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Community Land in the East Timor Land Law of 2017

Communal land tenure - East Timor - Protection of Customary Rights - Land Law

There follows a human-modified machine translation of Chapter 4 of the East Timor Land Law 2017.

CHAPTER IV Areas of Community Protection and Land

Article 23 Areas of Community Protection

Community protection zones are areas protected by the State for the purpose of safeguarding the common interests of a local community through special protection areas, agricultural areas, cultivated or fallowed, forests, cultural importance, places of sacred worship or linked to local tradition, pastures, water sources or areas where there are natural resources whose use is shared and necessary for their subsistence.

Article 24 Protection

In the community protection areas, the State shall:

a) Ensure that customary practices respect the Constitution, are participatory, not discriminatory and ensure gender equality;

b) Promote environmental sustainability and sociocultural use of natural resources and livelihoods of the local community;

c) Protect community land from land speculation.

Article 25 Use of Land in Community Protection Areas



1. The use of land by individuals, families and groups in areas of community protection should be respected by the community and protected by State.

2. It shall be the responsibility of the State to ensure that third parties’ use of land located in community protection areas for economic purposes shall:

a) Benefits the local community as a whole, in an inclusive way and is not discriminatory;

(b) Be made in a sustainable way from the environmental and sociocultural perspectives;

c) Respects community livelihoods’ access to natural resources.

3. The use by third parties of land located in community protection areas of an economic nature must be preceded by consultation with the local community, in accordance with the provisions of special legislation.

Article 26 Ownership of land in community protection areas

The classification of an area as a community protection zone does not affect the ownership of the land rights situated therein by natural or legal persons or by the State, without prejudice to limitations arising from the protection regime.

Article 27 Community land

1. They are considered property of The local community’s land shall be considered as land recognised by the community as being of their common and shared use, for a group of individuals or families, organised according to local customs and customs.

2. Community land shall be inalienable and unattainable.

3. The demarcation of community land shall follow the rules established in this law and the provisions to be determined in a specific legislative instrument.

4. Ownership of community land shall be considered as an informal right of property for the purpose of dispute.

Article 28 Scheme of Community Protection Areas, community property and community buildings

The system of community protection zones and property shall be regulated by law. END

East Timor Law & Justice Bulletin

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