Report on Human Rights Practices Kingdom of Tonga

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Geopolitical groups

The practical reality is that they will not accept modification of their rights. They will expect their full protection under the law. When issues of perceived conflict arise, the first, most important step, is to research the scope and content of the relevant international standard, the applicable constitutional and statutory provisions and the postulated customary right. That exercise, in itself, is likely to highlight reasons why the latter must give way to the former.

This exercise is also likely to demonstrate areas where more education and understanding in the community is necessary to explain why traditional custom has been overtaken by time and other factors. In this way, the limited sense of "ownership" and awareness of human rights, which was noted in the Outcomes Statement of the Nadi Workshop, may be overcome.

An important step in developing materials for research of this kind is now under way in the New Zealand Law Commission, which has received a reference to review and analyse the interface between custom and human rights in Pacific Island countries. Reference has already been made to the work of LawAsia in the late 's in drafting a proposed Pacific Charter of Human Rights.

He indicated that Fiji would support the development of a regional human rights commission and, subsequently, a regional human rights court. The political and other obstacles to this outcome, it might be thought, would be long and difficult to overcome. In the meantime, it would be regrettable if this long term possibility delayed individual States considering ratification of the major human rights conventions. One reason advanced for this wide-reaching and ambitions proposal, was that it could pre-empt the need for Pacific States to ratify individual human rights conventions.

However, a Pacific Human Rights Charter, or some other treaty which would be necessary to establish a regional human rights commission or court, would require each participating State to sign and ratify it. There is one further possible obstacle to Pacific States participating in a regional human rights commission or court.

The promoters intend that a regional body would have power to hear and determine human rights complaints, and to bring down a decision that would bind the State and the complainant. There must be a serious question about the legal and constitutional capacity of a State to cede adjudicative functions, in the nature of judicial power, to a third party where the State constitution vests the judicial power in a constitutional court structure and does not provide for that structure to be qualified by legislative or executive action which vests power in another body to make a decision that could override the State's courts.

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Such a problem could be overcome by constitutional amendment but that, in itself, may be a very difficult path. There is one further dimension to a regional commission or other human rights body, which does not appear to have been canvassed in recent consultations.

That is the position of the French Pacific Islands, in particular New Caledonia and Tahiti which, apart from their geographical relationship, have close trading and tourist relationships with their other Pacific neighbours. Should not the administration of these islands be included in discussions, and their positions recognised and accommodated? Discussion at this Conference is likely to identify other issues that need to be considered, as well as expanding on the comments I have already made.

I am confident that the discussion will demonstrate the point that the judiciary has a lot to offer in the ongoing debate. The way forward may be slow, but the momentum for the establishment of human rights mechanisms in the Pacific region should be maintained. As I hope the foregoing discussion has illustrated, I think two matters stand out as the priority ones. The first is the pressing need for programs to inform communities, from political and business leaders to the grass roots of the electorate, and especially those who suffer disadvantage and inequality, about the nature, scope and benefits of the protection of human rights principles.

In this exercise NGOs in civil society are a valuable avenue for promulgating information - but they need funding support. But probably the best way of all for promoting the importance of human rights principles, and in assisting in the presentation of education programs would be a NHRI. Right to life; right to physical and moral integrity; slavery, forced labour and traffic in persons.

Commission — General. In a statement summarising the outcome of the seminar, the Chairman, Mr Lee Sun-jin, observed: Good governance needs to aim for justice. An accredited NHRI will have the power: To make recommendations and proposals to the government on human rights aspects of existing and proposed laws; To report on specific violations of human rights and the national human rights situation in general; and To receive, investigate and report on complaints from individuals.

Most NHRIs also have power either to commence litigation to enforce human rights or to intervene in litigation involving significant human rights issues. In its report delivered to a Special Leaders' Retreat in April , the Eminent Persons' Group recommended that: The forum should report the work of members in developing national human rights machinery. In the Concluding Statement the participants reaffirmed that: 44 the primary focus for the promotion and protection of human rights is at the national level and therefore it is the primary responsibility of States to ensure that human rights are promoted, protected and fulfilled.

It also identified a number of issues that need to be considered by governments if they are planning to establish national human rights machinery including: The possibility of using human rights legislation to set out detailed protections; The importance of establishing new human rights institutions while, at the same time, strengthening existing governmental and non-governmental mechanisms which play a role in human rights; The significant role played by civil society in promoting, protecting and monitoring human rights; The need to build a culture of human rights through all levels of society; and The desirability of extending regional human rights training programs to all Forum island countries The Outcome Statement is notable for its failure to make any express reference to the pivotal role of the judiciary and the legal profession which supports it.

Issues The following comments are intended to raise issues which seem to require further discussion. Ratification of Human Rights Conventions It will be evident from this paper that both UN agencies and the Suva Consultation urge Pacific Island States to accede to all the major human rights conventions.

The regional network of NHRIs has considerable experience in delivering grass roots education programs appropriate to a wide variety of cultural and social settings; The existence of an official body to receive and remedy individual complaints; The ability to provide legal assistance in human rights matters to disadvantaged members of a community this is a power and function that is not possessed by Ombudsmen ; The power to pursue systemic discrimination issues, particularly in relation to women and children, in all areas of public life; and Access through the NHRI to expert technical assistance from the OHCHR, and the regional activities of the members of the APF.

NHRIs are, at the request of the national courts or through an intervention role, able to make this expertise available to the courts. In this way they can provide valuable assistance to judges to correctly identify and apply relevant human rights principles. This is a valuable resource tool that courts otherwise lack.

Public education As the Outcomes Statement of the Nadi Workshop recognised, a substantial obstacle in the development of human rights in the Pacific is the lack of understanding of human rights principles and their relevance. Access to Justice. Perceived Conflicts between International Standards and Cultural Rights and Practices The relationship between customary law and international human rights standards continues to be contentious. A Comprehensive Pacific Regime There is one further dimension to a regional commission or other human rights body, which does not appear to have been canvassed in recent consultations.

Results for human rights

Conclusion Discussion at this Conference is likely to identify other issues that need to be considered, as well as expanding on the comments I have already made. CAT Art. CRC Art. CMW Art. Statutory protections. Abolishment of capital punishment s.


Enforcement provisions s. Electronic copy available at: www. It was established pursuant to Article 68 of the Charter, which provides that the Economic and Social Council of the UN "shall set up commissions Its 61st conference was held in March, Above note 2. The first gives individuals the right to complain of violations of their rights before the CHR and the second prohibits the use of the death penalty. They came into force on 23 March, and 11 September, respectively.

Entered into force on 1 July, An international practice, or course of action, becomes customary international law when States adopt that practice uniformly and consistently in the belief that they are legally required to do " opinio juris" : North Sea Continental Shelf Case Federal Republic of Germany v Denmark; Federal Republic of Germany v The Netherlands ICJ 3.

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Once a practice is established, it is binding upon all states, unless they persistently object to being bound from the outset: Fisheries Case United Kingdom v Norway ICJ See Human Rights Manual, above note 16 at 3, See Human Rights Manual, above note 16 at However, there is also some protection of rights by the European Court of Justice, which is the judicial organ of the European Union. Afghanistan, Jordan the Palestinian Territories, being institutions that do not yet fully comply with the Paris Principles. Funding is provided by the Governments of Australia, India, New Zealand and Thailand, and several major international aid donors.

For further details on the operation of the Advisory Commission of Jurists, see: www. Each State Party to the present Covenant undertakes to respect and to ensure to all individuals within its territory and subject to its jurisdiction the rights recognised in the present Covenant, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Where not already provided by existing legislative or other measures, each State Party to the present Covenant undertakes to take the necessary steps, in accordance with its constitutional processes and with the provisions of the present Covenant, to adopt such legislative or other measures as may be necessary to give effect to the rights recognised in the present Covenant.

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Each State Party to the present Covenant undertakes: a To ensure that any person whose rights or freedoms as herein recognised are violated shall have an effective remedy, notwithstanding that the violation has been committed by persons acting in an official capacity; b To ensure that any person claiming such a remedy shall have his right thereto determined by competent judicial, administrative or legislative authorities, or by any other competent authority provided for by the legal system of the State, and to develop the possibilities of judicial remedy; c To ensure that the competent authorities shall enforce such remedies when granted.

One of the functions of the Australian Human Rights Commission is to administer the four federal anti-discrimination Acts, relating to race, sex, disability and age, which were enacted in order to give a legislative basis for Australia's international obligations. The conference was held in Doha, Qatar, in March The Forum was established in Ibid, Recommendation 9. Electronic version available at: www. This visit focused on political, economic, defence, policing and education links. You may be trying to access this site from a secured browser on the server. Please enable scripts and reload this page.

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