Constitutional Provisions

The 1986 Constitution of Tuvalu protects the rights to life and to freedom from inhuman treatment. The right to life is not, though, violated where a person dies

as the result of the use, to such extent and in such circumstances as are permitted by law, of such force as is reasonably necessary —

(a) for the defence of any person from violence; or
(b) for the defence of property; or
(c) in order to effect a lawful arrest or to prevent the escape of any person lawfully detained; or
(d) for the purpose of suppressing a riot, rebellion or mutiny; or
(e) in order to prevent him from committing an offence,

or if he dies as the result of a lawful act of war.S. 16(2), 1986 Constitution of Tuvalu.

This is more permissive than internattional law allows. 

Section 19 of the Constitution generally prohibits torture and inhuman or degrading punishment or treatment.

Section 25 guarantees the right to assemble freely, but makes it subject to laws protecting the interests of defence, public safety, public order, public morality, or public health, or for the purpose of protecting the rights or freedoms of others.

The Constitution requires that the Tuvalu Parliament "make provision for and in relation to" the Tuvalu Police and a Prison Service.S. 139, 1986 Constitution of Tuvalu.

The United Nations Development Programme has been managing the Tuvalu Constitutional Review Project (TCRP), which supports a review of the Tuvalu constitution "considering the socio-economic and political challenges". The TCRP was due to end by July 2019.

Treaty Adherence

Global Treaties

Adherence to Selected Human Rights Treaties
1966 Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) Not party
ICCPR Optional Protocol 1 N/A
1984 Convention against Torture (CAT) Not party
Competence of CAT Committee to receive individual complaints N/A
CAT Optional Protocol 1 N/A
Adherence to International Criminal Law Treaties
1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court Not party

Regional Treaties

There is not yet a regional human rights treaty to which Pacific nations can adhere despite discussions going back decades as to the possibility of establishing a regional mechanism.

National Legislation

Police Use of Force

Tuvalu's national police service, the Tuvalu Police Force, is headquartered on Funafuti. The 2008 Police Act of Tuvalu does not regulate the use of force.

Under Section 16(2) of the 2008 Criminal Procedure Code, if a person forcibly resists a police officer's attempt "to arrest him, or attempts to evade the arrest, such police officer or other person may use all means necessary to effect the arrest". The provision further specifies that 

nothing in this section contained shall be deemed to justify the use of greater force than was reasonable in the particular circumstances in which it was employed or was necessary for the apprehension of the offender.

Section 18 of the 2008 Criminal Code provides that:

Where any person is charged with a criminal offence arising out of the lawful arrest, or attempted arrest, by him of a person who forcibly resists such arrest or attempts to evade being arrested, the court shall, in considering whether the means used were necessary, or the degree of force used was reasonable, for the apprehension of such person, have regard to the gravity of the offence which had been or was being committed by such person and the circumstances in which such offence had been or was being committed by such person. 

The Police Powers and Duties Regulations (2012) does not govern police use of force.

Police Oversight

There is not yet an independent civilian police oversight body in Tuvalu, though in 2017 the Parliament of Tuvalu passed legislation to establish an independent rights body.



Tuvalu is not a state party to either the ICCPR or the CAT. 


There is no regional human rights mechanism addressing police use of force in Tuvalu.


1986 Constitution of Tuvalu

2008 Police Act of Tuvalu

2008 Criminal Procedure Code

2008 Criminal Code

2012 Police Powers and Duties Regulations