A United Nations human rights committee has grilled the Cook Islands government over its classification of people in same-sex relationships as criminals.
The Cook Islands News said the country's Crimes Bill was under the spotlight at the high-powered hearing by the Committee on the Rights of the Child in Samoa.
The paper said select committee chair Tingika Elikana told the meeting the decriminalisation of same-sex relations in Cook Islands still needed to be addressed.
The UN then expressed concern that such a discriminatory clause jeopardised some young people's rights.
Mr Elikana said there was lobbying from the rainbow community to decriminalise same-sex relations but there had been an overwhelming response from the community, the grassroots and traditional leaders who wanted the provisions retained.
Cook Islands LGBTI group Te Tiare said the ongoing discrimination of the Cook Islands' rainbow community hurt families and children.