Forum Secretariat applauds Samoa for establishing a national human rights institution
13th December 2013The Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat applauds the Government of Samoa for establishing a national human rights institution that has the mandate to protect and promote human rights.
The newly established National Human Rights Institution of Samoa was officially launched on International Human Rights Day, 10 December 2013, providing the people of Samoa a facility to have their human rights issues addressed.
The Office of the Ombudsman, which also functions as the National Human Rights Institution of Samoa, was made possible when the Parliament of Samoa passed the Ombudsman (Komesina O Sulufaiga) Act 2013 earlier this year to include human rights as part its function.
“The Secretariat offers its support to the Government of Samoa and the Office of the Ombudsman with a view to supporting its activities in relation to the promotion and protection of human rights nationally and regionally,” says Feleti Teo, the Acting Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat.
“This is quite an accomplishment for the Government of Samoa; the establishment of a dedicated institution mandated to promote and protect the human rights of citizens, is a show of commitment on behalf of the government to ensure that its citizens are provided with the necessary and fundamental mechanisms that will allow them to fully enjoy their rights.”
“The establishment of the institution comes at a crucial time when governments are becoming more conscious of human rights and the need to fulfil those rights – particularly in our region. It is encouraging to note that through this establishment, partnerships created will include civil society organisations.”
The Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat with its partners have been working closely with The Asia-Pacific Forum for National Human Rights Institution and have undertaken scoping missions on the potential establishment of national human rights institutions in other Forum Island countries including Palau, Vanuatu and Solomon Islands.
Mr. Feleti Teo, Acting Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat mentioned, “The creation of this institution is an indication by the government of Samoa that it is serious about the rights of its citizens. It also responds to the call made by the Human Rights Council through the Universal Periodic Review with regards to the establishment of a human rights institution.”
“The experience from Samoa can be applied to the other countries wishing to establish their own national mechanism. From a regional perspective, the creation of this national mechanism can also lead to and assist in the establishment of a regional human rights mechanism,” he said.