UK welcomes Samoa’s UPR report

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The United Kingdom has welcomed Samoa’s on-going engagement with the United Nation Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process.

This engagement includes fully implementing recommendations from the 2016 UPR, such as ratifying the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and acceding to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

The UK statement also welcomed Samoa’s work on media freedom including with partner agencies of UNESCO and the Journalism Association of Western Samoa (JAWS0.

“We encourage the government to consider joining the Media Freedom Coalition, said the UK government.

The UK commends Samoa on promoting and protecting human rights more widely including through the establishment of the National Mechanism for the Implementation, Reporting and Follow-up Taskforce.

The UK recommends that Samoa:

-Ratify Protocol of 2014 to the Forced Labour Convention, 1930, before its next review;
-Review the Mental Health Act of 2007 to ensure it fully complies with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and ensure it is enforced by providing adequate resources and training;
-Take action to prevent and respond to gender-based violence against women and girls by continuing to effectively implement the District Development Plan from 2017 and the findings from the Ministry of Women, Community and Social Development’s awareness programme in January 2021 on gender-based violence and alcohol abuse.

In its report to the UPR, Samoa said it has tried to respond to all the 129 recommendations – 49% fully implemented, 47% implemented with the rest pending action.

“All recommendations continue to be part of the ongoing reviews of the Family Laws where relevant, existing policies and of the ongoing review of the UPR process through the NMIRF and SDG taskforces. There is a healthy debate around human rights issues with enhanced awareness of the issues involved as well as questions particularly when issues are not properly contextualised and interpreted.

“Universally we are in trying, unprecedented times. The circumstances the world is facing due to the COVID-19 pandemic have tested the very mettle of our nations and governments beyond any limits that we have known in our lifetime. As we respond to the ongoing threats of climate change, COVID19 and any other shocks that will come, Samoa commits to ensuring that we do so while still promoting the respect of, protection and fulfilment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms in Samoa.

The Samoan UPR report said while the Pacific Island nation may have graduated from a least developed country (LDC) to lower middle-income status, it will not graduate from being a SIDS.

“The inherent vulnerabilities to impacts of climate change will continue to challenge our SDG and human rights implementation efforts. The current health crisis adds to the uphill battle in ensuring we meet the promise for an improved quality of life for all Samoans.”

On Constitution and legal framework, the Samoa UPR report said there have been much debate and discussion around the enactment of three Acts that have substantive implications for legal pluralism and effect a judicial restructure.

“These are issues that continue to be a matter for national discussion and deliberation in moving forward. However, the new Acts do not affect remedies sought by a person for the enforcement and recognition of his or her fundamental rights as an individual, which are still protected under Part II of the Constitution. 107.

“The recent events following Samoa’s general elections in 2021 has clearly demonstrated the need for effective constitutional law reform given ongoing debate on the interpretation of Samoa’s Constitution.

“Samoa recognises that there is work to be done to strengthen the legal framework and address any issues that may imply uncertainty in application of the rule of law. Despite recent events, Samoa remains peaceful and all public services remain in place. A new government is now in place led by the first female Prime Minister for Samoa, said the report.

Samoa submitted its UPR review to the UN Human Rights Council on Tuesday, 02 November 2021…. PACNEWS