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Building capacity in Fiji’s human rights commission

Graphic: The Commission's Executive Director in discussion with the capacity assessment team

The leadership team and staff of Fiji’s NHRI have discussed a range of strategies to bolster the organisation’s operations and impact.

Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights LogoOffice of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
United Nations Development Programme LogoUnited Nations Development Programme
Asia Pacific Forum LogoAsia Pacific Forum

The leadership team and staff of Fiji's national human rights institution (NHRI) have discussed a range of strategies to bolster the organisation's operations and impact, as part of a two-week program run by the APF and its partners in the Pacific.

The capacity assessment with the Fiji Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission (FHRADC) was held in Suva from 16-20 March 2020.

It was led by APF NHRI Expert Consultant Rosslyn Noonan, in partnership with Julie van Dassen, a representative from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Thomas Hunecke from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

Ahmed Shahid, formerly the Executive Director of the Maldives Human Rights Commission, contributed from a distance, when travel restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic prevented him flying to join the team in Fiji.

For the first time since APF has been facilitating capacity assessments, coronavirus restrictions also meant some interviews and discussions had to be held by teleconference.


A capacity assessment is a comprehensive internal review of how well an NHRI is doing, areas where it could make improvements and, most importantly, what steps it can take to make those improvements.

Asia Pacific Forum Logo Rosslyn Noonan, APF NHRI Expert Consultant

In addition to interviews and surveys with the leadership group, managers and staff of the FHRADC, the capacity assessment team met with representatives from key government agencies and civil society organisations.

Fiji's NHRI is one of just three in the Pacific, along with the NHRIs of Samoa and Tuvalu. It is currently not accredited by the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI).

"The capacity assessment is designed to support the Commission's leadership team and staff identify practical steps they can take to strengthen their institution," Ms Noonan said.

"It uses a forward-looking approach to identify capacity gaps that most urgently need to be addressed."

Ms Noonan said the capacity assessment also sought to identify how the Commission can more fully comply with the Paris Principles, the international standards for independent and effective NHRIs.

"This will help the Commission in its application for international accreditation with GANHRI."


Graphic: Rosslyn Noonan in discussion with a representative from a local women's organisation


Following the capacity assessment, a report will be provided with recommendations to strengthen the Commission as a whole, to develop the capacities of staff individually and collectively, and to make the internal processes of the NHRI more effective and more efficient.

The APF, OHCHR and UNDP are all committed to supporting the Commission implement the agreed recommendations.

Capacity assessments have been conducted with 20 APF member institutions, as well as with the NHRIs of Pakistan and Uzbekistan.

Date: 27 March 2020


Image credits

  1. The Commission's Executive Director in discussion with the capacity assessment team - Mithleshni Gurdayal / FHRADC
  2. Rosslyn Noonan in discussion with a representative from a local women's organisation - Mithleshni Gurdayal / FHRADC