Tuvalu’s human rights record under review

As the second Pacific Island State after Tonga, Tuvalu’s human rights record was examined by the United Nations Human Rights Council under the second cycle of its Universal Periodic Review (UPR) on 24th April 2013. The UPR provides a unique opportunity for Pacific Island States to discuss their human rights situation with the international community. Moreover, the preparation and follow-up processes constitute a valuable tool for every state to engage with national stakeholders and civil society representatives.

A delegation of three members headed by Ms. Ese Apinelu, Tuvalu’s Attorney-General, travelled to Geneva last week. The UPR process highlights positive developments but also raises concerns. On a positive note, during the UPR consideration, it was also highlighted that the visit of the Special Rapporteur on the Human Right to Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation in 2012 had been a positive experience for Tuvalu. The Tuvaluan delegation expressed its wish to enhance international cooperation given its resource constraints, and welcomes future visits of UN special measures such as the variety of Special Rapporteurs.

The human rights achievements and challenges that were identified by the Human Rights Council comprise gender equality, the empowerment of women and the fight against domestic as well as gender-based violence. Further recommendations put forward by other countries include the ratification of international human rights treaties including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; the domestication of these international human rights standards; and the establishment of a national human rights institution in compliance with the Paris Principles. Further issues raised were corporal punishment in the context of children’s rights, consensual same-sex relations, religious freedom and the negative impacts of climate change on human rights.

OHCHR’s Regional Office for the Pacific welcomes Tuvalu’s engagement with the UPR and looks forward to the follow-up process on the commitments made. The Regional Office stands ready to review requests from the Government to support the implementation of particular recommendations.

The UPR is one of the key instruments of the Human Rights Council, reminding States of their responsibility to fully respect and implement all human rights and fundamental freedoms. The ultimate aim of this mechanism is to improve the human rights situation and to address human rights violations all around the world.

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For media enquiries, contact the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights – Regional Office for the Pacific (Suva, Fiji) at + (679) 331 0465 or by email: pacific@ohchr.org

The UPR recommendations, the Interactive discussion, issues and questions raised and other highlights can be found on OHCHR’s main web page:

http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/UPR/Pages/UPRMain.aspx

Notes to Editors:

  OHCHR leads global human rights efforts and works to promote and protect the human rights that are guaranteed under international law and stipulated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948.

  OHCHR is headed by the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navanethem Pillay, who co-ordinates human rights activities throughout the UN System and works closely with the Human Rights Council.

  OHCHR Regional Pacific office covers 16 countries: Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

  For more information on OHCHR Regional Pacific visit http://pacific.ohchr.org/

For more information on the human rights in the Pacific, read OHCHR’s report: Human Rights in the Pacific – Country Outlines 2012 (PDF)