12 Oct 2016

Pacific dialogue centres on human rights

3:45 pm on 12 October 2016

A four day regional consultation has opened in Fiji to help 11 Pacific island countries who are a part of the United Nations-led review process of national human rights records.

The dialogue in Nadi is designed to prepare them for the third cycle of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) by giving a platform for countries to share their experiences with the UPR process and learn from one another.

It is the latest event organised by the Pacific Community (SPC) to help countries commit to, and observe, international human rights standards.

It will allow countries to share stories of impact and major gains, including examples of best practice in the region.

The SPC Deputy Director-General, Dr Audrey Aumua, said the review mechanism provides an opportunity to promote and protect the rights of Pacific people, focused at the national level.

For Pacific countries that are UN member states, it is also an opportunity to draw the world's attention to the realities and challenges of implementing human rights and declare what actions they have taken to improve human rights in their countries.

This includes how States have begun to implement the human rights recommendations from the UPR; the challenges small islands states experience in implementing accepted recommendations; and identifying possible strategies towards advancing recommendations.

The dialogue this week will raise awareness of challenges that may need addressing with the assistance of donors and other bilateral partnerships, and also map implementation strategies between reviews, including identifying policies, models, mechanisms and tools for implementation.

All Pacific States have completed two four-year UPR cycles (2008-2011 and 2013-2016), with the third set to take place over four years from April 2017 to 2021.