Constitution of the Pacific Islands Lawyers for Human Rights Network


In recognizing that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and all other associated Conventions and Treaties as the common standards, we the members of Pacific Islands Lawyers for Human Rights Network (PILHRN) in knowing the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the pacific family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the pacific region and the world, and knowing that disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in acts which have outraged the conscience of the pacific people.

Knowing that it is essential to promote and advocate human rights in the pacific region for the dignity and worth of all in the Pacific Islands and in recognizing the equal rights of men and women, we have determined to promote regional respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Whereas a common understanding of these rights and freedoms is of the greatest importance for the full realization of this pledge, we therefore, proclaim the following articles to govern members of PILHRN and keeping these rights and freedoms in mind, shall strive through our organization to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national, regional and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of Territories under their jurisdiction.

Article 1 Name of the Association

The name of the group shall be Pacific Islands Lawyers for Human Rights Network | (PILHRN) All usage of the Pacific Islands Lawyers for Human Rights Network name to identify this group shall be in the following form:

Pacific Islands Lawyers for Human Rights Network

Article 2 Purpose

The Pacific Island Lawyers for Human Rights Network's mission is to raise awareness and promote action focused on preventing and ending human rights abuses in all its forms.

The PILHRN shall keep within the context of its work to promote all human rights and is independent of any government, political ideology or religious creed. It does not support or oppose any government or political system, nor does it support or oppose the views of the victims whose rights it seeks to protect. It is concerned solely with the impartial protection of human rights.

Article 3 The Objectives of PILHRN

PILHRN may work in all areas that it sees necessary for the advancement of human rights and freedoms, and the human rights law and democracy. In order to fulfill its objective, the association may, but is not limited to:

(a) Promote knowledge and understanding of international human rights law and standards ("human rights standards") within the legal practitioners profession in the FORUM & SPC Region.

(b) To assist and encourage members of the profession to be involved in the promotion and observance of international human rights standards throughout the FORUM & SPC Region.

(c) To promote access to justice and the observance of international human rights standards by all appropriate means including:

(i) Study and research and reporting into human rights standards and any subject relating to them.

(ii) Communications with any international, regional or national governmental or non-governmental organisation, any corporation or business or any grouping or individual which may bear responsibility for or possess influence over the abuse or observance of international human rights standards. ("Communications").

(iii) Conducting missions around the FORUM & SPC Region to observe, monitor and report upon matters relating to human rights including trials, detention conditions, elections and the exercise of civil and political rights, matters falling with the jurisdiction of any national, regional or international court including the International Criminal Court, and the protection of economic, social and cultural rights etc. ("Missions").

(iv) Providing advice and support to members of the legal professions in the FORUM & SPC Region in their efforts to secure human rights within their states or regions.

(v) To aid in the instruction and training in international human rights standards for the legal profession in the FORUM & SPC Region.

(vi) Any other activities which may be designed to promote international human rights standards in the FORUM & SPC Region.

Article III: Membership

(a) Membership shall be open to any legal practitioner in the FORUM & SPC Region regardless of race, sex, creed, national origin, disability, or other status protected under international human rights law. The organization will not restrict membership and/or activity by reason of age, citizenship, color, disability, gender, race, religion, national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, or status. Despite these requirements, the organization may restrict membership based on an ability to perform the activities related to the organizations purpose.

(b) Every member shall furnish the Secretary with an up-to-date address and if available, e- mail address which shall be recorded in the Register of Members and any notice sent to such address shall be deemed to have been duly delivered.


(c) Membership subscription fees will be decided on an annual basis by the Executive Committee and different rates may apply to different jurisdictions and other concessions maybe also be taken in for the prescribing of fees.

Application for membership

(d) An application for membership shall be in the form from time to time prescribed by the Committee, and shall include the name, address, e-mail address (if any) and occupation of the applicant. The Committee may refuse an application for membership from any individual if it is evident to the Committee that the applicant would not be a suitable member of the Group. Any such decision may only be made with the approval of not less than two-thirds of the serving Committee. The decision to refuse an application for membership shall be reached with reference to the compatibility of the applicant's past or present conduct or views with the Objectives of the Group. A decision to refuse an application for membership shall be notified to the membership and be subject to the approval of a General Meeting held within 28 days of the Committee's decision.

Conduct of Members

(e) Every member is deemed to have notice of, and impliedly undertakes to comply with this Constitution. Any refusal or neglect to do so, or any conduct which, in the opinion of the Committee, is either unworthy of a member or otherwise injurious to the interests of the Group, shall render a member liable to expulsion by the Committee. Provided that, before expelling a member, the Committee shall call upon such member for a written explanation of the member's conduct and shall give the member full opportunity of making explanation to the Committee, or of resigning.

(f) A Resolution to expel a member shall be carried by a special two-thirds majority vote by those members of the Committee present and voting on the Resolution and be subject to the approval of a General Meeting held within 28 days of the Committee's decision.

Article IV: Meetings

(a) Annual General Meetings of the Association shall be held at least once in each calendar year and not more than fifteen months on a date to be fixed by the Executive Committee. The agenda for the annual general meeting shall be fixed by the Executive Committee. The Secretary shall at least twenty one days before the date of such meeting or of any General Meeting as hereinafter mentioned post or deliver or e-mail to each member notice thereof and of the business to be brought forward there at.

(b) No business maybe discussed at any meeting unless notice of such business has been forwarded to the Executive Committee and published in the agenda disseminated to the members. Any member wishing to put a business on the agenda shall forward a notice of the business to the Secretary. All such notices must be supported by another member. All such notices must be received by the Secretary, in writing no later than five days after the notice of meeting has been forwarded to the members.

(c) The Executive Committee shall call a meeting upon a written request addressed to the Secretary by at least one fifth of the members. The discussion at such meeting shall be confined to the business stated in the notice sent to members.

Article V: Officers

(a) The Executive Committee (Committee) shall consist of the Patron, Executive Officer, Secretary, Treasurer and up to three individual members. The Executive Committee shall be elected every three years at the Annual General Meeting of their third year in office.

Election of committee by ballot

(b) If the number of candidates for election is greater than the number of vacancies to be filled then there shall be a ballot.

No contest for election

(c) If the number of candidates for election is equal to or less than the number of vacancies to be filled then all candidates shall be deemed to be elected if two thirds of those present at the Annual General Meeting, and entitled to vote, vote in favour of such election.

(d) In the event of the ballot failing to determine the members of the Committee because of an equality of votes the candidate or candidates to be elected from those having an equal number of votes shall be determined by lot.

Casual vacancy

(e) If, for any reason, a casual vacancy shall occur, the Committee may co-opt a member to fill such a vacancy until the next following Annual General Meeting.

Committee Meetings

(f) The Committee shall meet at least every six months making such arrangements as to the conduct, place of assembly and holding of such meetings as it may wish. The Executive Officer or in his the Secretary or in their joint absence any other officer elected by those present shall preside.

(g) Business between meetings and meeting of the Committee may be transacted by email on condition that each member of the committee is sent all e-mails from each member relating to the business in hand and that the Secretary maintains an electronic store of all such e-mails open for inspection by any member of the committee on reasonable notice. On urgent matters between meetings requiring a Committee decision the Executive Officer and Secretary will determine the consensus of the Committee and decisions so made that are reasonably capable of rescission are open to debate and vote at the next meeting. The Committee shall decide who may represent the Association in any mission in furtherance of the objectives of the Association.

(h) Voting shall be by simple majority unless otherwise provided in the Rules. The Rules shall be drafted by the Committee.

Powers to make Regulations

(i) The Committee shall from time to tome make Regulations for the proper administration of PILHRN, and at no time shall the Committee alter, revoke, change or otherwise do anything to this Constitution without first conforming to the articles herein.

Duties of Officers

(j) There shall be a Patron of PILHRN and the duties and role of the Patron are as follows:

(i) Shall use his or her name for the advancement of PILHRN

(ii) Shall raise an awareness PILHRN in the Pacific Region and globally.

(iii) Shall encourage other legal practitioners in the SPC and FORUM Region to be members of PILHRN

(iv) Attend meetings of the Executive Committee of PILHRN.

(v) Encourage contributions and sponsorship of PILHRN work and activities.

(vi) Any other duties as agreed by the Committee.

(k) There shall be an Executive Officer of PILHRN and the duties and role of the

Executive Officer are as follows:

(i) Overall administration PILHRN

(ii) Preside over all group meetings.

(iii) Disseminate information amongst PILHRN members.

(iv) Represent PILHRN at regional and global meetings.

(v) Ensure that all members read and understand all Conventions, Treaties and any associated laws on Human Rights

(vi) Any other duties as agreed by the Committee

(l) There shall be a Secretary of PILHRN and the duties and role of the Secretary are as follows:

(i) Maintaining an accurate record of the current addresses, and experiences of the members of PILHRN.

(ii) Prepare the agenda for meetings

(iii) Providing secretarial support to the organization and Committee and issuing the minutes of meetings to members.

(iv) Maintain a written correspondence/e-mail file.

(vi) Provide a summary of the annual meeting and activities of PILHRN to the members.

(vii) Any other duties as agreed by the Committee

(m) There shall be a Treasurer of PILHRN and the duties and role of the Treasurer are as follows:

(i) Administering the Organisation’s finances in accordance with the Constitution or Rules

(ii) Producing the Society’s annual budget

(iii) Any other duties as agreed by the Committee

There shall be three members who shall be members of the Executive Committee and their duties and roles will be as directed by the Executive Officer in consultation with the Patron, the Secretary and the Treasurer.

Article VI: Amendments and By-Laws

(a) Amendments to this constitution may be made at an Annual General Meeting or an Extraordinary General Meeting of PILHRN.

(b) Such amendments to this constitution as may be approved by simple majority at any Annual General Meeting or an Extraordinary General Meeting of PILHRN.


Forum Members countries: Includes all member and associate member countries of the Pacific Islands Forum as maybe increased or decreased from time to time.

SPC member Countries: includes all members (i.e) American Samoa, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), Fiji Islands, French Polynesia, Guam, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Caledonia, Niue, Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), Palau, Papua New Guinea (PNG), Pitcairn Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Wallis and Futuna and the founding members

Legal Practitioners means: Barristers and or Solicitors, Attorneys at Law, Trial and Legal Advocates, Judges, Magistrates or any person who either advocates or presides in a court or tribunal of law in the Forum or SPC region.

SPC’s Regional Rights Resource Team receives core funding from the Australian Government and additional project support from the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Pacific Leadership Programme (PLP), European Union (EU) and the German Development Bank (KfW).