Lay magistrates from Kiribati, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu and Vanuatu at the sub-regional lay magistrates' consultation on human rights, Novotel, Suva, Fiji
A five-day sub-regional lay magistrates’ consultation on human rights, organised by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community Regional Rights Resources Team (SPC RRRT), was officially opened yesterday at the Novotel Hotel in Suva, Fiji.
Lay magistrates and court officers from Kiribati, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu and Vanuatu are attending the consultation.
The main objective of the consultation is to enhance the knowledge of participants on human rights law and to provide an opportunity for participants to consider and discuss their roles in protecting the human rights of vulnerable groups, such as women, children and persons with disabilities, and ensuring that they have full and effective access to justice.
'The timing of this event corresponds with a number of Pacific Island countries progressing towards passing laws and formulating policies to address violence against women, particularly in the home. In addition, this event will be an opportunity to discuss how to improve access to justice at the rural level for persons with disabilities,' said Ms Sandra Bernklau, Programme Manager of SPC RRRT.
The Honourable Mere Pulea, SPC RRRT consultant, opened the consultation, remarking, 'This is one initiative to help us out of the transitional phase to be human rights compliant and to set the benchmark for ourselves – the standards of access to justice that meet with international best practices.'
Mr Aru Fredington from Vanuatu , one of the participants, stated that this was the first training on human rights and the law he had attended, 'I work as the court clerk for Torba province, an isolated province in the northern part of Vanuatu, and my office is usually people’s first experience of the justice system when they come with their land problems, child maintenance cases and family protection order applications. I am really grateful to SPC RRRT for this opportunity to learn more about human rights and go back to provide services that are in line with international human rights standards.'
At the end of the consultation, it is anticipated that the participants will have increased their knowledge and skills in applying a human rights-based approach to access to justice and also their technical knowledge with respect to pending and recent national legislation aimed at combating violence against women. In addition, they will have more knowledge of national efforts to protect and promote the rights of person with disabilities and will have explored how this knowledge can be expanded via a national training programme in 2014.The consultation is supported by the Government of Australia.
For more information, please contact Jilda Shem, SPC RRRT Communications Officer on +679 330 5994 or email [email protected]