The United Nations in the Pacific today commended Samoa for establishing a national human rights institution. The institution is part of the Komesina o Sulufaiga (Ombudsman), and has the mandate to protect and promote human rights in the country.
The national human rights institution of Samoa is officially launched today on International Human Rights Day, 10 December, by the Deputy Samoan Prime Minister H.E. Fonotoe Pierre Lauofo in a ceremony attended by government officials, civil society and international partners in Samoa.
“The establishment of a national human rights institution marks Samoa’s accession to the rank of countries which regard the enjoyment of people’s human rights and freedoms among their most essential priorities. The creation of this institution signifies that human rights are not merely acknowledged as a symbolic issue for the country, but rather, the launch of this institution creates for the people of Samoa a place where they may seek assistance and advise for concrete human rights issues they face in their day-to-day lives,” said Lizbeth Cullity, the United Nations Resident Coordinator for Samoa.
“Samoa’s achievement is a milestone not only for the country but for the region as a whole. In fact, the process that led to the establishment of the national human rights institution, and especially the commitment demonstrated by the Government and civil society groups, is an excellent example that other countries in the region can look to,” she said.
The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), in close cooperation with the Asia-Pacific Forum on National Human Rights Institutions, UN and regional partners, provides technical cooperation and advisory support that help establish or strengthen national human rights institutions across the world.
“Independent and effective national human rights institutions have a central place in national human rights protection systems, and in addressing the most critical human rights issues, promoting the rule of law and ensuring accountability. As actors for positive change, national human rights institutions are well-placed to address, and also to prevent, human rights violations,” said Erik Friberg, OHCHR Deputy Regional Representative for the Pacific.
“I reiterate the UN Human Rights Office’s commitment to continue to support, with partners, the Samoa Ombudsman with its broadened mandate and function as a national human rights institution, with a view towards achieving full compliance with international standards, the ‘Paris Principles’, and joining the international cooperation frameworks of national human rights institutions ahead,” he concluded.
The national human rights institution has the mandate to promote and protect human rights in Samoa.