20 November, 2017
Members of the Social Sector Committee meets with UN’s First Human Rights Working Group to Samoa.

Members of the Social Sector Committee meets with UN’s First Human Rights Working Group to Samoa.

The United Nations Human Rights Council’s Working Group (UNHRCWG) a first of its kind to Samoa met with Members of the Social Sector Committee Wednesday 15th August 2017 at Parliamentary precinct, Tuanaimato.

The UN Human Rights Council’s Working Group’s main objective is to gain a first-hand understanding of issues related to preventing and combatting discrimination against women in law and in practice and challenges remaining in Samoa.

The meeting included the Working Group raising issues concerning the number of women in Parliament as well as on the process of law making in Samoa. Chairperson of the Social Sector Committee, Hon Gatoloaifaana Amataga Alesana Gidlow and members reiterated the importance of women in the Samoan culture thus the constitutional amendment to increase the number of women representation in Parliament. Furthermore, the Law making process in Samoa is favorable to both men and women. Members of the Social Sector Committee and the Working Group discussed the increasing number of women in senior positions in Government Ministries as well as the inclusion of many others in prominent international institutions- a sign of Samoa’s efforts to minimize discrimination against women. Despite this, both parties concluded that there is still need for improvement.

It is anticipated that a full report on the Working Group’s preliminary findings will be presented to the national stakeholders and a report with its recommendations to support the Government of Samoa’s efforts in eliminating discrimination against women in law and practice will be submitted to the Human Rights Council in June 2018.

The Working Group consisted of 2 independent Human Rights experts and 2 officials: the current Chair –Rapoporteur Kamala Chandrakirana (Indonesia), Eleonora Zielinska (Poland), Hannah Wu (Human Rights Officer, Secretary Working Group) and Bernadette Arditi (Human Rights Officer).

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