The government has conducted a full day training exercise in advance of its upcoming visit to Geneva for Samoa’s 2nd Universal Periodic Review before the United Nations.
The ‘mock UPR’ was hosted by the Office of the United Nations Human Rights Commissioner (O.H.C.H.R) and funded by O.H.C.H.R and S.P.C/R.R.R.T.
The Universal Periodic Review (U.P.R) is a unique process, which involves a periodic review of the human rights records of all 193 UN Member States.
The U.P.R is a significant innovation of the Human Rights Council which is based on equal treatment for all countries and provides an opportunity for all States to declare what actions they have taken to improve the human rights situations in their countries and to overcome challenges to the enjoyment of human rights. The U.P.R also includes a sharing of best human rights practices around the globe. Currently, no other mechanism of this kind exists.
The mock U.P.R covered a range of topics in the morning sessions, with a member of Samoa’s first U.P.R delegation, Papali'i Malietau Malietoa sharing his experiences from 2011 and Ashley Bowe, of O.H.C.H.R, presenting on the nature of the review and practical considerations for the delegation.
In the afternoon the delegation were put through their paces with a run through of the Universal Periodic Review itself.
The delegation opened by presenting the State report on Samoa’s achievements since 2011 and then received a series of questions and recommendations from UN member countries (represented by staff from the Office of the Ombudsman, M.F.A.T and N.O.L.A).
Samoa is due to undertake its 2nd Universal Periodic Review on 3 May 2016 and will receive the final outcome document with recommendations later in the year. One of the commitments the government has made in its State report is the establishment of a ‘National Mechanism for Reporting and Follow-Up’ (N.M.R.F) to coordinate all of Samoa’s human rights reporting obligations in a more effective and efficient manner.
The N.M.R.F will be responsible for taking the recommendations received from the U.P.R and developing an implementation plan in consultation with Government Ministries, CSOs and the general public. If you are interested in watching Samoa’s review, it will be broadcast live at www.webtv.un.org between 9am-12.30pm Geneva time, 3 May.