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Ombudsman addresses Human Rights Council by video

Graphic: Palais de Nations, Geneva

Samoa’s NHRI has turned to the international community to continue its advocacy on the urgent need to address family violence.

Samoa's national human rights institution has turned its attention to the international community to continue its advocacy on the urgent need to address family violence.

In a video statement screened at the 42nd Session of the Human Rights Council, held in Geneva, the Ombudsman of Samoa said that family violence "cripples many families in the Pacific".

"For Samoa, the national public inquiry into violence conducted by my Office found 86% of women to have experienced bodily harm in their lifetime," Ombudsman Maiava Iulai Toma told the Council.

He said the inquiry had sought solutions from those who fully understood the issues and were affected on a daily basis.

"Samoans overwhelmingly asked for increased engagement by the village councils through innovative strategies within the communities," the Ombudsman said.

"Since the inquiry report, about 40% of villages within Samoa have made decisions on domestic violence, which is encouraging."

Key to long-term success in addressing family violence, the Ombudsman noted, was developing strategies that integrate human rights and cultural values and promote inclusion, respect and dignity.


NHRI Samoa will continue to urge our national government and communities to together commit to eliminating violence against women and girls.

Ombudsman of Samoa Logo Maiava Iulai Toma, Ombudsman of Samoa

Graphic: School girls at the launch of the national inquiry report


Video statements are a very effective and strategic way to engage with the international human rights system, APF secretariat Director Kieren Fitzpatrick said.

"The time and the cost involved in travelling to Geneva can be prohibitive, especially for smaller NHRIs," Mr Fitzpatrick said.

"However, video statements can draw attention to issues, such as family violence, that all countries grapple with and promote the positive work that NHRIs are doing at the national level."

Mr Fitzpatrick urged other 'A status' APF members to consider how they might use video statements to engage on a regular basis with the Human Rights Council.

He noted that the video statement prepared by Samoa's NHRI was filmed at their office using a smartphone.

"What the example from Samoa demonstrates is that simple technology and forward planning can help NHRIs deliver a powerful message on the international stage," Mr Fitzpatrick said.

Date: 20 September 2019


Image credits

  1. Palais de Nations, Geneva - APF
  2. School girls at the launch of the national inquiry report - NHRI Samoa / Office of the Ombudsman