Rights and Duties Go Hand in Hand: PM

(Sitting l-r): Mia Rimon, SPC’s Regional Director Melanesia; Tuvalu’s Minister of Minister for Public Utilities, Infrastructure and Environment Ampelosa Tehulu; Former President of Kiribati and Pacific Climate Activist, Anote Tong; Prime Minister of Vanuatu Charlot Salwai; Director of SPC RRRT, Miles Young; British High Commissioner to Vanuatu, Karen Bell and Australian Deputy High Commissioner Susan Ryles with members of parliament from Cook Islands, FSM, Palau, Samoa, Solomon Islands; Tuvalu and Vanuatu participating at the 3-day Pacific Regional MPs Dialogue organised by SPC RRRT with funding support from the UK-funded Pacific Commonwealth Equality Project at Ramada Resort.

Vanuatu upholds human dignity where the rights of all Ni-Vanuatu including women, youth, the elderly and vulnerable groups are supported, protected and promoted in the country’s legislation and institutions.

Prime Minister Charlot Salwai made this clear in his welcome remarks to the delegates of the Pacific MPs Dialogue on Human Rights Good Governance and Development yesterday, stressing the rights go hand in hand with the duties.

“For example, the children have the right to be protected, the right to education, and the parents have the duty to ensure the children are protected and assist the children in their homework, and other educational rights, instead of leaving the children at home and spending time at kava nakamals,” PM Salwai said.

“The women have the right to be protected by husbands and the husbands have the duty to protect their wives and the government, the church and the chief have the duty to ensure women, are protected. The rights go hand in hand with the duties.”

He said Vanuatu, through its current National Sustainable Development Plan (2016 — 2030) (“NSDP”) envisions an “inclusive society which upholds human dignity and where the rights of all Ni-Vanuatu including women, youth, the elderly and vulnerable groups are supported, protected and promoted in our legislation and institutions”.

“I believe that each of the countries represented here today, have in their own way, considered the value that human rights bring to enable the attainment of their development goals,” he said.

PM Salwai expressed on behalf of the government and the people of Vanuatu, the gratitude of Vanuatu playing host to such an important conference in the region.

“It gives me great pleasure to extend to you all a very warm welcome on behalf of the Government and people of Vanuatu. I am sure that our fellow delegates and peers from the Pacific Legislatures represented here today share with me our gratefulness for the invitation to participate in this event.

“I acknowledge and thank the Pacific Community (SPC) and its partners for considering Vanuatu as the venue for this event and to also acknowledge the efforts and time invested by our Department of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Justice and Community Development in facilitating the convening of this event,” he said.

“Earlier this year, Vanuatu participated in the UN Human Rights System through our reporting obligations to the UN Human Rights Council under its Universal Periodic Review process and to Human Rights Treaty Bodies such as the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Our engagement with these processes continues to inform how we can better articulate the application human rights standards to achieve our national development goals.

“Our NSDP also calls on us to take steps to prevent and eliminate all forms of violence and discrimination against women, children and vulnerable groups. Programmes are in place under the Ministry of Justice and Community Development to build the capabilities of key service providers, such as Police and Authorised Persons, on the application of human rights and gender based approaches when responding to incidents of family violence

“We further recognise that the enabling environment for the implementation of human rights standards in Vanuatu requires reaching communities and Civil Society Organisations and equipping them with the necessary knowledge and skills on human rights.

“Current programmes under the Ministry of Justice and Community Development provide technical assistance, mentoring and funding support to selected Civil Society Organisations in Vanuatu for human rights related campaigns.

“I believe that we, as members of Pacific Legislatures / Parliaments, have an important role to promote the national implementation of human rights standards through the work that we do. And I am confident that the themes that will inform the content and context of the deliberations over the next couple of days will encourage a constructive dialogue on the value of human rights as essential building blocks for the betterment of the lives of our people.”

He wished the delegates all the success in the deliberations and a pleasant stay in Vanuatu.

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