Inquiry launched into family violence

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SAY NO TO VIOLENCE: Suisala Mele Maualaivao (UN Women), Tavui Annie Laumea, Maiava Iulai Toma (Ombudsman), Tagaloatele Dr. Peggy Fairbairn-Dunlop (A.U.T) Loukinikini Vili (N.H.R.I Director).

SAY NO TO VIOLENCE: Suisala Mele Maualaivao (UN Women), Tavui Annie Laumea, Maiava Iulai Toma (Ombudsman), Tagaloatele Dr. Peggy Fairbairn-Dunlop (A.U.T) Loukinikini Vili (N.H.R.I Director). (Photo: UN Women)

The government is serious about ending family violence.

That was the message from Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi at the T.A.T.T.E Building yesterday during the national celebration of Human Rights Day.

The local commemoration of Human Rights coincided with the launch of the National Public Inquiry on Family Violence led by the Office of the Ombudsman, which is also the National Human Rights Institution of Samoa. 

The Inquiry will be carried out by three commissioners including former Cabinet Minister, Tolofuaivalelei Falemoe Lei’ataua, Auckland University of Technology’s Tagaloatele Dr. Peggy Fairbairn-Dunlop and the National University of Samoa’s Leasiolagi Dr. Malama Meleisea.

The public inquiry will take place throughout 2017 with the hope to stimulate a collective conversation and discussion at every level of our society on ways that will contribute to the fight in addressing the issue of family violence in Samoa. “The Office of the Ombudsman under its human rights mandate can initiate a national public inquiry if the issue is a systemic or widespread violation of human rights,” a media statement from the Ombudsman’s Office says. 

“Media reports, research and statistics available on domestic violence show a common pattern that the issue of family violence is prevalent and widespread. Such violence is a human rights violation affecting our women, young girls and children.” 

As for the Human Rights Day, the local theme was “Tula’i nei ma fa’ataua le aia tatau a ou matua, lau fanau, lau pa’aga ma lou uso.” It translates: “Arise to value the human right of your parents, your children, your partner and your brother.”  

“Human Rights Day” is the last event on the 16 days of activism calendar. 

It commemorates the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, a milestone document in the history of human rights that declares to every human being rights and freedoms that are fundamental to his or her development and growth.

The theme resonates with the international theme “stand up for someone’s rights today”, places emphasis on the responsibility of the human person in exercising their rights and freedom to do so in ways that respects and takes account of the rights of others. 

It encourages each and every one of us to make this world a better and peaceful place for our generations to come by standing up for one another, respecting one another, love one another and help one another.

© Samoa Observer 2016

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