Organisations prepare for human rights review

By Adel Fruean 22 February 2021, 2:00PM

A workshop to raise awareness and provide guidance to civil society organisations in preparing and compiling their submissions for the upcoming Universal Periodic Review.

The workshop, which was held at the Taumeasina Island Resort, was hosted by the Office of the Ombudsman which is also Samoa’s National Human Rights Institution [N.H.R.I.].

It was held in collaboration with SPC-RRRT (Pacific Community) and the Office of the High Commission for Human Rights in Fiji.

Civil Societies in Samoa have been invited to submit shadow submission reports to the U.P.R. by 25 March 2021.

The U.P.R. is a unique process which involves a review of the human rights records of all United Nation Member States. 

It is a state-driven process which provides the opportunity for each State to declare what actions they have taken to improve the human rights situations in their countries and to fulfil their human rights obligations. 

The workshop strived to refresh and raise awareness among civil society organisations in Samoa on the United Nations Human Rights Council’s upcoming Universal Periodic Review and provide guidance to the organisations in preparing and compiling their submissions or shadow reports to the U.P.R. 

According to the Director of Human Rights, Loukinini Vili-Lewaravu, she said that it was an opportunity for C.S.O. to discuss best practices and better understand their involvement in the U.P.R. process.

“It is important to bring C.S.O. together to remind them of their crucial role,” stated Ms. Vili-Lewaravu in a statement issued by the Office of the Ombudsman.

It also added that C.S.O. contributes to the reviewing process of Samoa.

“And to discuss options for submitting alternative submissions reports to the U.P.R. in order for them to highlight their issues in the most effective way.”

The Human Rights Adviser to the Pacific Community, Ashley Bowe commented on the importance of updating C.S.O. on best practices and technical guidelines on report structures that are recommended by U.N. experts.

“It is always helpful to share experiences from the process - the challenges and best practices as well as being familiar with reporting guidelines.

Mr. Bowe said that S.P.C. commends the N.H.R.I. of Samoa in assisting C.S.O. with their drafting and ensuring there continues to be a greater representation of C.S.O. in these United Nation processes.

The Office also acknowledged the support and presence of various C.S.O. in Samoa who attended as well as the U.N. Resident Coordinator, Simona Marinescu, Glen Ryan from the Office of the UN Resident Coordinator, and Papalii Mele Maualaivao of UN WOMEN for their contribution.

Samoa’s third U.P.R. is scheduled for November 2021. 

By Adel Fruean 22 February 2021, 2:00PM

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