Suva, Fiji – The Pacific Community’s (SPC) Regional Rights Resource Team (RRRT) has made a commitment to reduce its carbon footprint as it travels to provide technical assistance to Pacific governments and civil societies.

This comes after RRRT signed an agreement with EKOS, a New Zealand based-charity dedicated to environmental protection and social development, to offset carbon dioxide emissions from all RRRT staff flights. A carbon offset is a credit for greenhouse gas reductions achieved by one party that can be purchased and used to compensate (offset) the emissions of another party.

Through this partnership, all emissions related to travel will generate revenue for communities who have given up rights to logging timber and generate carbon credits officially sold on the voluntary carbon market. This scheme is certified by the Plan Vivo standard, the world’s leading Fair trade, community-based rainforest carbon standard.
The agreement demonstrates the programme’s commitment to a reduction in carbon emissions as another way to help curtail the impact of climate change on Pacific people’s rights to health, culture, family and well-being.

Under the agreement, RRRT is committing to offset annually all the flights its Suva and in-country staff undertake for work across the Pacific region, with EKOS then facilitating the carbon offsetting through its two rainforest conservation projects in Fiji and Vanuatu; in Fiji the Drawa Forest Project in Vanua Levu to conserve mature indigenous rainforest through avoiding forest degradation and legal protection of forest area; and in Vanuatu the Loru forest project in Santo to avoid deforestation through forest protection and management, and rehabilitate degraded forest areas.

“As RRRT starts to work more closely on mainstreaming a rights-based and community-centred approach within SPC and in climate change programming, the overall idea is to apply internally RRRT’s advice to member countries. This includes our commitment to an integrated approach to minimize travels within work countries to reduce carbon footprints,” SPC’s RRRT Acting Director, Nicol Cave said.

This offset scheme was set up in collaboration with SPC’s Climate Change and Environmental Sustainability programme, based in Noumea.

“RRRT has been very supportive to our internal environmental sustainability programme from its origin in 2012. This offset scheme is another demonstration of their great motivation on addressing their impact over climate change through more carbon friendly activities. I hope this incentive will give ideas to others in the region, as it is very simple and affordable,” SPC’s Environmental Sustainability Coordinator, Aude Chenet, said.

Media contact:
Onorina Saukelo RRRT Communications Assistant, [email protected] or +679 330 5582

About Us:
SPC is the principal scientific and technical organisation in the Pacific region, supporting sustainable development since 1947. It is an intergovernmental development organisation owned and governed by its 26 country and territory members.

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SPC Regional Rights Resource Team

 

Funafuti, Tuvalu – Tuvalu becomes the first Pacific country as well as one of the few in the world, to launch a national action plan on human rights.

Prime Minister Hon. Enele Sopoaga officially launched the Tuvalu National Action Plan yesterday, attended by Tuvalu’s government officials.

The National Action Plan is an outcome of a human rights dialogue with Tuvalu members of parliament in 2015, facilitated by the Pacific Community (SPC) with support from the European Union and the Australian Government.

The Prime Minister said: “When designing this National Action Plan, we were mindful of the challenges that come with implementing various commitments. Our development priorities will assist the marginalised, the old and the young, our men, women and children, our people with disabilities and all those who call Tuvalu home. It is in realising our most basic and fundamental rights that we realise our basic dignity and worth as human beings.”

The Prime Minister explained that the Tuvalu government is pleased to present its National Action Plan (NAP), which has been designed to reflect Tuvalu’s commitment, priorities and concerted efforts towards building our nation where the human rights of our people are safeguarded and protected.

Acting on recommendations from the human rights dialogue, the Tuvalu government sought SPC’s Regional Rights Resources Team’s (RRRT) assistance in conducting a series of stakeholder consultations with Government departments, NGOs and communities to identify human rights and social development priorities, and develop one overall national human rights action plan, aligned with Tuvalu’s National Development Plan.

Acting Director for SPC’s Human Rights program, Nicol Cave said: “This NAP is certainly a remarkable achievement and one deserving of recognition. Today as governments struggle to meet their human rights commitments, it is initiatives such as a NAP that assist government to better prioritise the implementation of their universal commitment to human rights and to realise the human rights of their people.”

SPC Senior Human Rights Adviser, Romulo Nayacalevu added: “SPC is proud to support the Tuvaluan Government and in particular SPC’s RRRT program remains steadfast in assisting the Tuvaluan government to achieve its call presented in the foreword of the Tuvaluan National Action Plan document. We congratulate the government of Tuvalu for this bold step to lead the way in realising the rights of communities, families and individuals in Tuvalu through and the formulation of its National Action Plan.”

The National Action Plan consolidates the country’s human rights commitments and ensures a systematic and coordinated approach to the delivery of the government’s human rights commitment, as well as to strengthen the government’s realisation of human rights in Tuvalu.

It captures Tuvalu’s existing commitments under human rights treaties to which it is a state party - the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC); the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and; the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) as well as Tuvalu’s commitments under the Universal periodic Review (UPR), the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Te Kakeega III-2016-2020 (TK III), Tuvalu’s National Development Plan.

With technical support from RRRT, this model is being pursued with all SPC member states and territories RRRT provides support to ensure a more coordinated and efficient manner of States tracking and monitoring their different commitments and obligations on human rights.

The National Action Plan is available on RRRT’s website at http://rrrt.spc.int/publications-media/publications/item/740-tuvalu-national-human-rights-action-plan.

ABOUT US

The Pacific Community (SPC) is the principal scientific and technical organisation in the Pacific region, proudly supporting development since 1947. It is an international development organisation owned and governed by its 26 country and territory members.

Media contact

Onorina Saukelo RRRT Communications Assistant, [email protected] or +679 330 5582

Useful link:

SPC Regional Rights Resource Team: http://rrrt.spc.int

Nuku’Alofa, Tonga – Members of the judiciary and lawyers in Tonga recently held discussions aimed at strengthening the implementation of the Family Protection Act in order to tackle domestic violence.

The consultations (12-14 December) were funded by the European Union while technical assistance, in the form of design and facilitation of the consultations, was provided by the Pacific Community (SPC).

Retired judge from New Zealand, Judge Phil Moran co-facilitated the workshops with SPC’s Regional Rights Resource Team (RRRT).

In separate consultations, magistrates and lawyers discussed some of the challenges they face in discharging their duties in relation to the implementation of the 2013 Family Protection Act and how they will continue to support the process of the implementation of this law.

Tonga passed the Family Protection Act in 2013, which essentially defines domestic violence and also provides for specific roles and protection mechanisms to assist those that are affected by domestic violence. Significant is the power of the court to issue Protection Orders, which have various conditions set out as per the law meant to protect victims of violence within domestic relationships.

The Act also provides for specific offences relating to domestic violence, ensuring that this form of violence is no longer considered a private matter.
The magistrates’ consultation analysed procedure, evidence and remedies provided in the Family Protection Act; and examined some of the challenges that have been faced in the implementation of this Act.

The consultation also drew the link between domestic violence and gender, and how expectations of men and women’s roles and responsibilities in society may impact access to justice after experiencing domestic violence.

Speaking at the opening of the magistrate’s consultation, Chief Justice Owen Paulsen said the judiciary has a responsibility to act as an agent for social change.

“We are uniquely placed as we can provide effective remedies for the benefit of the victims affected by violence. The decisions of the Judges have lasting impacts upon the lives of victims and also upon the lives of perpetrators, children and other family members. We as Judges should be sending a clear message that domestic violence is unacceptable and that perpetrators are accountable for their actions. In that way we will not only establish public confidence in the judiciary but provide a platform for discussion and education about domestic violence and its effects,” Chief Justice Paulsen said.

As an outcome of the two days’ consultation, RRRT is developing draft guidelines that will assist the magistrates in dealing with their cases and applying the Family Protection Act.
The lawyers’ workshop focussed on assisting lawyers to better understand domestic violence and its impact on victims; discussed and analysed the challenges with the application of the Family Protection Act; and analysed procedure, evidence and remedies provided in the Family Protection Act.

“As lawyers we aim to ensure the rule of law and to help in the development of the people of Tonga,” Acting Attorney General and Director of Public Prosecutions, ‘Aminiasi Kefu said during the opening of the Lawyers’ workshop.

“Domestic violence is a limit to development, to the development of financial prospects for our country, and also to the promise that children and family members are born with. The rationale for this Act is honourable, as it emphasises the need for protection of the family that was the main drive for this legislation,” Mr Kefu added.

Media contact
Onorina Saukelo RRRT Communications Assistant, [email protected] or +679 330 5582

Useful link: SPC Regional Rights Resource Team: http://rrrt.spc.int

Yaren, Nauru – Members of Parliament and senior government officials from Nauru are this week participating in a seminar on human rights, good governance and sustainable development.
The event is organised by the Pacific Community (SPC) through its Regional Rights Resource Team (RRRT) in conjunction with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), with support from the European Union and the Australian Government.

In his opening remarks, the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, the Hon Asterio Appi, said the issues of the sustainable development goals (SDGs) and human rights are topical and assume high significance for Nauru and its future.

“I am more than happy that SPC and UNDP have come out with this important initiative of briefing and engaging members of parliament on these issues. I am hopeful that the outcomes of this seminar will bear fruit and will enable MPs to discharge their parliamentary duties in a meaningful way as far as these issues are concerned,” Deputy Speaker Appi said.

The human rights sessions facilitated by SPC are discussing human rights in Nauru, including the State’s obligations and key challenges; the linkages between social and economic development and human rights; Nauru’s Family Protection and Domestic Violence Bill the journey so far; and the national human rights institutions in Nauru.

At the end of the seminar, MPs will deliberate on the roles and responsibilities of MPs to promote, protect, respect and fulfil human rights.

“Parliament is the highest decision and law making institution in Nauru and it is important that we help sensitise elected MPs to their role as guardians of human rights for the citizens of Nauru,” SPC’s Acting RRRT Director, Nicol Cave, said.

One outcome of the seminar will be a paper for the Nauru Cabinet with a set of recommendations to advance human rights for all in Nauru.

At a regional consultation in 2015, MP’s from 11 Pacific nations formally recognised the vital role of Parliament and parliamentarians to respect, fulfil, protect and promote the inherent rights of all people in the Pacific, and called upon SPC, through RRRT, to roll out national MPs consultations to progress human rights, good governance and development.
To date, the MPs consultations have been held in Fiji, Marshall Islands, Kiribati and Tuvalu.

RRRT will offer ongoing support to Nauru to meet the commitments the Government of Nauru has made through its ratification of key international human rights treaties, including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), and Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

Human Rights Day is observed by the international community every year on 10 December.

Media contact
Onorina Saukelo RRRT Communications Assistant, [email protected] or +679 330 5582

Useful link: SPC Regional Rights Resource Team: http://rrrt.spc.int


Nadi, Fiji- A practical guide for using statistics to report on Pacific Island countries’ progress with implementing international human rights treaties is due to be finalised this week.
Government representatives from 10 Pacific countries are participating in a regional consultation that begins today in Nadi, Fiji, aimed at validating a draft Pacific Statistical Guidebook to Human Rights Reporting that has been put together by the Pacific Community (SPC).

Relevant statistics on civil and political rights, and for economic, social and cultural rights, will be tested by the participants during the three-day workshop (8-10 November) to validate a core set of statistical indicators which could be used across a range of human right reports.

Organised by SPC through its Regional Rights Resource Team (RRRT), the consultation is supported by the European Union and the Australian Government.

The consultation will also identify any gaps in the guidebook and suggest improvements.

The final guidebook will then be published and the tool sent to Pacific governments to assist them in their human rights treaty reporting.

Among the common ratified treaties in the Pacific are the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW);the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC); and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The guidebook was compiled following a 2014 workshop at which SPC and the United Nations Statistics Division in New York brought together statisticians and human rights and gender representatives from the Pacific to discuss the crucial links between statistics and reporting on human rights treaties.

“These resources have been developed collaboratively to overcome the challenges participants faced in the current reporting process which require data and statistics to be accessible and available in order to meet international human rights reporting requirements,” explained SPC Gender Statistics Advisor, Kim Robertson, who has had a lead role in drafting the guide.

The countries taking part in the consultation are Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

With the support from SPC through RRRT and regional partners, there has been a gradual increase in Pacific states submitting long-overdue human rights reports to the United Nations Treaty Committees.

The new guidebook will be an additional resource to help states continue this progress.


Media contact
Onorina Saukelo RRRT Communications Assistant, [email protected] or +679 330 5582
Useful link: SPC Regional Rights Resource Team: http://rrrt.spc.int

Nadi, Fiji – A regional consultation has opened in Fiji today on the participation of Pacific Island countries in the United Nations-led review process of national human rights records.

The consultation will assist 11 Pacific countries to prepare for the third cycle of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) by sharing stories of impact and major gains, including examples of best practice in the region.

It is the latest event organised by the Pacific Community (SPC) through its Regional Rights Resource Team (RRRT) to help countries commit to, and observe, international human rights standards.

Supported by the European Union, the Government of the Netherlands and the Australian Government, the four-day (11-14 October) human rights dialogue in Nadi provides a platform for Pacific countries to share their experiences with the UPR process and learn from one another.

In her opening remarks, SPC Deputy Director-General, Dr Audrey Aumua, saluted the efforts under the UPR process to date by Federated State of Micronesia, Kiribati, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.

“The Pacific region has been able to utilise the Universal Periodic Review mechanism, as well as other treaty body processes, and these have provided an opportunity to promote and protect the rights of Pacific people, focused at the national level,” Dr Aumua said.

“This south-south learning on relevant challenges and achievements is important and so is documenting the journey of interacting with this global UN process, not only for ourselves but as an accountability process for people in our region,” she said.

All Pacific States have completed two four-year UPR cycles (2008-2011 and 2013-2016), with the third set to take place over four years from April 2017 to 2021.

For Pacific countries that are UN Member States, it provides the opportunity to draw the world’s attention to the realities and challenges of implementing human rights and declare what actions they have taken to improve human rights in their countries.

This includes how States have begun to implement the human rights recommendations from the UPR; the challenges small islands states experience in implementing accepted recommendations; and identifying possible strategies towards advancing recommendations.

The dialogue this week will raise awareness of challenges that may need addressing with the assistance of donors and other bilateral partnerships, and also map implementation strategies between reviews, including identifying policies, models, mechanisms and tools for implementation.


Media contact
Onorina Saukelo RRRT Communications Assistant, [email protected] or +679 330 5582

Useful link: SPC Regional Rights Resource Team: http://rrrt.spc.int

 

Tarawa, Kiribati- Members of Parliament from all outer islands of Kiribati have participated in consultations this week about the nation’s human rights challenges, progress, achievements and plans.

The Pacific Community (SPC), with support from the European Union and the Australian Government, hosted a ‘Dialogue on Human Rights for Good Governance and Development’ with Kiribati Cabinet members, ministers and other members of parliament (MPs).

Held in Tarawa two days after the sitting of Parliament, the dialogue gave MPs an opportunity to explore and promote the integration of human rights into parliamentary proceedings and systems, recognising human rights as a fundamental building block for health, peace and prosperity in Kiribati.

“This dialogue is an important step in consolidating and facilitating Kiribati decision makers towards further strengthening of their Parliamentary roles which require understanding of basic human rights as a tool to serve well the people they stand for,” Kiribati’s Minister for Women, Youth and Social Affairs, the Hon. David Collins, said at the event opening.

Minister Collins noted that the focus of the consultations “aligns strongly to our new government’s policy and ‘words of commitment’ to the people of Kiribati on human rights, anti-corruption and an agenda that will ensure democracy and transparency remain the strong foundation of our national commitment to serve and nurture our people”.

In his opening remarks, the Speaker of Parliament, the Hon. Teatao Teannanki, emphasised that MPs have a golden and important opportunity through the dialogue to strengthen their responsibilities as duty bearers.

“To fulfil our duties, we need to develop a clear understanding of human rights, and our roles as key decision makers of Kiribati to protect, promote and fulfil the rights of all people in Kiribati, including the rights to culture, identity, family, health, peace and economic opportunity,” the Speaker said.

MPs discussed issues such as corruption and its impact on human rights and development; domestic violence, including Kiribati’s new Domestic Violence Act, Te Rau n Te Mwenga, and its implementation; international human rights frameworks including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, Convention on the Rights of the Child, and Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the need for reporting to these core treaties.

SPC, through its Regional Rights Resource Team, will provide a paper to Cabinet expanding on these and other issues arising from the dialogue.

The Acting Director of RRRT, Nicol Cave, thanked all partners who had contributed over a number of months to ensure the event’s relevance to the Parliament, context, culture and priorities of Kiribati.

“Working together has made it possible for MPs to tap into the combined expertise of their Speaker, the Minister for Women and his able team at the Ministry of Women, Youth and Social Affairs, UN Women, UNICEF, the local disability organisation, Te toa Matoa, and SPC,” Ms Cave said.

Human rights provide a set of legal and moral standards to guide the work of governments and other political and social actors.

Without good governance and the protection and promotion of human rights, sustainable and equitable development cannot be achieved.

At a regional consultation in Denarau, Fiji, in 2015, MP’s formally recognised the vital role of Parliament and parliamentarians to respect, fulfil, protect and promote the inherent rights of all people in the Pacific, and called upon SPC, through RRRT, to roll out national MPs consultations to progress human rights, good governance and development.


Media contacts
Onorina Saukelo, SPC Communications Officer, [email protected] or +679 330 5582

Useful link:
SPC’s Regional Rights Resource Team- rrrt.spc.int

 
 
Suva, Fiji- The Pacific Community (SPC) in partnership with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) today launched a publication which sheds light on progress made in building a human rights culture in the Pacific.
 
Launched on the International Day for Democracy, ‘Human Rights in the Pacific: A Situational Analysis’ captures the human rights achievements and challenges of 16 Pacific countries between 2012 and May 2016.
 
It also identifies gaps and opportunities to advance priority human rights issues confronting the Pacific.
 
While it is not a detailed review or in-depth analysis of all laws, policies and practices of human rights by Pacific governments, it builds on an earlier publication by the United Nations Human Rights Office titled, Human Rights in the Pacific; Country Outlines.
 
Developed with funding from the European Union, the publication provides legislators, policy makers, academics, government and those interested in human rights in the Pacific with a resource and evidence-base to inform ongoing work.
 
All Pacific countries have now completed two cycles of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) - a unique process which reviews the human rights records of all United Nations member states. During these UPR reviews, most human rights issues covered in this publication were raised in discussions and captured in reports submitted to the UPR Review by other stakeholders including civil society organisations and United Nations agencies.
 
The 16 Pacific countries covered in the report are: Australia, Cook Islands, Kiribati, Fiji, Federated States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.
 
SPC, through its Regional Rights Resource Team, supports all 22 Pacific Community island members in building a culture of human rights, and assists nation states to commit to, and observe, international human rights standards.
 
 
Media contacts:
Useful links:
SPC Regional Rights Resource Team- rrrt.spc.int
 
 



SPC’s Regional Rights Resource Team receives core funding from the Australian Government and additional project support from the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Pacific Leadership Programme (PLP), European Union (EU) and the German Development Bank (KfW).