Apia, 8 December 2016 –“Tula’inei ma fa’ataua le aiatatau a ou matua, laufanau, lau pa’aga ma lou uso” That is Samoa’s theme for the Human Rights Day 2016.

“Human Rights Day” is celebrated each 10th day of December as 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 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.

This year in Samoa, 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.

On this day let us recommit to the protection of each other’s rights by standing up and respecting the rights of others.

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