Government orders suspension of teaching, learning and practicing of martial arts and adopts measures to ensure public order

Presidency of the Council of Ministers

Spokesperson of the Government of Timor-Leste
Ninth Constitutional Government


Dili, November 10th 2023

Press Release

Government orders suspension of teaching, learning and practicing of martial arts and adopts measures to ensure public order

Given the serious incidents that have taken place in recent days in different parts of the country involving members of martial arts groups, resulting in 4 fatalities, 26 injuries and material damage to 21 homes and 10 vehicles, the Government decided, through Government Resolution 45/2023 of November 10th, to suspend the teaching, learning and practice of martial arts and the practice of ritual arts throughout the country for six months. It also ordered the suspension of the operating authorisation of centres, clubs and schools for the practice of martial arts, as well as the closure of all premises and facilities for the teaching, learning and practice of martial arts for six months.

With this Resolution, the Government directs the Martial Arts Regulatory Commission to carry out an inspection within 90 days, identifying all the centres, clubs or schools that teach, learn and practice martial arts, the individuals responsible for organising and teaching martial arts, and the owners of places or facilities where those activities take place, whether authorised or not, throughout the national territory, to present a report to the Government with the results of the survey carried out, and to inform the Timor-Leste National Police and the other competent authorities.

The National Police of Timor-Leste (PNTL) should carry out a special crime prevention operation in the geographical areas where the violence associated with martial arts was recorded, under Article 33 of Law No. 5/2017, of April 19th. The PNTL should also carry out other special crime prevention operations necessary to prevent and control illegal acts related to the practice of martial arts, namely in Dili and in areas of the country where there is a higher risk of incidents.

With this Government Resolution, the Minister of the Interior and the Minister of Defence are instructed to take the necessary steps to identify police and military officers involved in the organisation or practice of martial arts. They should also promote actions to raise awareness and train police and military officers in the Government's zero-tolerance policy towards their involvement in martial arts organisations.

The Government instructs civil servants, public administration agents and contracted personnel to fully comply with the Code of Ethics, namely regarding involvement in illicit practices related to martial arts, and calls on all citizens and community leaders to collaborate with the security forces to identify the illicit practice of martial arts.

The Minister for Youth, Sport, Arts and Culture is hereby instructed to promote the necessary initiatives to raise awareness among the population, especially young people, of the importance of practising sport in a healthy way and to adopt the acts required to implement and fully comply with this Resolution concerning the suspension of activity and closure of centres, clubs and schools for the practice of martial arts. END

To access Government Resolution No. 45/2023, dated November 10th, (in Portuguese and Tetum), click here!