Skip to main content

First-ever Pacific ‘Community of Practice’ for effective national implementation of human rights commitments

Submitted by onorinas on Tue, 02/08/2022 - 10:51

In April of this year, 135 government officials and participants from 12 Pacific Island Countries concluded a Pacific talanoa on National Mechanisms for Implementation, Reporting and Follow-Up (NMIRF) with the formation of the first-ever Pacific regional Community of Practice (CoP) for continued learning and sharing on national mechanisms for reporting of human rights commitments.

The Pacific NMIRF Community of Practice currently has Nauru, Tuvalu and Tonga in its working group and is open for other countries to join.

The Pacific Regional talanoa was facilitated by the Pacific Community’s (SPC) Human Rights and Social Development Division which saw the participation of representatives from the Cook Islands, Fiji, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Republic of Marshall Islands, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.

The event was funded by the United States Agency for International Development through the Promoting Just, Engaged, Civic-Minded and Transparent (PROJECT) Governance partnership programme.

The talanoa was an opportunity to understand, build capacity and share best practices in strengthening the reporting and implementation of human rights treaties at the national level.

The rationale behind the NMIRF CoP is to create a permanent platform for peer-to-peer learning and NMIRF establishment and strengthening efforts through PROJECT Governance, thereby significantly increasing the foundations of NMIRF work in the region.

The formation of the NMIRF CoP is a significant step taken by the Pacific region to build the momentum towards implementation of human rights commitments. While the international community has invested enormous time and energy in building the international human rights system over the past seven decades, it has expended far fewer resources in considering how best to implement

 the obligations, commitments and recommendations generated by that system – or in tracking and measuring impact

 on the enjoyment of human rights. Though in truth we simply do not know the degree to which domestic implementation is happening, this lack of focus on the part of world governments has given rise to the idea that a significant ‘implementation gap’ has been allowed to develop between universal values and local realities.

According to SPC’s Human Rights Advisor William Nainima, the 3-day NMIRF talanoa identified common experiences in the region in terms of the challenges, solutions, lessons learnt and the type of support that SPC can provide to members in terms of technical assistance.

“The final output from the talanoa session is that we were able to train as well as create a space for sharing and learning on national mechanisms for reporting, implementation and follow-up,” Nainima said.

Nainima added that a key outcome from the talanoa session was that it allowed for country-specific support to be identified and which will be addressed as part of PROJECT Governance.

Ms Carol Sanam Kitiona, a member from the Kiribati Human Rights Taskforce from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration highlighted that the collective discussions, opinions and inputs from all PICs that were present in this talanoa were all very valuable and no doubt contributed much to mitigating the common and shared NMIRF challenges that are faced. 

She shared that the talanoa provided a wonderful platform for exchange with all other PICs on NMIRF.

“This whole NMIRF process is a difficult work in progress but engaging in these types of discussions with our regional family is a very efficient and effective way to improve ourselves in areas which we are lacking in,” Kitiona added.

She added that it clear from the dialogue that capacity remains an issue for NMIRF establishment and coordination and urged more focus on capacity and training.

“One of the common shared NMIRF challenges in the PICs is the management of information and reporting. I acknowledge NMIRF technical assistance in this matter and believe that with the introduction of the IMPACT OSS software, this will help ensure that the coordination and monitoring implementation are improved,” Kitiona noted.

Country List

Achieving gender equality is everybody’s business – first visit by international committee members to the Pacific a success

Submitted by SRolls on Fri, 22/07/2022 - 14:26
Publish Published

Pictured (left to right): Mereseini Rakuita, SPC Principal Strategic Lead - Pacific Women; Bandana Rana and Natasha Stott Despoja, CEDAW Committee members.

15 July 2022

Suva, Fiji – Two leading global experts on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) visited the Pacific region for the first time this week, working with ten Pacific Island governments to help advance work to improve the lives of women and girls in the region.

Over three days, Bandana Rana from Nepal and Natasha Stott Despoja from Australia joined around 100 participants for the Pacific Government CEDAW Learning Exchange held from 12–14 July 2022.

The government delegates from Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu and Vanuatu enhanced their skills and knowledge to enable them to better report on and meet their agreed commitment to advance gender equality in the region – something expected of governments after ratification of treaties, such as CEDAW, at least every four years.

This exchange included the sharing of experiences, learning and examples of good practices by Pacific governments as well as through civil society organisations (CSOs) engagements –supported by the visiting experts.

“To find out where your gaps are, what needs to be done in the next 4 or 5 years - that’s what [the Committee] is doing.  This is a clear map, a clear strong mechanism, that every state party should feel is an asset for you, to strengthen you, to create that roadmap for you, for equality, peaceful and just society,” shared Ms Rana.

The CEDAW committee members heard a range of challenges experienced by Pacific Governments faced during regular reporting from the participants. Among these is finding resources, data and statistics and other information needed to show the progress made towards advancing gender equality.

“Gender equality – achieving it is everybody’s business. It’s not up to women, it’s up to all of us. I look forward to working with us all – men, women, boys, girls, non-binary and other people – in order to bring about a world, not just a region, in which gender equality is the norm,” added Ms Stott Despoja.

During her opening remarks, Heike Alefsen, Regional Representative of the United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner (OHCHR) Pacific Regional Office said, “ I would like to applaud those Pacific Island states that have been meeting their reporting obligations under CEDAW on time and I hope that through this learning exchange, other countries will be encouraged to submit all overdue reports to the CEDAW Committee and establish national mechanisms for reporting and follow ups to assist in their reporting obligations.”

Ms Rana and Ms Stott Despoja travelled to Fiji to participate in the Learning Exchange, with participants joining the event via in-person ‘learning hubs’ in their respective countries.

“By knowing and using the Convention, governments have a powerful tool to guide their policy-making and legislation to ensure that women can enjoy all of their human rights and fundamental freedoms; and for achieving gender equality. We are pleased to support this regional exchange, and thank SPC and OHCHR for their strong and ongoing partnership in working with Pacific Island Governments, CSOs and communities to promote gender equality,” said Melissa Stutsel, Officer in Charge, UN Women Fiji Multi-country Office.

“SPC remains dedicated to supporting member governments with national implementation of their human rights and gender equality commitments, and through this collaboration with our UN counterparts, we hope to see improvements in the lives of women and girls across the Pacific,” stated Miles Young, Director of the Human Rights and Social Development (HRSD) Division of SPC.

The Pacific Government CEDAW Learning Exchange is supported by the Pacific Community (SPC), UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR) and UN Women Fiji Multi Country Office (UN Women).

SPC’s support includes the Promoting Just, Engaged, Civic-minded and Transparent (PROJECT) Governance partnership between SPC and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Pacific Women Lead programme funded by Australia.

East West Center part of the Blue Pacific Alliance under PROJECT Governance

Submitted by Admin on Mon, 27/09/2021 - 15:18
Publish Published

About the East-West Center

The East-West Center(link is external) promotes better relations and understanding among the United States, Asia and the Pacific through collaborative study, research, and dialogue. Across Asia and the Pacific Islands, and at our campuses in Honolulu and Washington DC, the Center hosts conferences, exchanges, and in-depth trainings for policymakers, educators, cultural and civil-society leaders, and entrepreneurs. The Center conducts multidisciplinary research on environmental issues, public health, demography, economic policy and geopolitics, and provides graduate degree fellowships for the next generation of leaders. The Center also hosts the Pacific Islands Development Program(link is external)—the focal point of EWC programming for Pacific nations, and the seat of the secretariat of the Pacific Islands Conference of Leaders.

EWC and PROJECT Governance

The East-West Center is proud to join SPC, IFES, and CARE as part of the Blue Pacific Alliance implementing PROJECT Governance. EWC will lead four mutually reinforcing activities focused on supporting financial-governance offices and officials across the region:

For more information about the East-West Center and PROJECT Governance, please contact us at [email protected].

Pacific Human Rights Situational Analysis Report 2020

Pacific Human Rights Situational Analysis Report 2020

The Pacific Human Rights Situational Analysis Report 2020  analyses the situation of human rights across 16 Pacific Islands Countries (PICs) in the region:  Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), Republic of Kiribati, Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI), Republic of Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Kingdom of Tonga, Tuvalu, and Republic of Vanuatu.

This edition covers the period from June 2016 to December 2019 and includes a special chapter on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on human rights in the Pacific in 2020.   The situation of human rights in the Pacific has been assessed through desktop research compiled from open sources including the United Nations Universal Periodic Review and treaty bodies. It is brought to you by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and SPC’s Human Rights and Social Development Division.

Pacific Guide to Statistical Indicators for Human Rights Reporting

Pacific Guide to Statistical Indicators for Human Rights Reporting

The Pacific Guide to Statistical Indicators for Human Rights Reporting is the first such document of its kind on human rights reporting under the core human rights treaties in the Pacific.

It proposes a set of indicators that are contextually relevant and meaningful for the region, acknowledging the unique challenges and opportunities that Pacific Island countries experience in data collection, national institutions and resources.

The guide is meant to assist coordinating bodies within Pacific Island governments responsible for preparing initial and periodic reports on the country’s progress on implementation of ratified treaties, as well as those overseeing the implementation of national human rights action plans. The guide will also help national statistics offices to better understand how the statistical data they collect, analyse and provide feeds into human rights reporting.

Tuvalu National Human Rights Action Plan

Tuvalu National Human Rights Action Plan

The Tuvalu National Human Rights Action Plan is a Pacific first and consolidates Tuvalu's human rights commitments and ensures a systematic and coordinated approach to the delivery of the government's human rights commitment, as well as to strengthen the government's realisation of human rights in Tuvalu.

It captures Tuvalu's existing commitments under human rights treaties to which it is a state party-- the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC); the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and; the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) as well as Tuvalu’s commitments under the Universal periodic Review (UPR), the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Te Kakeega III-2016-2020 (TK III), Tuvalu’s National Development Plan.

Pacific Island States & the Universal Periodic Review

Pacific Island States & the Universal Periodic Review

A toolkit for Pacific Island states to measure progress against Universal Periodic Review recommendations.

CEDAW Roadmap

CEDAW Roadmap

Reporting before the Committee.

Subscribe to Human Rights Implementation & Reporting Publications