I attended a very informative consultation on the draft federal constitution of Solomon Islands the other week. The consultation presented an exciting opportunity to engage with the esteemed Solomon Islanders who have been the drivers behind years of consultations on the proposed constitution and a new federal government system.

I was particularly interested to see whether Solomon Islands would take the opportunity to reflect the rights in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) in this new constitution.

PACNEWS - TARAWA, 23 OCTOBER 2015 (KIRIBATI GOVT) ---- Supported by the Office of the Beretitenti, Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Kiribati Local Government Association (KILGA), 35 members of Abaiang’s Island Development Committee (IDC) worked this week to weave human rights and good governance principles into the implementation of the Whole of Island Approach. The five day workshop took place at Parliament. 

The Whole of Island Approach, implemented on Abaiang since 2013, is an innovative approach that aims to increase communities’ capacity to cope with the negative impacts of climate change by implementing a holistic approach that integrates climate change into all developmental activities on the island. 

In her opening address delivered on 19 October, 2015, Vice President and Minister of Internal Affairs,Teima Onorio, emphasised the importance of the role of the IDC in addressing the impacts of climate change. 

In her address, she said, “Your knowledge of local circumstances and lived experiences make you an invaluable resource and enablers for creating the enabling environment necessary to address and cope with the impacts of climate change on Abaiang. Understanding your roles and responsibilities under the legal and policy framework and adherence to good governance, human rights with strong leadership values are fundamental. Development for Abaiang is development for Kiribati.”

With a team of facilitators from the Office of the Beretitenti, Ministry of Internal Affairs, Ministry of Women, Youth and Social Affairs, Kiribati Local Government Association, Secretariat of the Pacific Community’s (SPC) Human Rights Programme (RRRT), SPC/GIZ Coping with Climate Change in the Pacific Island Region (CCCPIR) Programme, including current Member of Parliament of Abaiang and former President and Vice President of Kiribati Hon. Teatao Teannaki, the workshop anticipates the creation of an enabling environment to advance the Whole of Island Approach on Abaiang. 

On the topic of leadership, Hon. Teatao Teannaki stressed the importance of good leadership. “Good Governance requires good leadership. Do not spend too much time and get caught up with trivial issues. This often causes unnecessary delays and can derail the implementation of activities as we have learned from past cases. Time is of the essence to ensure the IDC and the Abaiang Island Council are responsive to the needs of the people they serve.” 

The human rights dimension of good governance and climate change was also covered during the workshop. 

According to SPC RRRT’s Deputy Director,  Mark Atterton, “As climate change affects people differently, understanding and applying a Human Rights lens to guide the formulation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of activities to address the impacts of climate change, including under the Whole of Island Approach, will ensure that the rights of the most vulnerable are protected and fulfilled. Understanding the human rights dimension of climate change is essential.” 

Kiribati is a state party to three core human rights conventions – the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women and the Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities.....PACNEWS

Suva, Fiji - Forty-five newly graduated lawyers of the University of the South Pacific (USP), currently enrolled in the six-month Professional Diploma in Legal Practice programme, are reminded of their role this week in contributing to the realisation of human rights in their work during a two-week course on Family Law and Human Rights: Skills and Practice module.

The course is facilitated by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) and funded by the Australian Government.

“SPC has been facilitating this two-week module for 14 years now by designing content, delivering training and assessing students twice a year when the Diploma is offered by USP.  This is a tremendous investment into the Pacific region and we are proud to be partnering with USP in this course,” said SPC’s Regional Rights Resource Team Deputy Director, Mark Atterton.

The strategy is to introduce lawyers to be aware of human rights, ensuring that basic human rights are considered in their work in the future, whether in government, private practice or civil society organisations,” he added.

The Family Law and Human Rights module includes skills and practice for the application of human rights and family law relevant to the practice of family law in Pacific jurisdictions. The module is based on international best practice standards and principles and on experience from throughout the Pacific.

The newly graduated lawyers attending the course at the USP Statham campus in Suva are from Fiji, Tonga, Tuvalu, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.

Partners who support SPC's human rights programme in facilitating some key sessions of human rights and family law include private law firms, non-governmental organisations and UN agencies.

SPC has pioneered human rights training in the Pacific region, working to build a culture of human rights and assisting nation states to commit to, and observe, international human rights standards.

Media contact

Jilda Shem, SPC Communications Officer, [email protected] or +679 330 5994

Palau - Improving human rights and advancing the elimination of violence against women and children are shared goals of memorandums of agreement (MOA) signed in 2015 between the Secretariat of the Pacific Community’s Regional Rights Resource Team and the Governments of Palau and the Republic of Marshall Islands (RMI).

An example of the extended work in northern Pacific is seen this week in Palau through support to the country’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process. The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process is a State to State peer review reporting mechanism under the UN Human Rights Council. All UN member states are obliged to report under this process which includes monitoring the provision of human rights including: access to education, healthcare, employment, and freedom of speech; all of which contribute directly to the development of a nation.

SPC’s Human Rights Adviser, Romulo Nayacalevu and a representative of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat presented information on the UPR to members of the House of Delegates and members of the Senate in Palau this week and said “presentations to members of congress and senators this week on human rights and the UPR process has been very positive.”

“We also provided an update on the UPR progress to the Cabinet. We are also pleased to have worked with the Government and members of the Human Rights Working Group, which was created under Presidential Order in 2014, on a draft skeleton of the second UPR report which the drafting team will finalise before the due date in October 2015.” Mr Nayacalevu said.

Deputy Director of SPC’s Regional Rights Resource Team, Mark Atterton said “SPC is enthusiastic about the opportunity to expand its human rights work in the North of the Pacific which historically has not had enough attention.”

This is the first time SPC through its Regional Rights Resource Team is signing MOAs with the Governments of Palau and RMI to provide technical assistance and training to targeted Government civil servants and non-governmental representatives on human rights.  

SPC, with generous funding from the European Union and the Government of Australia will establish an in country presence expanding its architecture of Country Focal Officers – staff seconded to the relevant line ministries leading on Human Rights for the national government. The UPR work is generously supported by the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Government of Australia.

Since 2012, SPC has had a Country Focal Officer in FSM based in the SPC Office in Pohnpei. It is anticipated that a new MOA with FSM will be signed before the end of 2015 for continued support.

“The provisions of support at the national level will include assistance to efforts for the implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), domestic violence legislation, legislative change in the areas of family law, gender equality and other measures in line with the national policies and plans as well as support to civil society” Mr Atterton said. 

SPC is the principal scientific and technical agency supporting development in the Pacific Island region. It works to build a human rights culture that enhances the rule of law and democracy in the Pacific region. Promoting the use of human rights standards in law, practice and policy is part of SPC’s Regional Rights Resource Team’s broad, long-term strategy for achieving that goal.

By tivnews

A TRAINING EVENT, themed ‘Pacific People Advancing Change’, facilitated by the Regional Rights Resource Team from the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) has put strong emphasis on the inclusion of the rights of humans during lobby’s for changes, as well as the development of new contents for national legislation's.

The participants, which included several NGOs, including Transparency International Vanuatu, and several government departments, successfully completed the three days of practical learning with an earned set of clear organizational objectives. The participants had the opportunity to discuss the origins of the Universal Declaration of the Human Rights, as well as understanding how this universal terms and values has always been practiced by pacific islanders for thousands of years.

Logically, the Universal Rights of Humans is not a new concept for pacific islanders. Only the term ‘Human Rights’ is. For thousands of years pacific islanders have practiced and maintained effectively the rights of individuals within the traditional context, or by what is widely called the traditional or ‘natural law’ – respect, love etc…

The term Human Rights was universally adopted in 1948, along with it specific rights were listed in 30 articles. Once a state becomes a member of the United Nations they are obliged to recognize these rights as well as implement and protect them. Each state must respect, protect and fulfill the practicality of each universal human rights within its own national boundary.

Unfortunately, the universal recognition of Human Rights was not an easy task, nor was it cheap. It took thousands of years and the loss millions of lives before something universal could be developed and a compromise finally reached by state parties;

a universal value that will bring back the dignity to humanity.

From 1948 onward several international treaties were developed to protect the cultural, political, economic and social rights. Eventually, the nine (9) conventions for the Rights of Humans were developed, and states were obliged to ratify and domesticate them within their own national laws. Vanuatu has ratified six (6) of these conventions.

Therefore, Vanuatu is obliged to domesticate these six (6) conventions locally. Though there has been progress on some of these conventions several of these ratified conventions have yet to rest within the laws of Vanuatu, and this is a commitment that various government departments and NGOs are working and lobbying the government to implement.

The participating organizations at this workshop were encouraged to support the implementations of the different aspects of Human Rights within their own respective offices and to promote these values through to policy makers.

The training was held for 3 days from the 7th to the 9th September at the Moorings Conference Room.

tivnews | September 10, 2015 at 9:55 pm | Tags: Human Rights, Pacific People Advancing Change, Vanuatu | Categories: Human Rights | URL: http://wp.me/p5JOxR-6N

Thirty island court justices from island courts throughout Vanuatu came together in Port Vila at the end of August to attend  a consultation on human rights organised the Secretariat of the Pacific Community’s (SPC) Regional Rights Resource Team (RRRT).

Speaking at the opening of the consultation, Chief Justice of Vanuatu, Vincent Lunabek challenged the island court justices to grasp the concepts of human rights and apply the relevant concepts to their work to ensure justice for all through the local courts.

“People come to the island courts with high expectations of fair judgments and equality. As island court justices, you need to put aside your chiefly titles or other titles. Do not let your traditional titles influence your work. You need to come down to the level of your people and consider their human rights when dealing with their cases to ensure justice for everyone” Chief Justice, Lunabek said.

With increased knowledge of human rights, the justices will take into consideration the different needs or situations of all citizens – men, women, children and persons with disability – when administering a case. This will ensure that justice prevails at all times in the courts.

“I see there are more male justices than female justices in the room. Whether you are a male or a female, you have the same power and responsibilities as justices of the island courts in Vanuatu” Chief Justice Lunabek added.

Vanuatu has a total of around 300 Island court lay justices serving 10 established island courts through-out the country. It is the most accessible court of the country. The island courts deal with both minor civil and criminal matters with majority of cases being child maintenance claims. In addition, land disputes and family related disputes such as domestic violence including other civil and criminal matters are also dealt with at the island courts.

Vanuatu is a State Party to five human rights conventions: the Convention Against Torture, the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Under these conventions, Vanuatu is required to 'respect, protect and fulfil' human rights by taking positive action that protects the rights of its citizens.

SPC is the principal scientific and technical agency supporting development in the Pacific Island region. It works to build a human rights culture that enhances the rule of law and democracy in the Pacific region. Promoting the use of human rights standards in law, practice and policy is part of SPC’s Regional Rights Resource Team’s broad, long-term strategy for achieving that goal.

Find out more about the Voluntary Technical Assistance Trust Fund here!

Funafuti, Tuvalu – Fifty-four year old Amberoti Nikora of Kiribati is a human rights advocate, a former Member of Parliament (MP) and civil servant of the Kiribati Government; and now the Country Focal Officer for the Secretariat of the Pacific Community’s (SPC) Human Rights Progamme in Kiribati.

With his wealth of knowledge in parliamentary mechanisms and human rights, Mr Nikora was in Tuvalu last week sharing his experiences with newly elected members of Tuvalu’s parliament as an exchange organised by SPC through its Regional Rights Resource Team (RRRT), with assistance from the European Union (EU) and Australian Government.

“I was a member of parliament in Kiribati for 20 years and at the beginning of my term as an MP, I wasn’t confident because of my limited understanding of parliamentary processes. It took time and perseverance for me to become an active voice for my people in parliament. My three years of human rights work with SPC has also broadened my knowledge in human rights advocacy. I am honoured to be part of this great exchange this week to share my experiences with Tuvalu MPs,” Mr Nikora said.

Mr Nikora stressed that parliaments are the highest decision and law making institutions in our countries and it is important that elected members understand their role as guardians of human rights for their people.

“Without the right understanding of the parliamentary processes, the roles and responsibilities of MPs, it will be difficult to confidently represent the interests of constituents in any parliament,” Mr Nikora said.

The exchange is part of the induction seminar for Tuvalu’s parliament organised and supported by the United National Development Programme (UNDP) in partnership with the New Zealand House of Representatives, the Parliament of Victoria and SPC.

Tuvalu held its general elections in March 2015 that resulted in the formation of a new Government in April 2015.

The induction seminar briefed and guided the newly elected MPs with knowledge on their roles and responsibilities, with SPC RRRT providing technical assistance on human rights and good governance. 

Honourble Speaker Tausi of the Parliament of Tuvalu invited RRRT to address all Parliamentarians following the success of a regional MPs Human Rights Consultation hosted by SPC which he attended in Fiji earlier this year.

The SPC RRRT Programme receives core funding from the Australian Government and additional funding from various donors including the EU. With the EU Pacific Islands Ratification & Implementation of Human Rights Treaties project implemented through the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS), RRRT works to support Forum Island countries to ratify, implement and report on core United Nations human rights conventions and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

SPC is the principal scientific and technical agency supporting development in the Pacific Island region. It works to build a human rights culture that enhances the rule of law and democracy in the Pacific region. Promoting the use of human rights standards in law, practice and policy is part of SPC’s Regional Rights Resource Team’s broad, long-term strategy for achieving that goal.

Media contacts

Jilda Shem, SPC Communications Officer, [email protected], Phone: +679 9314174

Sanya Ruggiero, EU Press and Information Intern,, [email protected]



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).