PUBLIC INQUIRY INTO VIOLENCE IN SAMOA
Apia, SAMOA — Samoa’s Ombudsman’s office — National Human Rights Institution of Samoa has launched a national public inquiry into family violence. This coincides with Samoa’s “Human Rights Day” that takes place on December 10 annually.
This year’s Human Rights Day 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.
Ombudsman Maiava Iulai Toma’s says 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 right and freedoms 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.” Maiava said that this year in Samoa, the Human Rights Day celebration will coincide 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 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. 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,” the ombudsman said.
SAMOA POLICE GO BACK TO JUST ONE ASSISTANT COMMISSIONER
Apia, SAMOA — Samoa’s Police Ministry currently has four Assistant Commissioners and each of the ACs is assigned to different Departments in the Ministry. They will now go back to the way it was in the past where there was only one AC who served as Acting when the Commissioner was away. This is according to Samoa’s Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi during his radio program on SamoaFM radio Wednesday evening (Samoa Time).
The Prime Minister noted that this was discussed in cabinet and when the case against the Police Commissioner is settled in court, they will proceed with having only one Assistant Commissioner.
He said that with too many cooks, it will spoil one soup because there are too many chefs and only one soup. He admitted that this may be the reason for all the predicaments occurring out of the Police Ministry. The Prime Minister said that having four Assistant Commissioners may be the reason for all of the problems at the Police and that cabinet has considered going back to having only one AC.
However he made it clear that this move will be made once the suspended Commissioner’s case is settled in the Supreme Court.
Fuiavailili Egon Keil is facing 268 criminal charges in connection with illegal possession of firearms, intimidation along with threatening and insulting words and several charges of conspiracy to commit murder.
Samoa News notes that the four Assistant Commissioners rotate turns on a monthly basis as Acting Commissioner.
USA FUNDS CONSTRUCTION OF SCHOOL DAMAGED FROM HURRICANE EVAN
Apia, SAMOA —Tropical Cyclone Evan back in 2014 caused substantial damage to Saanapu Primary School in Samoa and while the most acute needs of the school were addressed immediately after the cyclone by the Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture (MESC) and the school committee, there was still a need for further repairs and improvements to the school. Consultations between MESC and the U.S. Embassy were then intiated, on how the U.S. could assist in the aftermath of the cyclone.
With U.S. government funding assistance, the students of Sa’anapu Primary School can celebrate the construction of a new 420 square meter school hall; new perimeter fence; dual water tank and pump system, including water tower tank stand, which supplies the entire school with an improved drinking water station and various repairs to the existing main school building.
During the opening ceremony earlier this week U.S. Ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa Mark Gilbert delivered remarks on behalf of the United States government thanking all the development and community partners that helped bring the project to fruition. “Our hope is that this new facility, water system, fence and other school repairs will vastly improve the education experience at Sa’anapu Primary,” he said.
“I trust that you see this project as symbolic of our enduring support and of the vibrant friendship our two nations enjoy. May the work done here under this project improve the lives of students and teachers of Sa’anapu Primary for many years to come.” He said that the school hall was built in accordance with the International Building code and U.S. engineering standards and is certified to withstand a category five cyclone.
This USD$660,000 project was funded by the U.S. Department of Defense’s Overseas Humanitarian, Disaster, and Civic Aid (OHDACA). This is the same fund that built the Faleolo Medical Center in 2013 and will be doing further construction works at Sataoa Primary and Safata College early next year.