Palau - Improving human rights and advancing the elimination of violence against women and children are shared goals of memorandums of agreement (MOA) signed in 2015 between the Secretariat of the Pacific Community’s Regional Rights Resource Team and the Governments of Palau and the Republic of Marshall Islands (RMI).
An example of the extended work in northern Pacific is seen this week in Palau through support to the country’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process. The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process is a State to State peer review reporting mechanism under the UN Human Rights Council. All UN member states are obliged to report under this process which includes monitoring the provision of human rights including: access to education, healthcare, employment, and freedom of speech; all of which contribute directly to the development of a nation.
SPC’s Human Rights Adviser, Romulo Nayacalevu and a representative of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat presented information on the UPR to members of the House of Delegates and members of the Senate in Palau this week and said “presentations to members of congress and senators this week on human rights and the UPR process has been very positive.”
“We also provided an update on the UPR progress to the Cabinet. We are also pleased to have worked with the Government and members of the Human Rights Working Group, which was created under Presidential Order in 2014, on a draft skeleton of the second UPR report which the drafting team will finalise before the due date in October 2015.” Mr Nayacalevu said.
Deputy Director of SPC’s Regional Rights Resource Team, Mark Atterton said “SPC is enthusiastic about the opportunity to expand its human rights work in the North of the Pacific which historically has not had enough attention.”
This is the first time SPC through its Regional Rights Resource Team is signing MOAs with the Governments of Palau and RMI to provide technical assistance and training to targeted Government civil servants and non-governmental representatives on human rights.
SPC, with generous funding from the European Union and the Government of Australia will establish an in country presence expanding its architecture of Country Focal Officers – staff seconded to the relevant line ministries leading on Human Rights for the national government. The UPR work is generously supported by the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Government of Australia.
Since 2012, SPC has had a Country Focal Officer in FSM based in the SPC Office in Pohnpei. It is anticipated that a new MOA with FSM will be signed before the end of 2015 for continued support.
“The provisions of support at the national level will include assistance to efforts for the implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), domestic violence legislation, legislative change in the areas of family law, gender equality and other measures in line with the national policies and plans as well as support to civil society” Mr Atterton said.
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.