This was a key message in the Secretariat of the Pacific Community’s (SPC) verbal submission to the Australian Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade convened in Canberra on Wednesday. SPC’s submission carries the voices of Pacific women to the Committee’s “Inquiry into the Human Rights issues confronting women and girls in the Indian Ocean – Asia Pacific region.
Launched in May 2014, the Committee’smandate is to gauge the effectiveness of Australian programs to progress the human rights of women and girls in the Indian Ocean - Asia Pacific region, and to make recommendations for improvements.
Calling in via Skype in Suva, SPC’s Human Rights Program Deputy Director, Mark Atterton emphasised to the Joint Standing Committee:
“Women and girls who are unable to enjoy basic human rights are prevented from reaching their human, social, economic and intellectual potential. This has serious implications for sustainable economic development in the Pacific, for the region’s security, and the ability of countries to develop resilience in the face of environmental stresses such as climate change.”
Alarmingly high rates of violence against women and girls is one of the most fundamental human rights violations in the region. The prevalence of violence against women and girls in Pacific Island countries and territories (PICTs) is amongst the highest in the world. Most widespread is violence perpetrated by intimate partners, and domestic violence.
Recent Pacific studies reveal that 64 per cent of women in Fiji, 68 per cent in Kiribati and 65 per cent in Papua New Guinea (PNG) have experienced physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetime. This means that two out of every three women and girls experience violence in their homes, family and community. Prevalence rates in Samoa, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Marshall Islands have been reported at 46 per cent, 64 per cent, 51 per cent and 60 per cent, respectively.
“Such high rates of violence against women and girls are acknowledged as a critical obstacle to development. If we fail to address violence, development aid remains fundamentally flawed,” Mr Atterton told the Joint Standing Committee.
In partnership with national governments, and with support from the Australian Government, SPC continues to advance adoption of national gender policies and domestic violence legislation, but resources and funding for meaningful implementation remains a hurdle.
With SPC’s support, comprehensive domestic violence laws have been enacted in Tonga, Kiribati, Solomon Islands and Tuvalu in 2014. “Whilst we celebrate the passing of new protective laws, we also recognise the challenge of making law a reality for people. In this vein, our focus has transitioned to supporting countries to plan for implementation of the measures contained in new laws”, Mr Atterton said in SPC’s verbal submission.
Other essential priorities highlighted in SPC’s written submission May 2014 were also flagged again and included: a continued commitment to building national and regional capacity in gender and human rights; integration of human rights and gender within regional agencies’ priorities; and strengthened research that can inform evidence-based programming.
Media contact: Jilda Shem, SPC Communications Officer, email: [email protected] or +679 3305582.
“This Honourable Maneaba ni Maungatabu [Parliament] acknowledges the Declaration released at the Pacific Members of Parliament consultation in January 2015 in Denarau, Fiji and pledges full support to the Declaration and commits to uphold and fulfil the protection of the human rights of her citizens and the conduct of Good Governance,” the motion stated.
Speaking in parliament in support of the declaration, Honourable Vice President of Kiribati, Ms Teimwa Onorio challenged all members of Parliament to make a commitment to the declaration and human rights as a whole.
Honourable Ms Onorio also acknowledged the many contributions of various partners in advancing human rights in Kiribati with mention of the support by the Regional Rights Resource Team of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC).
In January 2015, members of parliament (MPs) from 11 countries across the Pacific region affirmed their commitment to good governance and human rights with the signing of a formal declaration.
The MPs echoed the Pacific leaders’ vision in the new Framework for Pacific Regionalism (2014), calling for a Pacific region ‘known for its quality of governance and respect for human rights’ in a statement called the 2015 Denarau Declaration on Human Rights and Good Governance.
The MPs noted the progressive steps taken by Pacific governments in the ratification of core 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 the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). SPC RRRT has planned this year to carry out a number of National MPs Consultations as follow up to the Regional Consultation and at the request of Governments to progress human rights, good governance and sustainable development.
SPC RRRT is funded by the Australian Government, the European Union and the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Visit our website to download a copy of the declaration.
Download the PDF version of the flyer below.
Download the PDF version of the flyer below.
“This manual is the first for the pacific. The first step in prioritising Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights is to address the shortage of practical information on SRHR that is tailored to the unique needs and challenges of the region”, Usamate said.
Titled the Awareness, Analysis and Action: Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in the Pacific”, the manual has practical, evidence-based tools and information to help practitioners, advocates, policymakers, health workers, trainers and legislators understand key concepts on SRHR.
This also includes analysing the needs of vulnerable groups and taking action to ensure that all Pacific Islanders claim their right to the highest possible standard of health and wellbeing.
“I would like to thank the SRHR Working Group for developing this manual together, comprised of a number of key organisations working to address SRHR in the region. We as Health Ministers can champion this valuable resource to be used in our Health Sectors and with relevant service providers.” Usamate added.
Government commitment has progressed towards achieving Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) goals in the Pacific. The number of Pacific Island countries with national population policies is increasing and the integration of sexual and reproductive health into primary health programmes has also improved.
The Pacific region is doing well in reducing child mortality as 10 out of the 14 forum island countries are on track in achieving this goal. 9 countries have also made notable progress in reducing maternal mortality, reporting close to 100 per cent skilled birth attendance. These gains would not have been possible without a consistent effort from SRHR advocates across government and civil society.
At the global level, 2015 is a critical time for sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) agenda. Last year marked 20 years since the ground breaking Cairo Consensus emerged from the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD). 2015 also marked 20 years since the 4th World Conference on Women and the resulting Beijing De Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, as well as the deadline for achieving the MDG targets.
This is a crucial time for SRHR advocates around the world to unite and ensure that SRHR remains a global priority in the Post-2015 UN Sustainable Development Agenda.
The manual is a collaborative project by member organisations of the Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) Working Group, with secretariat support from the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) Regional Rights Resource Team (RRRT).
The following organisations are represented in the SRHR Working Group: Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era (DAWN); Diverse Voices and Action for Equality (DIVA for Equality); Fiji Women’s Rights Movement (FWRM); International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF); Oceania Society for Sexual Health and HIV Medicine (OSSHHM); Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS); Pacific Youth Council (PYC); SPC Human Development Programme (HDP); SPC Public Health Division (PHD);SPC Regional Rights Resource Team (RRRT); and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)....PACNEWS
The Pacific Community (SPC) invites applications for a short fixed term maternity cover position (6 months) for a Senior Human Rights Advisor in its Regional Rights Resource Team (RRRT), located in Suva, Fiji.
The Pacific Community (SPC) is the principal scientific and technical organisation in the Pacific region, supporting development since 1947. We are an international development organisation owned and governed by our 26 country and territory members. In pursuit of sustainable development to benefit Pacific people, our organisation works across more than 20 sectors. We are known for our knowledge and innovation in such areas as fisheries science, public health surveillance, geoscience, and conservation of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture.
The Regional Rights Resource Team (RRRT) of the Pacific Community (SPC) was established in 1995 and has been a pioneer in providing human rights capacity-building, research, policy, legal and technical assistance in the Pacific region. RRRT’s mission is to advance human rights and good governance standards for the sustainable and equitable development of the region and the benefit of all Pacific peoples.
RRRT has developed a wide Pacific presence with Country Focal Officers (CFOs) seconded to line ministries that have an energy and/or mandate for human rights in Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), Kiribati, Nauru, Republic of Marshall Islands (RMI), Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu. CFOs have technical expertise in human rights and broad networks of influence in government and civil society. CFOs also dedicate some of their time to civil society, promoting accountability and good governance in each country.
RRRT seeks to recruit a Senior Human Rights Advisor for a period of 6 months on a short fixed-term contract to contribute and support its team.
The key responsibilities of the role include:
1. Capacity Building - Develop and deliver human rights (HR) training and technical assistance programmes based on the needs of SPC member countries and territories, and on RRRT’s strategic objectives; deliver training on thematic/project focal areas, including EVAW and access to justice; conduct key research in RRRT focus areas, such as gender equality, violence against women and children, and access to justice; develop a range of training materials and activities; ensure monitoring and evaluation of training outcomes. In particular, support the family protection regional judicial strengthening programme, including responding and managing requests for assistance from the judiciary and other stakeholders on family violence legislation and delivering training to justice sector service providers on family violence legislation.
2. Supervision, mentoring and supporting of in-country staff – supervise overall performance of three in-country staff (focal officers) in the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia and Vanuatu through the provision of advice, mentoring and support in the design and delivery of national human rights strategies and training programmes; work in partnership with Country Focal Officers to develop work and M&E plans; mentor and support Country Focal Officer capacity development in human rights, advocacy and lobbying.
3. Provision of technical advice – Provide technical assistance support and guidance on gender, EVAW and access to justice, and in particular support Pacific Island countries on specific needs and requests in relation to the implementation of Domestic Violence and Family Protection legislation.
4. Networking and partnerships – Represent RRRT effectively at national, regional and international forums; establish, strengthen and support partnerships that advance RRRT’s objectives at all levels and in particular, maintain communications with key stakeholders on EVAW including governments, Pacific Women head office, UN Women, CSOs, Family Protection Advisors in the Pacific to ensure collaboration.
5. Monitoring and evaluation – contribute to the design and implementation of an effective M&E system for projects using both qualitative and quantitative indicators; take focal responsibility in assigned project areas, including management, financial and donor reporting, documenting stories and case studies.
6. Programme management cycle – Manage projects on gender, EVAW and access to justice in particular from March 2018:
a. Support the Tonga Legal aid Centre project including delivering training to the newly hired staff, mentoring the staff as needed, and project management.
b. Manage RRRT’s LGBTI project
7. Support any other work and other Senior Advisors as requested by the Interim Director.
For a more information, please enquire with [email protected]
Key selection criteria
A postgraduate degree in development, law, gender, human rights or another relevant social science.
2. Essential experience and skills
3. Interpersonal and Language skills
Salary, terms and conditions
Required starting date – This position is available from January 2018.
Contract Duration – Until 30th June 2018. This is a short fixed term 6 months contract to cover maternity leave.
Remuneration – The Senior Human Rights Advisor is a Band 11 position within SPC’s Salary scale with a starting salary range of SDR (special Drawing Rights) 2,884-3,605 per month, which currently converts to approximately FJD 8,480-10,599 (USD 4,009-5,011; EUR 3,647-4,558). Remuneration of expatriate SPC staff members is not subject to income tax in Fiji; however, Fiji nationals employed by SPC in Fiji will be subject to income tax.
Closing Date – 15th December, 2017 at 5 pm Suva time.
Applications should be emailed to [email protected]
To be considered for this role, you must provide us with:
Please ensure your documents are in Microsoft Word or Adobe PDF format.
Applicants should not attach copies of qualifications or letters of reference. These documents may be requested at a later stage.
The Regional Rights Resource Team (RRRT) of the South Pacific Community (SPC) in liaison with the Ministry of Justice is piloting a Legal Aid Centre for survivors of Domestic Violence in Tonga, which will be trialing for a period of one year.
This project is established under the implementation projects of the Family Protection Act 2013 and as such, SPC/RRRT and MOJ hereby invite internal and external applications for the following 1 year contract vacancies:
Maximum Salary Point
Legal Aid Center
- Bachelor of Laws degree from a recognized tertiary institution
- Professional Diploma in Legal Practice from a recognized tertiary institution.
- Holder of practicing certificate
- 5 years’ experience as a practicing lawyer with a specialization in family law is desirable
Legal Aid Center
- An Undergraduate degree from a recognized university
- 2-3 years’ experience working on project management
Family Protection Advocate
Legal Aid Center
- A Diploma or Certificate from a recognized University
- 2-3 years’ experience working on issues relating to family violence in Tonga
- Pass in PSSC or its equivalent with at least four (4) years of relevant work experience
Please find below are the mandatory requirements to be submitted in all applications:
Please note that incomplete applications will not be considered
Public servants who wish to apply must submit their applications with the endorsement of the Chief Executive Officers however please take note, applicants will be subjected to Section 2D.4 (Secondment) of the Public Service Policy Instructions 2010.
A copy of the relevant job descriptions may be obtained from ‘Ana Niutupuivaha Kakau at telephone 25-618 or [email protected]
For further information regarding the actual project, please do not hesitate to contact ‘Ana Laulaupea’alu at telephone 26-618 ext. 203 or [email protected]
All applications are to be received no later than 4:00pm, Sunday 31st of December, 2017 and to be addressed to the:
Chief Executive Officer
Ministry of Justice
P.O Box 130
Corner of Kausela and Lavinia Road
Fasi moe Afi