June 2011, Port Vila
The Director of Foreign Affairs informed representatives from various government departments, ministries and civil society that Vanuatu has ratified more than 107 treaties and conventions, and they must collaborate to address the task of making a stock take on the implementation of these instruments.
"We must also take into consideration the contribution of the work of chiefs, churches, civil society and those in rural areas", Director Kalfau Kaloris stated in his opening address for the week long workshop.
The participants were informed by the Director that with conventions, treaties and conventions, there is usually some responsibility that countries take on to show their commitment to their citizens. The Director stated that in order for any convention to have any meaning to ni-Vanuatu, the principles and standards set out in the convention, or the treaty must be implemented nationally through some action, usually through a policy or law.
The Director emphasized that "the international standards set out in treaties and conventions are significant to guiding and protecting the citizens of Vanuatu so that we can continue to lead safe, secure and happy lives."
The director reminded the participants that treaty reporting where countries engage at the UN level with treaty bodies or committees is also an opportunity where Vanuatu is making a stock take on its own human rights situation. This is also as opportunity where Vanuatu can share its successes with the world and seek for guidance for other issues at the international level.
The UN has nine core human rights treaties, five of which have been ratified by Vanuatu.
Vanuatu has reported to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women in 2007, and is currently drafting another report for the same committee. Other Conventions which Vanuatu will be reporting to are the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the Convention against Torture, other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and the Convention and the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights.
Lionel Aingimea a Senior Trainer at the Pacific Regional Rights Resource Team which is part of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community said
"RRRT is excited to be part of this important activity. RRRT is delighted with the support it has received from the Department of Foreign Affairs which is a key player. "
Over the next five days, the participants will discuss how Vanuatu can move forward to strategize how it will better coordinate its reports to UN treaty bodies and also discuss the technicalities of what goes into the drafting of reports to treaty bodies for UN human rights conventions. These discussions will largely be based on the UN new reporting guidelines which are set out to make the reporting process easier for counties.
The workshop is a collaboration between the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Pacific Regional Rights Resource Team of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (RRRT/SPC).
For more information, please contact Josephine Kalsuak at [email protected] or phone 25099.