Friday, November 16, 2018

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Establishment of the National Human Rights Institution (NHRI) at the Office of the Ombudsman

Sector agencies involved: Office of the Ombudsman

Project goals: To protect and promote human rights in Samoa through the establishment of an independent National Human Rights Institution (NHRI) mandated to monitor, advise and report on human rights issues. The NHRI will run out of the Office of the Ombudsman and will be created through rewriting the existing Ombudsman Act 1980 to provide for additional powers. This will be a cost-effective approach to creating a NHRI that satisfies the international standards to which a fully functioning and efficient NHRI must adhere (these standards are called the ‘Paris Principles’). The NHRI will raise awareness of individual rights and responsibilities amongst the population and will work towards achieving a human rights–aware society in order to promote good governance and prevent human rights violations in Samoa. The primary beneficiaries of this project will be the population of Samoa, who will enjoy greater protection of their rights. The NHRI will also benefit the Government, which will have greater standing in the international community and improved governance procedures.

Project outcomes: Strengthening ‘watchdog’ mandate, integrity and good governance.

Status: In progress. The Office of the Ombudsman is currently overseeing the establishment of the National Human Rights Institution for Samoa, in addition to its traditional role in the promotion of integrity in governance. The NHRI will be launched in 2013 following the creation of legislation for its establishment, which was passed in May 2013. Planning and budgeting is currently underway ahead of the launch. Throughout the establishment process, those involved in this project have been in contact with human rights specialists at the Asia Pacific Forum and the regional Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and have also received advice from the Commonwealth Ombudsman. As part of the establishment process it is necessary to train existing Ombudsman staff in human rights protection and promotion work and to develop networks with other human rights professionals.

See also Participation in 22nd Annual Human Rights and Peoples’ Diplomacy Training Program (DTP) for Human Rights Defenders from Asia Pacific (completed project).

Media coverage:

Read about this project in the Sector's July 2013 newsletter (page 11). download-now


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