PRESS RELEASE FROM THE OFFICE OF OMBUDSMAN;

September 23, 2022

Apia, 22 September 2022 – Children and young people met to validate submission to the Committee on the Rights of the Child and share their understanding on children’s right to healthy and clean environment.

The Office hosted a follow-up workshop for its Children and Young People’s Forum this week at Tanoa Hotel. The follow-up was attended by students who took part in the first forum held in July.

The objectives of the follow-up were to validate and finalise the children and young people’s submission to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, gather views on the Office’s State of Human Rights Report 2023 questionnaire, raise awareness of opportunities where the children’s submission will be used, as well as raise awareness on the UN resolution on the right to a clean and healthy environment.

The Children and Young People’s Working Group got the opportunity to present their report (informed from views expressed by students who took part in July Forum) back to the bigger group for their feedback and to validate recommendations made.

Mr. Ranjesh Prakash – Social Inclusion Officer from the Pacific Community Fiji, Ms. Momoko Nomura -Human Rights Advisor from the UN Resident Coordinator’s Office, and Ms. Aniva Clarke – Child Advisor on the UN CRC Advisory Committee on Climate Change also made presentations specifically on the session focusing on Climate change and right to healthy environment linking this to the rights of children.

The guest speakers all emphasised the importance of children’s participation and voices on issues affecting their rights especially those that have and will be greatly impacted by climate change. 

The event also saw participants take part in recording a promotional video to celebrate the International Day for Deaf Awareness on the theme – “Building Inclusive Communities for ALL”.

In moving forward, the Children and Young People’s report will be presented before the UN DRC Committee once the State provides its national report in the coming months. It will also inform the Office’s State of Human Rights Report for 2023.

The Office acknowledges the support of parents and teachers for allowing the students to take part and to Ms Momoko and Aniva Clarke for their contributions. It also acknowledges the participation of the Ministry of Women Community and Social Development and members from its Advisory Council Ms Caroline Ryan (Child Rights Advisor) and Mr Ari Hazelman (Disability Advisor). Finally, the Office would like to express our sincerest gratitude to the Pacific Community and US Aid for the continuous financial and technical support in providing a platform for children and young people in Samoa to have a say and express their views on issues that matter to them.

*ENDS*