21 July 2019

A Note on Sexuality and Land Rights in East Timor

LGBT Pride East Timor 2017 East Timor Law Justice Bulletin Warren L Wright
ETLJB 21 July 2019 -  When the Constitution was being drafted, an early draft included in the non-discrimination provisions, a reference to sexuality. This clause was subsequently omitted and does not appear in the Constitution.

Homophobia, discrimination and marginalisation of gay East Timorese are being transformed not only by the gay community itself through public self-expression and assertion of identity but also in enlightened law and policy enacted subsequently.

In this regard, the provisions of the Land Law of 2017, are most worthy of note.

In the definitions section of the law, there is a definition of “vulnerable groups” in Article 2:

i) "vulnerable groups" means all persons who, because of questions relating to ethnicity, religion, provenance, condition social, gender, sexual orientation, age, physical or mental disability, are less likely to exercise their rights as citizens.

The original Portuguese text reads:

i) “Grupos vulneráveis”, o conjunto de pessoas que, em virtude de questões relacionadas com a sua etnia, religião, proveniência, condição social, género, orientação sexual, idade, incapacidade física ou mental, está numa posição mais suscetível de ver violados os seus direitos como cidadãos.

The inclusion of sexual orientation in this law is an important advance in the liberation of gay citizens from oppression, exclusion and stigmatisation, and not infrequently, violence.

See also
Homosexuality in East Timor
HIV-AIDS and Homophobia in Timor-Leste

Warren L. Wright BA LLB

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