Civil Society Supported to Engage in Samoa’s Universal Periodic Review

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The Office of the Ombudsman which is also Samoa’s National Human Rights Institute (NHRI) in collaboration with the Pacific Community – RRRT and the Office of the High Commission for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Fiji, hosted a capacity building workshop for Civil Society Organizations’ in Apia last Friday.

The workshop aimed to raise awareness among Samoa’s CSOs on the reporting requirements of the United Nations Human Rights Council’s (HRC) upcoming Universal Periodic Review (UPR).

CSOs were provided with guidance and support on how to effectively prepare and compile their respective submissions or shadow reports to the UPR.

Director of Human Rights Loukinini Vili-Lewaravu said it was an opportunity for CSOs to discuss best practices and better understand their involvement in the UPR process.

“It is important to bring CSOs together and remind them of the crucial role they contribute to the reviewing process of Samoa and to discuss options for submitting alternative submissions to the UPR in order for them to highlight their issues in the most effective way”, Ms. Vili-Lewaravu said.

Mr Ashley Bowe, Human Rights Adviser to the Pacific Community comments on the importance of updating CSOs on best practices and technical guidelines on report structures that are recommended by UN experts.

“It is always helpful to share experiences from the process – the challenges and best practices as well as being familiar with reporting guidelines. SPC commends the NHRI of Samoa in assisting CSOs with their drafting and ensuring there continues to be a greater representation of CSOs in these UN processes”. Mr Ashley Bowe said.

CSOs in Samoa have been invited to submit shadow submission reports to the UPR by March 25 2021.

The UPR is a unique process which involves a review of the human rights records of all UN Member States. It is a state-driven process which provides the opportunity to declare what actions they have taken to improve human rights situations in their countries and to fulfil their human rights obligations.

Samoa’s third UPR is scheduled for November 2021.