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​Samoa receives 'A status' accreditation

Graphic: Staff of the Office of the Ombudsman of Samoa

The Office of the Ombudsman of Samoa is the newest full member of the APF after being accredited as an "A status" NHRI.

The Office of the Ombudsman of Samoa has been accredited as an "A status" national human rights institution (NHRI) by the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions.

The accreditation decision means that the Office of the Ombudsman, which was established in 2013, will become a full member of the APF.

In its report of the May 2016 accreditation session, GANHRI's Sub-Committee on Accreditation highlighted, among other things, the broad human rights mandate of Samoa's NHRI and its power to monitor places where people are deprived of their liberty.

"The Sub-Committee's decision reflects the strong legislation that underpins Samoa's NHRI and the tremendous work it has done since it was established," said Kieren Fitzpatrick, Director of the APF secretariat.

"We hope the structure adopted by Samoa may serve as a model for other Pacific Island nations and to Small Island States, and inspire them to take steps to establish their own NHRIs."

While the Office is delighted in the achieving "A status", I am determined not to be complacent. There is still much work to be done in promoting human rights in Samoa.

Ombudsman of Samoa Logo Maiava Iulai Toma, Ombudsman of Samoa

During the May 2016 session, 17 NHRIs from the four global regions were assessed by the Sub-Committee to determine their compliance with the international standards set out in the Paris Principles.

Two APF member institutions – New Zealand and Korea – were re-accredited with "A status" accreditation while, also in the Asia Pacific region, Bahrain's National Institution for Human Rights was accredited with "B status".

The Sub-Committee made recommendations on the accreditation status of newly-established NHRIs: Cote d'Ivoire (B status), Montenegro (B status), Uruguay (A status) and Zimbabwe (A status).

It also considered the re-accreditation of Canada (A status), Cameroon (deferred), Greece (deferred to October 2016), Honduras (B status), Malawi (deferred), Northern Ireland (A status), and Sierra Leone (A status).

In addition, the Sub-Committee reviewed issues in relation to the NHRIs from Burundi and Venezuela.

"A status" NHRIs are able to participate independently at the UN Nations Human Rights Council and its subsidiary bodies. Those in the Asia Pacific region are eligible for full membership of the APF, while "B status" institutions are eligible for associate membership of the APF.

The APF was represented on the Sub-Committee by Jordan's National Centre for Human Rights.

The APF secretariat attended the meeting as an observer, along with the regional coordinating bodies of NHRIs from Africa and Europe.

Date: 11 August 2016

Image credits

  1. Staff of the Office of the Ombudsman of Samoa - APF/Steve Percival