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Pacific Island States - Regional Workshop on Establishing NHRIs

Representatives from 13 Pacific countries will participate in a regional workshop to discuss issues around the establishment of national human rights institutions (NHRIs) in their island states.

The workshop, co-organised by the APF, the OHCHR and the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, will be held in Samoa from 27 – 29 April 2009.

It aims to contribute to the dialogue on human rights in the Pacific by engaging government representatives, parliamentarians, public officials and members of civil society on issues relating to the establishment of NHRIs.

Although a number of human rights mechanisms do exist in the Pacific – such as safeguards in national constitutions, good governance structures and active civil society groups – concerns have been raised about the effectiveness of human rights protection in the region.

Over the last few years, there has been increasing dialogue about forms of human rights mechanisms for the Pacific and the development of the Pacific Plan of Action for Strengthening Regional Cooperation and Integration, endorsed by Pacific leaders in 2005, has given significant momentum to the issue.

Currently one Pacific Island state – Fiji – has established a NHRI. However, a number of others, including Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Palau, have undertaken preliminary steps towards establishing NHRIs.

The Regional Workshop will bring together representatives from the Cook Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, the Republic of Marshall Islands, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu, along with participants from the Commonwealth Secretariat and Pacific-based UN agencies.

It aims to provide participants with the relevant knowledge and methodological tools developed by the United Nations for establishing NHRIs, with a particular focus on the internationally agreed standards set out in the Paris Principles.

It will also provide a forum to share lessons learned from NHRIs around the region, especially the experiences of NHRIs on small island states such as the Maldives and Timor Leste.

Other topics that will be discussed during the three day workshop include:

  • applying the Paris Principles in the Pacific context;
  • the benefits of having an independent and operational NHRI;
  • the process of establishing a NHRI; and
  • the legal provisions required for establishing NHRIs in accordance the Paris Principles, including foundation, appointment process, membership and methods of operation.

In the short term, the workshop aims to raise awareness among Pacific stakeholders on the important role and functions of NHRIs and to identify opportunities to provide coordinated support to countries wanting to take steps towards establishing a NHRI.

In the longer term, it is hoped that a strategy can be developed for each Pacific Island country to establish a NHRI and that there will be a growing number of NHRIs established in the Pacific in compliance with the Paris Principles.

Documents

Assessing the Effectiveness of National Human Rights Institutions

Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Handbook for National Human Rights Institutions

National Human Rights Institutions Pathways for Pacific States

OHCHR annual report on National institutions for the promotion and protection of human rights

Pacific plan good governance work program 2008-2010

Samoa Declaration

 

Pacific Island Forum Member States

Australia
Australia

Palau
Palau

Cook Islands
Cook Islands


Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea


Micronesia (Federated States of)
Micronesia (Federated States of)
Marshall Islands
Marshall Islands

Fiji
Fiji

Samoa
Samoa
Kiribati
Kiribati

Solomon Islands
Solomon Islands

Nauru
Nauru

Tonga
Tonga

New Zealand
New Zealand
Tuvalu
Tuvalu

NIUE
Niue

Vanuatu
Vanuatu
 
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