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:

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).