ETLJB 06 November 2013 - East Timor's leading law and justice civil society organisation, the Judicial System Monitoring Program has appealed to the Government to translate all laws, most of which are written only in Portuguese, into Tetum. Most of the community, particularly in rural areas, still does not understand Portuguese and so are unable to comprehend the new laws enacted by the Parliament and the Government.
Tetum, along with Portuguese are both official languages of East Timor but most laws are published only in Portuguese and this raised problems for access to justice, law enforcement, in judicial proceedings and for the upholding of citizens' legal rights.
The Minister for Justice Dionisio Babo Soares, while acknowledging the problem, is reported to have said that it was not easy to translate all the laws into Tetun so they needed to go slowly.
“Currently the government has a policy of translating into Tetun before raising awareness,” said the Minister of Justice. Source: The Dili Weekly 14 October 2013 Edited by Warren L. Wright
East Timor: Language and The Law by Warren L. Wright on East Timor Law Journal
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