Human Rights Unit

What is the Human Rights Function of the Office?

"To promote and protect human rights and freedoms in Samoa as the National Human Rights Institution (NHRI)."

What are Human Rights? 

  • Human rights are about respect, dignity, equality, and security for everyone, everywhere, everyday.
  • Human rights are about relationships among and between individuals, groups and the State. They are about how we live together and inform us of our responsibilities to each other.
  • Human rights are about life, education, health, work, personal security, equal opportunity and fair treatment. They are also about our system of government.
  • Human rights start at home.

In 2013, the Office of the Ombudsman also became the National Human Rights Institution of Samoa (NHRI Samoa). This was a result of Ombudsman (Komesina O Sulufaiga) Act 2013 which extended the mandate of the Office to include human rights as part of the functions of the  Ombudsman.

NHRI Samoa functions to bridge the “protection gap” between the rights of individuals and responsibilities of the State (Samoa Government).This is carried out by: 

  • Monitoring Samoa’s performance in meeting its international human rights commitments through its State of Human Rights Reports and Places of Detention Inspections Report;
  • Review of existing and proposed legislation to ensure consistency with human rights law;
  • Providing advice to the Samoan Government so that it can meet its international and domestic human rights commitments;
  • Conducting visits to all public and some private places of voluntary and involuntary confinement or detention;
  • Undertaking human rights education awareness and trainings programs for all sections of the Samoan community;
  • Engaging with the international human rights community to raise pressing issues and advocate for recommendations that can be made to the Samoan Government; 
  • Participation in judicial proceedings as a friend of the court or as a party, where human rights issues arise (currently inactive);
  • Receiving, investigating and resolving complaints of human rights violations (currently inactive);
  • Providing information to the international human rights system, such as the Human Rights Council and other human rights treaty monitoring bodies through shadow reporting and submissions;

All of this is achieved through the celebration and protection of Samoan culture, dignity and respect ingrained in Fa’a Samoa.

More information about the functions and powers of NHRI Samoa can be found under Part 4 (sections 33-40) of the Ombudsman Act 2013 found here