20 Jul 2022

'Catastrophic' effect on human rights from pandemic says Samoan report

2:24 pm on 20 July 2022

Samoa's Ombudsman Luamanuvao Katalaina Sapolu says the human rights effects from the covid-19 pandemic have been catastrophic.

She has just submitted Samoa's eighth State of Human Rights Report to Parliament.

Samoa's new ombudsman Luamanuvao Katalaina Sapolu

Samoa's new ombudsman Luamanuvao Katalaina Sapolu Photo: RNZ Pacific Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia

Luamanuvao said over the past two years families had lost loved ones, businesses suffered, unemployment rates increased, and freedom of movement was restricted.

She said there has also been a grave impact on children's right to education, and the right to health continues to be challenged with resources stretched to the maximum.

But she said human rights principles continue to play an important role in addressing discrimination and inequality and providing inclusion of everyone in the prevention of, and recovery from covid-19.

The report provides an analysis of the impact of the pandemic and government measures on the rights and freedoms of Samoans, especially on the most vulnerable groups.

The report also includes recommendations for the government to ensure its covid-19 measures are consistent with the constitution, domestic laws, and policies safeguarding human rights, as well as Samoa's international human rights obligations.