Outcome 1: Human Rights and Good Governance

Pacific Island Country governments promote/protect human rights and fulfill human rights commitments

RRRT is building PIC governments’ knowledge, capacity and attitudes to promote, protect and fulfil human rights standards. As part of this, RRRT is supporting states in meeting the national, regional and international human rights commitments that they have made (e.g. around CEDAW) and providing technical assistance as they apply human rights standards in priority development areas. This also includes support to Governments on emerging human rights issues, such as climate change, and to other SPC programmes to adopt a rights-based approach to programing across sectors.

Key development partners are UNOHCHR, the Asia Pacific Fund, the British High Commission in Fiji, the Pacific and Foreign Commonwealth Office, UN Women and UNICEF.

Supporting HR Commitments

Treaty ratification
UPR and Treaty reporting
UPR and Treaty implementation planning
Capacity building of NHRCMS

 

Supporting HR Practices

Legislative and policy review
Participation on govt working groups & committees
NHRIs
Rights-based approach across sectors
Training to government departments

The results we are striving for:

Result 1.1

More PICs have ratified, implemented and tracked progress against regional and international human rights commitments

Result 1.2

More PICs have established human rights coordination or monitoring mechanisms

Result 1.3

Strengthened capacity of governments to apply human rights and gender equality in priority national development issues

Result 1.4

Strengthened capacity of SPC programmes to mainstream a rights-based and people-centre approached in development programming

UPR and UN Treaty Commitments

Vanuatu Ministry of Education representative Royben, Port Vila, Vanuatu 2081

Currently the Pacific region has the lowest level of human rights treaty ratification in the world, and most Pacific Island Countries that have ratified conventions, have not met their reporting obligations.

As a result of support from RRRT, many countries are now up to date with their reporting and RRRT is shifting from a focus on supporting states to ratify UN treaties, to supporting them
to implement commitments under treaties already ratified, specifically the:

  • Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW);
  • Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC); and
  • Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

A focus on CRC and CEDAW provides the international framework in pursuit of the elimination of violence against women and children. CRPD is the third most ratified convention, and essential in eliminating all forms of discrimination. Implementation of CEDAW, CRC and CRPD involves reforming existing laws, policies and programme, including domestic violence legislation, that are discriminatory to women, children and people with disabilities.

Developing capacity across government ministries to report to Treaty committees and the Human Rights Council also builds the human rights knowledge base of governments on how to apply human rights standards to a range of issues. For example, CEDAW is a useful tool for ensuring the protection of women and girls in the face of climate change, natural disasters and environmental degradation, which have a disproportionate impact on this population demographic.

Key activities in Pacific Island countries include technical assistance and/or training in:

  • Moving from ratification towards domestication, implementation, tracking and monitoring progress; and
  • Preparing and presenting reports on UN Treaty conventions and the Universal Periodic Review

Progress against our targets: 

Result 1.1: More PICs have ratified, implemented and tracked progress against regional and international human rights commitments.

Significant positive change. On track to surpassing targets:

Number of Pacific Island Countries citing human rights or good governance standards in Ministry plans and budgets

1

5

Number of targeted UN treaties ratified

54

57

Number of CEDAW Treaty reports submitted by Pacific Island Countries with evidence of RRRT technical assistance

11

12

Number of CRC Treaty reports submitted by Pacific Island Countries with evidence of RRRT technical assistance

8

9

Number of CRPD Treaty reports submitted by Pacific Island Countries with evidence of RRRT technical assistance

4

5

Pacific Island Countries tracking UPR / UN Treaty implementation

8

8

Cover image of: Governmemnt of Nauru: Scoping Study Report 2017. On the desirability, feasibility and options for the establishment of a Paris Principles-compliant National Human Rights Institution.Human Rights Coordination and Monitoring

National Mechanisms for Implementation, Reporting and Follow-Up (NMIRFs) and National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) are two important bodies to guarantee and realise human rights in a country.

NMIRFs ensure central coordination and ownership of human rights ratification, reporting and implementation. Under these Mechanisms, Government ministries coordinate with other implementing actors, such as Parliamentarians, civil society organisations, the judiciary, faith and traditional leaders and NHRIs, regarding implementation of human rights obligations, track and report on progress.

NMIRFs are critical in addressing challenges related to ad-hoc or poorly coordinated reporting and implementation by Pacific Island Countries. As the strength of NMIRFs grow, greater adherence to human rights standards are expected across government.

RRRT support states to incorporate UPR and UN Treaty Body recommendations in national plans and policies or developing one overarching plan, with one oversight body and one monitoring mechanism (e.g. a national human rights task force).  This approach creates leverage to engage with states to addressing other emerging human rights issues with national, regional and international human rights bodies. Where human rights already are integrated into national plans, implementation plans can effectively track both, eliminating duplication. RRRT also provides capacity building activities for government officials to ensure national plans and policies are human rights compliant and to engage with UN human rights mechanisms.  

NHRIs, by contrast, provide an independent perspective and sustainable in-country leadership on human rights. They act as a bridge between international human rights treaties which a State ratifies and supporting those rights to becomes ‘real’ on the ground for communities, by being the watchdog of states’ responsibilities to working to protect, prevent and fulfil (and promote) human rights. Their core functions include community outreach and education on human rights, human rights capacity building for duty bearers, monitoring human rights (including in places of detention) and providing independent advice to governments, addressing individual human rights complaints and undertaking national inquiries.

RRRT works in partnership with the Asia Pacific Forum of NHRIs (APF) and the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to deliver a range of technical support to strengthen existing NHRIs as well as support Pacific Island countries interested in establishing NHRIs. This includes facilitating, where possible, South-South exchanges and developing educational resources that support the work of NHRIs.

For more information on NHRIs and resources available to them, please also check out https://www.asiapacificforum.net/

Key activities in Pacific Island countries include technical assistance and/or capacity building in:

  • Scoping the feasibility of establishing an NHRI; see also Pacific Commonwealth Equality Project
  • Legislative drafting to establish an NHRI; and
  • Establishing and maintaining a coordination and monitoring body such as a NHRCM.

RRRT also facilitates NHRI roundtable discussions and participates in NMIRFs as committee members.

Progress against our targets: 

Result 1.2: More PICs have established human rights coordination or monitoring mechanisms

Significant positive change. On track to surpassing targets:

Number of Pacific Island Countries scoping or establishing an NHRI

5

7

Number of Pacific Island Countries with active national human rights coordination mechanisms

5

6

Strengthening Government Capacity

Teabao Awerika, Kiribati Minister of Environment and Land, Kiribati 2018

It is expected that strengthening the capacity of governments will lead to the promotion of human rights and gender equality through policies and programmes across national development sectors. RRRT’s support to governments to adhere to their regional and international human rights commitments, complements RRRT’s capacity building of civil society to monitor and advocate for human rights commitments.

Another expected outcome is that parliamentarians or government officials will become human rights advocates. Increased knowledge of human rights and good governance can lead to better attitudes towards human rights and good governance, and this can sometimes lead to action.

RRRT’s adopts multiple approaches to capacity building including: training; policy reviews; government documentation reviews; participation in working groups; coordination of national forums; and the development of practical resources to enhance training sessions.

Additional key activities in Pacific Island countries include:

  • National dialogues with Members of Parliament to educate, challenge and inspire parliamentarians about human rights; (add a link to the PCEP project) and
  • Family law training to current law students from the University of the South Pacific under the Professional Diploma in Legal Practice Programme who are likely to move into government roles.

Progress against our targets: 

Result 1.3: Strengthened capacity of governments to apply human rights and gender equality in priority national development issues

Moderate positive change. On track to surpassing targets:

Number of Pacific Island Countries reviewing policy/ legislation for human rights-compliance

8

9

Percentage of government officials trained who reached competency in human rights

81%

74%

Number of government officials receiving technical assistance from RRRT in human rights/good governance standards

1601

2042

Mainstreaming within SPC

Photo of sign warning about tsunami evacuation and danger zone

RRRT is developing the capacity of SPC programmes to mainstream human rights and the Sustainable Development Goals in their work with SPC member states. This work could be in any sector - education, health, fisheries or climate change, for example. Within SPC, a rights-based approach is about putting people at the centre of programming and ensuring that programmes benefit all people, and especially those most marginalised and vulnerable. It is about integrating the fulfilment of community, family and individual rights as both an essential condition, and an effective means to achieving equitable and sustainable development.

At the heart of the tools and principles developed by RRRT are the three elements of the ‘United Nations Common Understanding on the Human Rights Based Approach’. A PLANET checklist tool, consisting of 27 questions, is organised under the six PLANET principles, is oriented toward constructive self-assessment by SPC divisions and programmes.

Key activities within SPC include:

  • Technical assistance and/or training with staff in integrating a rights-based approach to all phases of a programme, from design, formulation and inception, through to budgeting, implementing, monitoring, evaluation and reporting;  and
  • The development of multimedia tools, principles and checklists to assist divisions with rights-based programming.

Applying a Rights-based Approach - PLANET checklist developed by RRRT, 2018:

People-centered participation
Local solutions & location action
Accountability & transparency
Non-discrimination & inclusion
Empowerment & equality
Transforming social norms

Progress against our targets: 

Result 1.4: Strengthened capacity of SPC programmes to mainstream a rights-based and people-centre approached in development programming

Significant positive change. On track to surpassing targets:

Evidence of implementation of a rights-based approach to SPC programming with PIC partners

2

2

Number of SPC programmes RRRT engaged with

8

8

0

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