The write-up workshop for the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) report is currently underway in Port Vila.

Based on data collected from Human Rights consultation workshop conducted last year, the workshop focuses on finalising the UPR report to be presented to the United Nations (UN) later this year, giving accounts of Vanuatu’s progress towards the implementation of the UN conventions ratified by the country.

These conventions include United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UNCAT), United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

With the deadline for the Writeshop scheduled for this coming Friday, the final report is expected to be submitted to UN headquarters by the 29th of this month which is also the due date for all UPR report to reach the UN.

The one-week Write-up workshop is facilitated by the Pacific Community (SPC) in collaboration with the Vanuatu’s National Human Rights Committee, under the Ministry of Justice and Community Services (MoJCS), with important stakeholders’ representatives, such as Human Rights office in Fiji, Department of Strategic Policy Planning and Aid Coordination (DSPPAC) representative from the Prime Minister’s Office, including representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), the Ministry of Education and Training (MoET), and the Ministry of Health (MoH).

Coordinator of the National Human Rights Initiative in Vanuatu, Albert Nalpini, extends his gratitude on behalf of the MoJCS to SPC for their support -financially and technically- in funding and providing officers to come to Vanuatu to facilitate this workshop.

He explained that, following the submission of the UPR report this month, a government delegation, led by Minister of MoJCS, John Amos, is scheduled to travel to Geneva, Switzerland later this year to personally present a similar report to the United Nations.

According to Nalpini, the rationale behind submitting the UPR report twice – once this month and again later by the Minister – is that UN human rights experts require sufficient time to review the report.

They will cross-check with the information available, assess its reliability, and formulate pertinent questions and comments. This is a process which aims to ensure a comprehensive and well-informed dialogue during the delegation’s presentation later in the year.

Since the ratification of the previously mentioned UN conventions, Vanuatu has submitted three UPR reports. The most recent report was in 2017, during which the UN put forth over a hundred recommendations to Vanuatu. However, only 96 of these recommendations were accepted.

Apart from UPR report which aims at reviewing the status of all Member States’ human rights obligations, there are Civil Society, and Non- Governmental Organisations (NGO) reports referred to as Shadow Reports, which has already been submitted to the UN.