Fundamental Rights, Freedoms and Duties

Chapter III Fundamental Rights, Freedoms, and Duties

Article 14: Equality under the Law
  1. All persons are equal before the law.
  2. No person may be discriminated against on account of race, ethnic origin, language, color, sex, religion, disability, political belief or opinion, or social or economic status or any other factors.
  3. The National Assembly shall, pursuant to the provisions of this Article, enact laws that can assist in eliminating inequalities existing in the Eritrean society.
Article 15: Right to Life and Liberty
  1. No person shall be deprived of life without due process of law.
  2. No person shall be deprived of liberty without due process of law.
Article 16: Right to Human Dignity
  1. The dignity of all persons shall be inviolable.
  2. No person shall be subject to torture or to cruel, inhuman or
  3. degrading treatment or punishment.
  4. No person shall be held in slavery or servitude or required to perform forced labor not authorized by law.
Article 17: Arrest, Detention and Fair Trial
  1. No person may be arrested or detained save pursuant to due process of law.
  2. No person shall be tried or convicted for any act or omission which did not constitute a criminal offense at the time when it was committed.
  3. Every person arrested or detained shall be informed of the grounds for his arrest or detention and the rights he has in connection with his arrest or detention in a language he understands.
  4. Every person who is arrested and detained in custody shall be brought before the court with forty-eight (48) hours of his arrest, and if this is not reasonably possible, as soon as possible thereafter, and no such person shall be detained in custody beyond such period without the authority of the court.
  5. Every person shall have the right to petition the court for a Writ of Habeas Corpus. Where the arresting officer fails to bring him before the court of law and provide the reason for their arrest, the court shall accept the petition and order the release of the prisoner.
  6. Every person charged with an offense shall be entitled to a fair and public hearing by a court of law; provided, however, that such a court may exclude the press and/or the public from all or any part of the trial for reasons of morals, the public order or national security, as is necessary in a just and democratic society.
  7. A person charged with an offense shall be presumed to be innocent, and shall not be punished, unless he is found guilty by a court.
  8. Where an accused is convicted, he shall have the right to appeal. No person shall be liable to be tried again for any criminal offense on which judgment has been rendered.

Article 18: Right to Privacy
  1. Every person shall have the right to privacy.
  2. No person shall be subjected to unlawful search, including his home or other property; there shall be no unlawful entry of his premises and no unlawful seizure of his personal possessions; nor shall the privacy of his correspondence, communication or other property be violated.

Article 19: Freedom of Conscience, Religion, Expression of Opinion,
Movement, Assembly and Organization
  1. Every person shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and belief.
  2. Every person shall have the freedom of speech and expression, which include freedom of the press and other media.
  3. Every citizen shall have the right of access to information.
  4. Every person shall have the freedom to practice any religion and to manifest such practice.
  5. All persons shall have the right to assemble and to demonstrate together with others peaceably.
  6. Every citizen shall have the right to form organizations for political, social, economic and cultural ends; and to practice any profession, or engage in any occupation or trade.
  7. Every citizen shall have the right to move freely throughout Eritrea or reside and settle in any part thereof.
  8. Every citizen shall have the right to leave and return to Eritrea and to be provided with passport or any other travel documents.
Article 20: Right to Vote and to be a Candidate to an Elective Office

Every citizen who fulfills the requirements of the electoral law shall have the right to vote or to campaign to be elected to any office of leadership in government.

Article 21: Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and Responsibilities
  1. Every citizen shall have the right of equal access to publicly funded social services. The State shall endeavor, within the limit of its resources, to make available to all citizens health, education, cultural and other social services.
  2. The State shall secure, within available means, the social welfare of all citizens and particularly those disadvantaged.
  3. Every citizen shall have the right to engage freely in any economic activity and to pursue a livelihood.
  4. The State and society shall have the responsibility of identifying, preserving, developing, when necessary, and bequeathing to succeeding generation historical and cultural heritage; shall lay the necessary groundwork for the development of arts, sport, science and technology; and shall encourage citizens to participate in such endeavors.
  5. The National Assembly shall enact laws that guarantee and secure the social welfare of citizens and other rights and responsibilities listed in this Article.

Article 22: Family
  1. The family is the natural and fundamental unit of society and is entitled to the protection and special care of the State and society.
  2. Men and women of full legal age shall have the right, upon their consent, to marry and to found a family freely, without any discrimination and they shall have equal rights and duties as to all family affairs.
  3. Parents have the right and duty to bring up their children with proper care and affection; and, in turn, children have the right and the duty to respect their parents and to sustain them in their old age.
Article 23: Right to Property
  1. Subject to the provisions of Sub-Article 2 of this Article, any citizen shall have the right, any where in Eritrea, to acquire, own, and dispose of all property individually or in association with others and to bequeath to his heirs or legatees.
  2. All land, water and natural resources below and above the surface of the territory of Eritrea belongs to the State. Usurious rights of citizens shall be determined by law.
  3. The State or any of its organs authorized by law may expropriate property in the national or public interest, subject to the payment of just compensation and in accordance with due process of law.
Article 24: Administrative Justice
  1. Any person with a complaint shall have the right to be heard
  2. respectfully by administrative officials and to receive appropriate and quick answer from them.
  3. Any person whose rights or interests are interfered with or threatened shall have the right to seek due administrative redress.
Article 25: Duties of Citizens

All citizens shall have the duty to:
  1. owe allegiance to Eritrea, strive for its development and promote its prosperity;
  2. be ready to defend the country;
  3. complete one's duty in the National Service;
  4. advance national unity and the well-being of the people;
  5. know, respect and defend the Constitution;
  6. respect the rights and freedoms of others;
  7. respect the rule of law and comply with the requirements of the law.
Article 26: Limitation Upon Fundamental Rights and Freedoms
  1. The fundamental rights and freedoms guaranteed under this Constitution may be limited only in so far as is necessary in a just and democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, health or morals, for the prevention of public disorder or crime or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.
  2. Any law providing for the limitation of the fundamental rights and freedoms guaranteed in this Constitution must:
    • be consistent with the principles of a just and democratic society;
    • be of general application and not negate the essential content of the right or freedom in question;
    • specify the ascertainable extent of such limitation and identify the Article or Articles hereof on which authority to enact such limitation is claimed to rest.
  3. Notwithstanding the provisions of Sub-Article 1 of this Article and other Articles of this Constitution to the contrary, the fundamental rights and freedoms guaranteed under Articles 14(1) and (2), 17 (2), 19 (4) of this Constitution shall not be limited.

Article 27: State of Emergency
  1. At a time when public safety or the security or stability of the State is threatened by external invasion, by civil disorder or by natural disaster, the President may by a proclamation published in the Gazette of Eritrean Laws declare that a state of emergency exists in Eritrea or any part thereof.
  2. A declaration under Sub-Article 1 hereof shall not become effective unless approved by a resolution passed by a two-thirds majority votes of all members of the National Assembly. In the case of a declaration made when the National Assembly is session, the declaration shall be presented within two days after its publication, or otherwise the National Assembly shall be summoned to meet and approve the publication within thirty days of its declaration.
  3. A declaration approved by the National Assembly pursuant to Sub- Article 2 hereof shall continue to be in force until the expiration of a period of six months after such approval. The National Assembly may, by a resolution of two-thirds majority votes of all its members, extend is approval of the declaration for periods of three months at a time.
  4. The National Assembly may by resolution at any time revoke a declaration approved by it pursuant to the provisions of this Article.
  5. Any measures undertaken or laws enacted pursuant to a declaration of a state of emergency shall not:
    • suspend Article 26 (3) of the Constitution;
    • grant pardon or amnesty to any person or persons who, acting under the authority of the State, have committed illegal acts; or
    • introduce martial law when no external invasion exists or civil disorder prevails.
Article 28: Enforcement of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms
  1. Save in so far as it may be authorized to do so by this Constitution, the National Assembly or any subordinate legislative authority shall not make any law, and the Executive and the agencies of government shall not take any action which abolishes or abridges the fundamental rights and freedoms conferred by this Constitution. Any law or action in violation thereof shall be null and void.
  2. Aggrieved persons who claim that a fundamental right or freedom guaranteed by this Constitution has been denied or violated shall be entitled to approach a competent court to enforce or protect such a right or freedom. Where the court ascertains that such fundamental right or freedom has been denied or violated, the court shall have the power to make all such orders as shall be necessary to secure such applicants the enjoyment of such fundamental right or freedom, and where such applicants suffer damage, to include an award of monetary compensation.
Article 29: Residual Rights

The rights enumerated in this Chapter shall not preclude other rights, which ensue from the spirit of this Constitution and the principles of a society based on social justice, democracy and the rule of law.