Wednesday 5 June 2013, Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), Suva, Fiji –
The Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat Regional Security Committee (FRSC) has welcomed this week a presentation from Pacific civil society organisations (CSOs) on urgent human rights and security issues.
The committee warmly welcomed the wide range of recommendations presented by Shirley Tagi, Coordinator of Diverse Voices and Action (DIVA), a non-governmental organisation in Fiji. These recommendations were the outcome of a CSO dialogue that was held last month, facilitated by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community Regional Rights Resource Team in partnership with the Forum Secretariat.
Speaking at the opening of the FRSC meeting in Suva, Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, Tuiloma Neroni Slade, congratulated civil society partners on tirelessly working to advocate for the human rights of their diverse constituent communities.
‘I reiterate our commitment to continue to work with civil society on all common areas of interest and I also commend this committee for its initiative to strengthen engagement with civil society,’ Secretary General Slade said.
SG Slade advised the committee of the establishment of a Forum Working Group to assist the Forum Secretariat explore the possibility of establishing regional human rights mechanisms in the Pacific, which is a key recommendation from the civil society partners.
Ms Tagi, in her presentation for the CSOs, echoed civil society’s strong anchoring in Pacific communities and its vital role as an independent development actor in supporting the achievement of development outcomes in the region.
‘This is the first time that we have been given the opportunity to present to the committee and we reaffirm the innovative ways that this Forum has engaged with us. It really is a great moment for civil society because we have a lot to contribute and, as a collective, we can work to provide it in the most useful way to governments,’ Ms Tagi said.
The CSO recommendations include urgent action to address: (a) sorcery-related violence and killings in Papua New Guinea; (b) the effects of climate change, most notably the severe drought in the Republic of Marshall Islands; and (c) the imminent challenge of climate-induced migration of Pacific peoples. In addition, the recommendations called for recognition of the diverse national and regional civil society organisations and increased consultation, participation and meaningful engagement with policy formulation and decision making mechanisms, including the Pacific Islands Forum.
For more information, please contact Jilda Shem, SPC RRRT Communications Officer on +679 330 5994 or email [email protected]