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Access to Justice

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Submission to the United Nation Universal Periodic Review of Solomon Islands

Second cycle

Twenty Second Session of the UPR

Human Rights Council

April-May 2018

Submitted by: Lucy Keniore

  1. The Vois Blong Mere Solomon is a human rights organization established in 2002 with the cooperation of other Solomon island organization to represent the rights of all the women in the Solomon particularly to address and gender equality and conflict prevention in homes through means of media and human security. Access to justice requires promoting accessibility, ensuring fairness and increasing efficiency, therefore, the Vois Blong Mere aims to helps women in distributing relevant information that will actively enable  them to the participate and contribute in all aspects of the country’s development (Vois Blong Mere).
  2.  This submission deals with the work of the VBMS in addressing issues facing women in Solomon that restrict them from their rights particularly in contributions of the development of the country which is, gender equality and domestic violence. There work is based through activities such as  advocacy, lobby, networking and training to empower and improve local women’s ability to participate and understands politics especially on issues such as democracy, governance, elections as well as addressing issues such as domestic violence more importantly to promote accessibility, fairness efficiency for women by facilitating and coordinating collective systems of information in rural, provincial and national women's organization in Solomon Islands as well as to  establish and strengthen the links exits between the national and provincial level  to enhance information collection and distribution for women in Solomon Islands
  3. In the completion of this report, I use relevant sources of information from the internet. The government of Solomon Islands should, able to recognize fully the issues that have been restriction the rights of women, should collaborate effectively with the non-governmental organization in addressing the issues of women and to fully recognized the importance of the involvement of women in the development of the country in the work places, increases the wages of women in the economy sector as well as promoting fair and just access to all women in all forms of their livelihoods.
  1. In the constitution of Solomon Islands, chapter II requires that every person whether the race, the place of origin, creed or sex, they are all subjected to the fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual as well as with the  respect for the rights and freedoms of others and for the public interest life, liberty, security of the person and the protection of the law. In addition everyone has right to freedom of conscience of expression (Constitution of Solomon Islands). In relation to the rights of women in Solomon to access justice, this law states that  despite the sex, every individual has the fundamental right to be respected and heard their political opinions as well as their freedom of expression.
  2. From the last UPR, it was recommended in part C, 1. Equality and non-discrimination, it is strongly recommended that women participation education must be increased and in the economy, women’s participation must also be increased as well as incentives must be created in the private and public sectors (United Nation, 2015) 3. Administration of justice, including impunity, and the rule of law, the ICAAD recommended that   measures should be instituted to make it easier to obtain a protective order, especially in emergency situations. Circuit courts must be reactivated to provide women outside the capital city with access to judicial services. This is in cases of domestic violence where women are denied to have access to court.
  3.  In the last UPR review, the government of Solomon Islands has accepted the recommendation and has endorsed the national gender and women’s development which has provided strategies for addressing gender equality particularly though the development of women and to establish national policy on the Eliminating of Violence against Women (United Nation, 2015).

Issue 1: Gender equality

  1. Gender equality in the Solomon’s was one of the priorities of the government of Solomon Islands yet it is very challenging. Throughout the years of struggle by the VBMS, government has now one accept the recommendations made in the view report and has set national plans to fully addressed gender equality in education and employment, as the Medium Term Development Strategy from 2008-2010. In addition, the government also approved Gender Equality by the Cabinet in as well as   drafted a policy to eliminating Violence against (JAPAN INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION AGENCY , 2010).  
  2. Although there are many challenges of gender equality in Solomon Islands, the government has done great effort in addressing the issues at all costs.  Its plans, policies and actions have continuously aimed to influence the contribution of women in the economic sector as well as throughout the development of the country.
  3. Since the last UPR review, women in Solomon Islands are still violated by the right to equality in access of transport, discrimination in employment especially the disabilities. While Solomon Islands has gone under processes of changes and development in the implementation of the Human rights, it is one of the challenges that, many of the publics and society does not aware about these rights to those that are at disability.
  4. It is very important that one of the best practices that the government of Solomon Islands could do is to establish disability centers across the country which involves education and training to be an investment for the country. With the help of VBMS plus the cooperation of other non-governmental organization, they has work hard to held workshops, training and activities that includes awareness to the public about the equality of women in all aspects of life. In addition, government should enforced laws and policies that can protect the disabilities in access to the society as well as promoting equality and justices to everyone. Consequently, it will promote the equality of women in the development of the country.

Issue 2: Domestic Violence

  1. In the recommendation for domestic violence, government has made counts of effort to address domestic violence throughout the society. They have implement policy that avoid domestic violence by endorsing the convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women (CEDAW. In addition, the government adopted the specific regional and international agreements and the UN Security Council resolution of the Beijing Platform for action with the Pacific Platform for action on the advancement of women and gender (JAPAN INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION AGENCY , 2010).
  2. Since the last review, the new types of human rights violated are the rights to liberty and justice. Most of the women who are abased are not reporting or settling the case to the court room. Right to liberty and freedom have been bypassed and eventually ignored through the situation and the livelihoods of abused women. Even though that government made awareness about the issues most of the times the issues is usually ignored by the people.
  3. It is with the outermost way that the government of Solomon Islands must strongly educate those communities far in the provinces that lacks the knowledge about human rights so that they could recognized these violation of the human rights. They must strongly encourage the citizens of the country to stop domestic violence and punished anyone that practice domestic violence. The government must strongly call upon its civil servant e.g. the police forces to protect the society and the people and it is very important that government must endorsed strict laws and regulation to punish those that practices domestic violence.
  1. Conclusion

4.1      In all, VBMS has established to address the important issues that are currently and continuously affecting the women of Solomon Islands. It was formed to represent the voices of women around the country about their rights and freedom to all aspects of life towards the development of their county.  From the last UPR review, VBMS finally forwarded that gender equality and domestic violence is one of the main issues that the government has strongly working on throughout the campaigns of human rights of women. In addition, the issues have affects and challenged many aspects of the lives of the women particularly their access to justice. More importantly, I strongly recommended that government should strongly and full undertake the laws and regulations they should combat the discrimination gender and the issues of domestic violence in the society that has belittled and discourages the fundamental rights of women towards their development in the society. In addition to that, government plus the people of Solomon Islands must work together as a nation to recognize the importance of gender equality and the rights of women whether sick or disabled in all forms of lives through primary, secondary and tertiary education, trainings and workshops, cooperation between churches as well as all civil servants of the society. With these recommendations, it is better to start something small and will eventually grows bigger as people will recognized what is meant to be equal and what is meant to  freedom and justice in all sorts of life.  



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