MICRONESIA: National Laws

Summary: General overview of Micronesia's national legal provisions on children's rights, including guidance on how to conduct further research.

National laws on children's rights 

Status of the CRC in national law

Article XI Section 6 of the Federal Constitution of Micronesia provides that national courts have jurisdiction in cases arising out of the Constitution, national law and treaties. This means that the Convention on the Rights of the Child can be cited in domestic courts and, indeed, the Convention has been cited as a source of law in Micronesian courts. All decisions of the courts must be consistent with the Constitution (Art. XI, section 11), so if the Convention were in conflict with the Constitution, the courts would apply the Constitution. It is not clear whether the Convention or domestic legislation would prevail should they be in conflict.

Constitution: Articles IV and V of the Constitution of the Federated States of Micronesia contain a number of rights provisions that apply regardless of age, but none that make specific reference to the rights of children.

Legislation: there is no comprehensive or consolidated Children's Act in Micronesian law, rather relevant legislation can be found throughout the Federal Code and in other laws and regulations. Relevant legislation includes, but is by no means limited to:

  • Code of the Federated States of Micronesia, 12 FSMC, Chapter 11 on juvenile justice

  • Code of the Federated States of Micronesia, 11 FSMC, Chapters 1 to 12 on criminal offences

  • Code of the Federated States of Micronesia, 12 FSMC, Chapters 1 to 17 on criminal procedure

  • Code of the Federated States of Micronesia, 40 FSMC, Chapters 1 to 7 on education

  • Code of the Federated States of Micronesia, 41 FSMC, Chapter 5 on child abuse

  • Code of the Federated States of Micronesia, 41 FSMC, Chapter 4 on the immunisation of school children

  • Code of the Federated States of Micronesia, 41 FSMC, Chapter 6 on sanitation

Note on the legal system of Micronesia: Micronesia is a federal State in which the power to legislate on specific issues is divided between the Federal Government and the four separate states (Chuuk, Kosrae, Pohnpei and Yap). Each state has its own constitution which elaborates the powers reserved to the State level and the Federal government's powers are laid out in the Constitution of the Federated States.

Legal Research

The website of the Supreme Court provides access to the Constitution (http://fsmsupremecourt.org/WebSite/fsm/constitution/index.htm), Federal Code (http://fsmsupremecourt.org/WebSite/fsm/code/index.htm), other regulations (http://fsmsupremecourt.org/index.htm) and the Constitutions of the four States of Micronesia (http://fsmsupremecourt.org/index_state.htm). In addition, the GlobaLex project at New York University has published a guide to legal research in the South Pacific (http://www.nyulawglobal.org/Globalex/South_Pacific_Law1.htm) and the World Legal Information Institute (http://www.worldlii.org/links/2131.html) and the U.S. Law Library of Congress (http://www.loc.gov/law/help/guide/nations/micronesia.php). All resources are available in English.

Case Law

CRC Jurisprudence

The State Court of Kosrae has considered the Convention on the Rights of the Child in relation to the imposition of community service penalties for children in conflict with the law (http://www.crin.org/Law/instrument.asp?InstID=1516).

Case Law Research

A selection of the decisions of the Supreme Court is available through the Pacific Legal Information Institute (http://www.paclii.org/fm/cases/FMSC/) as is the case law of the Chuuk State Court (http://www.paclii.org/fm/cases/FMCSC/) Kosrae State Court (http://www.paclii.org/fm/cases/FMKSC/), Pohnpei State Court (http://www.paclii.org/fm/cases/FMPSC/) and Yap State Court (http://www.paclii.org/fm/cases/FMYSC/). The Interim Reporter provides an online index of reported case law with links to judgments made before 2007 (http://www.paclii.org/fm/indices/cases/FSM_LR_Main.html). All resources are available in English.

Compliance with the CRC

Micronesia has not reported to the Committee on the Rights of the Child since 1998, so many of the Committee's recommendations may now be out of date. However, as of 1998, the Committee expressed concern at the absence of legislation on a number of areas of the law relevant to children, specifically the lack of legislation regulating child labour, the absence of a clear definition for the minimum age of criminal responsibility, the low minimum age of sexual consent, the lack of harmonisation between the different ages of sexual consent among the four states and the lack of legislation on neglect, abuse and sexual exploitation.

The Committee also expressed concern at the potential for conflict between customary and statutory law, in particular regarding marriage and adoption. In order to address, this problem, the Committee urged the State to initiate a comprehensive review of existing legislation with a view to harmonising legislation on children across the Federal and State level with the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Committee also recommended that the State harmonise customary practices and law, including those pertaining to marriage and adoption, with the Convention. 

Current legal reform projects

In 1998 the State reported that preparing draft legislation on sexual abuse and exploitation was before the Congress. CRIN has not been able to find evidence of the legislation being enacted at the time of writing, and as of the State's Universal Periodic Review in 2010, the State was still receiving recommendations to amend its laws on sexual exploitation and abuse of children.  


Please note that these reports are hosted by CRIN as a resource for Child Rights campaigners, researchers and other interested parties. Unless otherwise stated, they are not the work of CRIN and their inclusion in our database does not necessarily signify endorsement or agreement with their content by CRIN.