4 Feb 2010

Small Pacific countries get help to assess human rights status

4:19 pm on 4 February 2010

The United Nations is helping three small central Pacific nations to prepare for their first international human rights evaluation later this year.

Senator Tony deBrum says this week's UN-supported workshop in Majuro is giving the Marshall Islands a chance to catch up in an area long-neglected by government.

The UN Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights, the Pacific Regional Rights Resource Team and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community are supporting a Universal Periodic Review of human rights programs in the Marshall Islands, Kiribati and the Federated States of Micronesia for a November presentation in Geneva.

The Marshall Foreign Minister, John Silk, says the review aims to prompt, support and expand the promotion and protection of human rights on the ground.

He says it has significant consequences for Marshall Islanders and the country's human rights standings.

Senator deBrum says the country has only a short time to accomplish an awesome task.

He says the Marshall Islands falls short of good governance in health and education, and protection of the weak, and needs to catch up.