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Advancing human rights through community-led development in the Pacific

Graphic: Human Rights Community-Led Development Workshop held in Nadi.

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The APF, in collaboration with the Pacific Community (SPC), has brought together representatives from the National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) of Fiji and Samoa, and the Office of the Ombudsman of the Cook Islands, to enhance their understanding of human rights community-led development (HRCLD) and tailor this to the Pacific context.

The APF-SPC HRCLD programme, which commenced in 2022, aims to strengthen the capacity of NHRIs in the Pacific to fulfil their mandate through human rights community-led development.

The programme uses a strengths-based approach, acknowledging the diverse skills and contributions of all participants. To guide this work, the Pacific HRCLD practitioners have developed a ‘HRCLD Approach for Pacific NHRIs’ and ‘The Lautoka Navigation Principles for HRCLD in the Pacific’. The approach and principles reflect the Pacific context by combining human rights, cultural and faith-based values. 

As part of the programme, the three institutions are being supported to pilot HRCLD projects in their respective countries, which include: 

  • The Office of the Ombudsman of the Cook Islands is collaborating with a community of persons with disabilities and youth in Rarotonga to develop disaster response and recovery frameworks.
  • The Fiji Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission is working with communities who have identified access to fresh water as a priority human rights issue. 
  • The Office of the Ombudsman of Samoa is working alongside communities in the Fono Fa’avae of Aana district to address the human right impacts of climate change. 

A HRCLD practitioner’s network has been formed with regular online mentoring and support sessions to enable representatives to report on progress and challenges and to share strategies.

A three-day Talanoa (dialogue) was also held in Nadi, Fiji, in March this year, bringing the three institutions together for an interim progress review of the projects. 

The dialogue was attended by representatives of each institution, the Chair of the Fiji Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission, SPC staff, APF consultant Dr Jill Chrisp, and the Acting Deputy Mission Director of USAID, Mr Roger Stanley, who attended the first day to address the group. 

Projects in the three countries are ongoing. The APF looks forward to continuing to collaborate with SPC and the three institutions as they support communities to increase their ability to address their human rights priorities. 

Date: 17 April 2024

Image credits

  1. Human Rights Community-Led Development Workshop held in Nadi. - The Pacific Community (SPC)