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APF attends workshop in PNG on establishment of human rights commission

Graphic: Workshop participants

The Pacific nation is taking steps towards establishing a national human rights institution.

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The APF, in partnership with the Pacific Community’s (SPC) Human Rights and Social Development Division (HRSD), and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), took part in a week-long workshop with government agencies in Papua New Guinea to discuss the establishment of a national human rights institution in the Pacific nation.  

The step towards establishing a PNG Human Rights Commission indicates a commitment to realising Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16 and to addressing recommendations from the UN Human Rights Council’s recent Universal Periodic Review.  

The establishment of a national human rights institution is essential for all Pacific Island countries, and we congratulate Papua New Guinea in taking these steps towards realisation of that goal

Miles Young, HRSD Director

Workshop attendees included senior officials from the PNG Department for Justice and Attorney General and the Department for Community Development and Religion, as well as representatives from the Law Reform Commission and Ombudsman’s Office.  

APF’s Legal and Policy Manager, Phillip Wardle, represented the APF during the workshop.  

“It’s fantastic to see a renewed investment from the Government of Papua New Guinea to establish an independent national human rights institution,” he said.  

“It was especially encouraging to see a commitment across a range of different agencies present at the workshop to a roadmap and timetable for setting up the new institution.”

Graphic: Workshop participants

During the workshop, participants developed a roadmap for the establishment of the PNG Human Rights Commission.

As the Government progresses this agenda over the coming months, the APF will remain available to provide technical advice on Paris Principles compliance and to share the experience from its membership on institutional best practice from elsewhere in the Asia Pacific region. 

The Principles on the Status of National Institutions (otherwise known as the ‘Paris Principles’) are the international minimum standards for the design and performance of NHRIs, which were endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly in 1993. 

The APF will continue to work with SPC, OHCHR and other stakeholders to support the initiative. 

Date: 29 April 2022.  

Image credits

  1. Workshop participants - SPC
  2. Workshop participants - SPC