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Tuvalu passes Bill to establish NHRI

Graphic: Boys stand on a jetty at sunset, Tuvalu

The Asia Pacific region will soon have a new NHRI, with the Parliament of Tuvalu passing legislation to establish an independent rights body.


The Asia Pacific region will soon have a new national human rights institution (NHRI), with the Parliament of Tuvalu passing legislation in October to establish an independent rights body.

Under the legislation, Tuvalu's Ombudsman will be given additional powers to promote and protect human rights in the South Pacific nation.

Tuvalu's NHRI will be able to receive complaints and initiate inquiries into pressing human rights issues, as well as undertake activities to promote awareness of fundamental human rights.

The legislation has also been drafted to ensure that Tuvalu's human rights body meets the standards set out in the Paris Principles for independent and effective NHRIs.

"We are delighted to see the legislation passed with such a powerful endorsement from the parliament," said Kieren Fitzpatrick, Director of the APF secretariat.

"It means that Tuvalu's new NHRI has a strong foundation to respond to the concerns of the community and provide redress for people who experience discrimination or human rights violations."

Mr Fitzpatrick said the process to establish Tuvalu's NHRI had been especially swift, with initial consultations between the APF, the South Pacific Community's Regional Rights Resource Team (RRRT) and officials from Tuvalu taking place in July 2016.


Graphic: RRRT and APF representatives present a copy of the draft legislation to Tuvalu's Ombudsman


The consultations considered the most appropriate model of NHRI to serve the small island nation. Tuvalu has a population of just over 10,000 people living across its nine, low-lying islands.

The Ombudsman is currently responsible for implementing the country's Leadership Code, which commits Tuvalu's leaders to the principles of good governance.

The preferred NHRI model was to establish a Chief Ombudsman and two Ombudsman Commissioners, one with responsibility for the Leadership Code and one with responsibility for human rights.

In January 2017, the APF contributed to the process of drafting the founding legislation for Tuvalu's NHRI, which was then presented to the parliament for review and debate.

Since March 2017, the APF and RRRT have held consultations on the possible establishment of an NHRI in four other countries in the Pacific: the Cook Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands and Nauru.

Date: 23 October 2017


Image credits

  1. Boys stand on a jetty at sunset, Tuvalu - INABA Tomoaki, Flickr; http://bit.ly/2gWJ3Jo
  2. RRRT and APF representatives present a copy of the draft legislation to Tuvalu's Ombudsman - RRRT