25 Feb 2005

Regional meeting to discuss Human Rights in Fiji next week

7:06 pm on 25 February 2005

A regional meeting next week in Fiji is to discuss how Pacific Island countries can strengthen human rights mechanisms.

Pacific Islands Forum Secretary General, Greg Urwin says Forum Leaders made a call last year to develop human rights mechanisms at the national level.

Mr Urwin says the workshop will help to see how the human rights agenda is changing in response to political, economic and social developments.

Currently only Fiji, New Zealand and Australia have Human Rights Commissions.

Solomon Islands is in the process of establishing a Commission, and other countries in the Pacific, in particular Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu, have expressed an interest in establishing a mechanism protecting and promoting human rights.

A keynote address by Emiritus Professor Don Paterson from the University of the South Pacific will compare human rights provisions in the Constitutions and legal systems of Pacific Island states.

The Chairperson of the Fiji Human Rights Commission, Mr Walter Rigamoto, will also present a paper on the powers, duties and functions of his office.