Statement at the UN Human Rights Council by Fiji, Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu for CHRI
Geneva: Leading Civil Social Organisations (CSOs) from Fiji, Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu made a rare appearance at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) here and called on their governments to abide by their national and international commitments to rule of law, citizens rights especially to freedom of expression, assembly and gender equality.
The statement was read by Ms. Lusia Lagjlevu, legal officer at the Citizens Constitutional Forum (CCF) in Fiji, to a packed and attentive audience in the imposing main Council hall on behalf of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI), which sponsored the visit by the delegation from Fiji, Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu.
The statement called upon Fiji to swiftly implement the Convention against Torture which it ratified in 2016 and urged Papua New Guinea to institute a National Human Rights Commission and crackdown against continuing “Sorcery Accusation Related Violence" (SARV) with upto 7-10 cases every week of SARV there. "We urge the government to enforce existing laws and prosecute both perpetrators and instigators,” the statement said. The Vanuatu civil society was concerned by accounts of violence against women and “sub-standard correctional facilities”.
The CSOs associated with the statement are CCF, PNG Tribal Foundation and Transparency International Vanuatu. The spokesperson addressed the Council from the NGOs forum at the back of the hall, as part of a process connecting human rights defenders, environmental activists and others to the HRC, giving them space, time and voice to respond to governments and societal issues.
The representatives are to address a panel discussion later today on human rights challenges in their countries.