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Villages march for human rights

Graphic: People take part in the Human Rights Day march

More than 350 residents from five villages in the western part of Samoa took part in a colourful march to celebrate Human Rights Day 2015.

More than 350 residents from five villages in the western part of Samoa took part in a colourful march to celebrate Human Rights Day 2015.

The aim of the march was to highlight the links between human rights values and fa'asamoa ("the Samoan way").

Each village marched in colours to represent different human rights values: matautu (respect), suifaga (freedom), pata (peace), falevai (equality) and samatau (love).

"These human rights values are also values of the fa'asamoa and the foundations of our wonderful society," said Ombudsman Maiava Iulai Toma.

Following the march, Deputy Prime Minister Hon. Fonotoe Nuafesili addressed the gathering and called for "every day to be a human rights day".

The day included presentations from Samoa's national human rights institution and UNDP, as well as small group discussions where people were encouraged to talk about human rights and their daily lives.

Graphic: Participants at the Human Rights Day march

"This event was a wonderful opportunity to show people that the values of human rights and fa'asamoa come from the same place and share the same goals," the Ombudsman said.

"By the end of the day, the understanding and the attitudes of many people had clearly changed," he said.

In the lead-up to Human Rights Day, the Office of the Ombudsman joined with UN Women to host a roundtable discussion on ending violence against women.

A key part of that discussion focused on the links between human rights and fa'asamoa and that all women, everywhere, have the right to be treated with equality and respect, without the fear of violence.

More information and photos from both events are available on the Facebook page of the Office of the Ombudsman.

Date: 17 December 2015


Image credits

  1. People take part in the Human Rights Day march - Office of the Ombudsman of Samoa
  2. Participants at the Human Rights Day march - Office of the Ombudsman of Samoa