any restrictions imposed by law on non-citizens, all persons are entitled to the following fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual without discrimination on the grounds of race, place of origin, religious or traditional beliefs, political opinions, language or sex but subject to respect for the rights and freedoms of others and to the legitimate public interest in defence, safety, public order, welfare and health -
      (a) life;
      (b) liberty;
      (c) security of the person;
      (d) protection of the law;
      (e) freedom from inhuman treatment and forced labour;

    (2) Protection of the law shall include the following-

      (c) everyone charged shall be informed promptly in a language he understands of the offence with which he is being charged;
      (d) if an accused does not understand the language to be used in the proceedings he shall be provided with an interpreter throughout the proceedings;

Article 30

    (1) The National Council of Chiefs has a general competence to discuss all matters relating to custom and tradition and may make recommendations for the preservation and promotion of ni-Vanuatu culture and languages.

    (2) The Council may be consulted on any question, particularly any question relating to tradition and custom, in connection with any bill before Parliament.

Article 64

    (1) A citizen of Vanuatu may obtain, in the official language that he uses, the services which he may rightfully expect from the administration of the Republic of Vanuatu.

    (2) Where a citizen considers that there has been a breach of subarticle (1) he may make a complaint to the Ombudsman who shall conduct an enquiry in accordance with Articles 62 and 63.

    (3) The Ombudsman shall, each year, make a special report to Parliament concerning the observance of multilingualism and the measures likely to ensure its respect.

Article 86

    A bill for an amendment of a provision of the Constitution regarding the status of Bislama, English and French, the electoral system, or the parliamentary system, passed by Parliament under Article 85, shall not come into effect unless it has been supported in a national referendum.

Note: The complete text of the Constitution of Vanuatu can be found on the website maintained by the Government of Vanuatu.

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