The OHCHR Regional Office for the Pacific was established in Suva, Fiji, in 2005. It covers 16 countries of the Pacific region, namely: Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands Countries (PICs): Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea (PNG), Republic of the Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.
Immense distances separate PICs from each other and they range in size from Niue (population of 1,600) to PNG (7 million). The majority of the population of PICs is indigenous and traditional structures and religious beliefs influence daily life.
The OHCHR Regional Office works closely with UN partners in the region, civil society organisations, National Human Rights Institutions as well as regional organisations including: the Secretariat of the Pacific Community/Regional Rights Resource Team (RRRT), the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat and the Asia Pacific Forum.
The main activities undertaken by the OHCHR Regional Office revolve around the following:
- Providing expert advice and technical assistance to governments, regional organizations, civil society, and other stakeholders;
- Strengthening National Human Rights Protection Systems in the Region;
- Encouraging and assisting governments and civil society in the region to actively engage with the international human rights mechanisms: treaty bodies, special procedures and in particular the Universal Periodic Review (UPR);
- Monitoring, documenting and reporting on human rights violations and issues;
- Strengthening civil society’s ability to monitor and document human rights violations.
- Promoting and mainstreaming human rights in development activities and humanitarian response;
- Promoting human rights through advocacy and awareness raising.
Thematic focus areas include: prevention of torture and ill-treatment; prevention of sexual and gender based violence (including sorcery related violence); promotion of accountability and combating impunity; promotion of housing and land rights; work in the area of business and human rights; countering discrimination with a focus on women, LGBTI, indigenous peoples as well as migrants and asylum seekers and protection of human rights in emergencies.