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Building partnerships with police and prison officials

Graphic: Police officers participate in the workshop

Samoa’s NHRI is working with police and correctional officers to develop guidelines that will better meet the needs of all Samoans.

Samoa's national human rights institution (NHRI) is working with police and correctional officers to develop guidelines that will better meet the needs of all Samoans, especially marginalised communities.

Across five workshops, NHRI staff held discussions with more than 110 law enforcement officials on the human rights standards related to arrest, interrogation and detention.

In addition, members of the Samoa Faafafine Association highlighted many of the issues that vulnerable groups, especially people of diverse sexual orientation and gender identity and expression, face when they come in contact with the law.

The workshops were also an opportunity for police and prison officials to discuss the challenges they face and ask questions about how to apply human rights standards to their everyday work.


Workshop participants take part in a group activity

This program by Samoa's NHRI was supported by a grant from the APF, as part of national-level activities following an APF-UNDP training program for NHRIs on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity.


The Office of the Ombudsman/NHRI reported that the conversations were open, honest and productive.

Participants requested additional training sessions to assist them in their work, as well as suggesting that future workshops be expanded to include other law enforcement agencies, such as customs and immigration, and health professionals.

The issues raised during the workshops will inform discussions later in the year that will consider the development of draft guidelines for law enforcement officials in Samoa.

More than 60 police officers attended the sessions, including management and frontline officers from the General Policing division, the Criminal Investigations division, the Domestic Violence Unit and other areas.

Samoa's prisons and correctional services were represented by management, as well as high-ranking officers and general staff.


Image credits

  1. Police officers participate in the workshop - Office of the Ombudsman of Samoa
  2. Workshop participants take part in a group activity - Office of the Ombudsman of Samoa