APF co-hosts dialogue on human rights in the Cook Islands
Graphic: Participants of the human rights dialogue in Rarotonga
The APF, in partnership with the Cook Islands Office of the Ombudsman, has held a stakeholder dialogue on the proposed establishment of an NHRI.
The APF, in partnership with the Cook Islands Office of the Ombudsman, has held a stakeholder dialogue on the proposed establishment of a national human rights institution (NHRI) in the Pacific Island nation.
The two-day event, held in Rarotonga, Cook Islands, from 9-10 August, aimed to increase participants’ awareness of the role, mandate and functions of NHRIs and provided an opportunity to discuss the proposed NHRI model for the Cook Islands.
It was also a platform for community members, government representatives and civil society groups to share their concerns on the most pressing human rights issues facing the country today. Some of the key issues identified included domestic violence, land rights, migrant rights, and the human rights impacts of climate change.
Graphic: Rarotonga aerial view
The event was facilitated by the APF’s Manager of Capacity Development, Fasoha Aishath, and APF Expert NHRI Consultant Rosslyn Noonan, together with the Ombudsman Office team. The APF’s Legal and Policy Manager, Phillip Wardle, also took part, providing an overview on the APF’s work to support the establishment of NHRIs in the Pacific.
The Deputy Ombudsman of Samoa, Maualaivao Pepe Seiuli participated in the event, to share the Samoan experience of establishing the human rights mandate within the Ombudsman’s Office.
Representatives from APF partners, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in the Pacific, and the Human Rights and Social Development Division of the Pacific Community (SPC) also attended.
Supporting the establishment of an NHRI in the Cook Islands
The APF has been working with the Government of the Cook Islands, OHCHR, SPC and the United Nations Development Programme, to support the establishment of an NHRI in the Cook Islands. A 2017 scoping study carried out by the APF, SPC, OHCHR and UNDP recommended that the NHRI be established within the Office of the Ombudsman.
Since then, the APF has continued to support the Office by providing advice on draft legislation and Cabinet submissions. The Ombudsman and staff have also taken part in the APF online course ‘Understanding NHRIs and the Paris Principles’, to strengthen their knowledge of the role and functions of NHRIs.
The APF will continue to work with its partners to support the Office to carry out further community consultations and to finalise the legislation to establish an NHRI.
Date: 2 September 2022
- Rarotonga aerial view - Andrea Izzotti on Shutterstock