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Vanuatu has dedicated counterterrorism and terrorist financing legislation. There is a carve-out for the exercise of certain fundamental human rights and for acts in armed conflict that comply with international humanitarian law. 

Compliance with International Law:
Last updated: one year ago

The Definition of Terrorism in Domestic Law

Vanuatu defines a terrorist act in Section 3(1) of its 2005 Counter Terrorism Act as follows:

(a) is an act or omission that:

  (i) involves death or serious bodily harm to a person; or

  (ii) involves serious damage to property; or

  (iii) endangers a person’s life; or

  (iv) creates a serious risk to the health or safety of the public or a section of the public; or

  (v) involves the use of firearms, explosives or any other weapons; or

  (vi) involves releasing into the environment or distributing or exposing the public to any dangerous, hazardous, radioactive or harmful substance, toxic chemical, microbial or other biological agent or toxin; or

  (vii) is designed or intended to disrupt any computer system or other system or the provision of services directly related to communications infrastructure, banking, financial services, utilities, transportation or other essential infrastructure; or

  (viii) is designed or intended to disrupt the provision of essential emergency services such as police, civil defence or medical services; or

  (ix) involves prejudice to national security or public safety; or

  (x) violates the national sovereignty and the territorial integrity of a country; or

  (xi) involves armed aggression against a country, not being self defence; and

(b) is intended, or by its nature and context, may reasonably be regarded as being intended to:

  (i) intimidate the public or a section of the public; or

  (ii) compel a government or an international organisation to do, or refrain from doing, any act; and

(c) is made for the purpose of advancing a political, ideological or religious cause.

There is a carve-out for the exercise of certain fundamental rights and for lawful acts in armed conflict:

However, an act or omission mentioned in subsection (1) does not include an act or omission that: 

(a) is committed as part of an advocacy, protest, demonstration, dissent or industrial action and is not intended to result in any harm mentioned in subparagraph (1)(a)(i), (ii), (iii) or (iv); or

(b) occurs in a situation or armed conflict and is, at the time and in the place it occurred, in accordance with rules of international law applicable to the conflict.S. 3(2), 2005 Counter Terrorism Act.

Adherence to Global and Regional Terrorism Treaties


Vanuatu is a State Party to only one of the main United Nations treaties on terrorism.


Adherence to Global Terrorism Treaties
Treaty Adherence
1973 Convention on Crimes against Internationally Protected Persons State not party
1979 Hostage-Taking Convention State not party
1997 Terrorist Bombings Convention State not party
1999 Terrorist Financing Convention State Party
2005 Nuclear Terrorism Convention State not party


There is currently no regional treaty on terrorism to which Vanuatu can adhere.

Laws and Penalties for Terrorist Offences

Section 5 of the 2005 Counter Terrorism Act prescribes twenty-five years imprisonment as the maximum sentence for terrorism offences.

Counterterrorism Capacities and Policies at Domestic Level

The Vanuatu Police do not have a dedicated counterterrorism unit.


Vanuatu 2005 Counter Terrorism and Transnational Organised Crime Act

Penal Code of Vanuatu

Vanuatu 2014 Counter-Terrorism Financing Act