UN urges Pacific action on human rights

UN urges Pacific action on human rights

UN urges Pacific action on human rights

Updated 10 December 2012, 8:12 AEDT

The United Nations says Pacific nations needs to make greater strides on human rights.

The call coincides with the UN's International Human Rights Day, which will include events in Vanuatu, Tonga, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Solomon Islands and Palau.

Simone Troller, the UNDP Pacific Centre's Regional Human Rights Adviser, says there has been real progress on human rights over the years.

But she's told Radio Australia's Pacific Beat many Pacific Island nations still see signing up to human rights treaties as a burden, rather than an opportunity.

"Pacific Islands countries usually have small administrations, so the ratification of human rights treaties also comes with an obligation to them to implement and then report what the countries have done to make these treaties and conventions a reality," she said.

"Also they don't necessarily have comprehensive data that allows them to show what they have done - so there's capacity concerns and also resources constraints when it comes to implementing these treaties."

The UNDP is launching a tool-kit for Pacific nations looking to improve their human rights - showing laws countries have adopted and data they have gathered which may assist their neighbours.

"We believe that several Pacific Island nations face similar challenges...and for many, also, similar solutions work," she said.

"What we've tried to do...is to show across the Pacific region what the various countries have done."

Ms Troller says many countries, including Samoa, Palau, Vanuatu and Solomon Islands, are all moving to establish institutions to advance human rights in their countries.