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APF holds High-Level Dialogue with Samoa’s NHRI

Graphic: Participants during the virtual High-Level Dialogue with the Office of the Ombudsman, Samoa

The APF recently held a virtual high-level dialogue with the Office of the Ombudsman, Samoa.

The APF has convened a High-Level Dialogue with Samoa's national human rights institution, the Office of the Ombudsman, to introduce the institution's new leadership team to the APF's work and to exchange ideas on strengthening capacity across all areas of the organisation.

The discussions, held virtually from 17-19 May, provided an opportunity to engage with Samoa's new Ombudsman, Luamanuvao Katalaina Sapolu, who started in her role on 1 April. She is the first woman to hold this position in the organisation's history.

"The APF's High-Level Dialogues encourage new Commissioners within an NHRI to talk openly and frankly about their priorities, and to share ideas with their peers on how to strengthen the protection of human rights within their country," said Pip Dargan, APF Principal Adviser, Capacity Assessments and International Engagement.

"It was great to meet with the new Ombudsman to discuss some issues of vital importance to the Office's work and to help chart a path forward for the NHRI, particularly as they are in the process of reviewing their new strategic plan," she said.

The discussions covered several topics relevant to the Ombudman's work, including how to conduct small-scale national inquiries, the role of NHRIs in monitoring elections and international engagement with a focus on the APF and GANHRI accreditation process.

Other topics covered included:

  • Developing the dual mandate functions of human rights and governance of the Office
  • Contextualising human rights principles from a Samoan perspective
  • The impact of social media and freedom of expression, including how to respond to online bullying, harassment and threats
  • Extending engagement with civil society to address key human rights issues
  • Sharing knowledge and experiences with other NHRIs and learning from them.

The three-day High-Level Dialogue was facilitated by APF Expert NHRI Consultant Rosslyn Noonan and Pip Dargan, representing the APF secretariat, and Commissioner Karen Gomez-Dumpit from the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines.

Other APF secretariat staff also participated in an APF session on the final day of the talks, including Phillip Wardle, Legal and Policy Manager, Thuy Doan-Smith, Development Manager and Faso Aishath, Gender and Pacific Programme Manager.

Date: 30 June 2021


Image credits

  1. Participants during the virtual High-Level Dialogue with the Office of the Ombudsman, Samoa - APF