Human Rights Council – Universal Periodic Review


For use of information media; not an official record

Date: Monday, 9 May 2011 (Afternoon)

Country under review: SAMOA
Documents: National report A/HRC/WG.6/11/WSM/1;
Compilation of UN information A/HRC/WG.6/11/WSM/2;
Summary of stakeholders’ information A/HRC/WG.6/11/WSM/3;

Troika: Bangladesh, Poland, United Kingdom

Concerned country - national report

- Represented by a 7 members delegation and headed by his Excellency Mr. Pierre Lauofo Fonotoe, Deputy Prime Minister


- The Ministry of Police and Prisons has incorporated various training programmes on human rights issues for all police officers.
- Government is working for the development of a model for a national human rights institution.
- The crimes ordinance of 1961, which concerns the criminalization of abortion, is being reviewed. Presently, as Samoa is a Christian country, abortion could be made legal only when the continuation of a pregnancy may have implications on the life of the mother and unborn child.
- Samoa reaffirms the open invitation to special procedures of the Human Rights Council.
- The Family Safety Bill 2009, currently under review, addresses domestic violence.
- The national policy for children 2010-2015 aims at strengthening institutional mechanisms to enhance child protection programmes and services.
- The Samoa’s Strategy for Development of Samoa for 2010-2012 aims to reduce poverty, especially for women.
- Increasing the participation of women in public life and decision making is one of the priority areas of the national policy for women.
- Sexual orientations of Fa’afafines, gay and lesbians remains a sensitive issue in Samoa.
- A national strategy on climate resilience is being developed with the assistance of the Asian Development Bank.
Interactive discussion

Number of States taking part in the discussion
Member States: 17 Inscribed on the list: 30
Observer States: 13

Positive achievements

-Consultation of civil society stakeholders and local institutions in drafting the State’s Universal Periodic Review report.
- The establishment of a Human Rights Commission.
- Consultations held with a view to signing the two Optional Protocols to the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
- Commitment to address the issue of violence against women.
- Enactment of the Family Safety Bill.
- Overcoming the technical difficulties faced by a small country regarding reporting obligations under international human rights conventions.
- Efforts to improve prison conditions.

Issues and questions raised

- Violence against women and children and discrimination against women.
- Street vending children during school hours remains a problem.
- Poor prison conditions and alleged police abuses.
- Committee on the Rights of the Child concerned at the low minimum age (eight years) for criminal responsibility, the absence of a separate system for juveniles and the absence of alternatives to judicial proceedings and imprisonment.
- The challenge posed to human rights by climate change.
- Limitations on the promotion of the rights of persons with disabilities.


- To ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the Convention Against Torture and its protocols, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its Optional Protocols.
- To introduce measures in the field of anti discrimination and equal remuneration for men and women for work of equal value.
- The abrogation of the laws criminalizing sexual relations between adults of the same sex.
- To enact the Family Safety Bill.
- To establish an independent national human rights institution in accordance with the Paris Principles.
- To ban corporal punishment as a disciplinary measure in schools and in homes.
- To criminalize rape within marriages.
- To give men and women equal rights of inheritance.
- To improve equal access to justice, including legal assistance and information.
- To consider establishing an independent body for the promotion and monitoring of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
- To implement policies to ensure the promotion of the rights of women and children, specifically in combating domestic violence and ending discrimination against women.
Response of the concerned country

- The Cabinet has endorsed the national policy for women and children and also for persons with disabilities.
- Education and awareness programme aimed to change discriminating attitudes against women.
- Samoa is a state party to the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
- Programmes have been made up to protect human rights from the effects of climate change.
- The age of criminal responsibility remains at 10 and a criminal youth court, for children from 10 to 17 has been established.
- Samoa is planning to hold consultations in order to create a human rights institution.
Adoption of the report by the UPR working group scheduled on
Wednesday 11 May, 5:30 p.m.

More information



The Universal Periodic Review Working Group today also adopted, ad referendum, the report on Sierra Leone (A/HRC/WG.6/11/L.8), following the review of that country on Thursday, 5 May 2011.

The draft report includes 129 recommendations.  44 have already been examined and enjoy the support of Sierra Leone; 57 were considered to be already implemented on in the process of implementation; 28 will be further examined by Sierra Leone which will provide responses in due time, but no later than the eighteenth session of the Human Rights Council in September 2011.

The report will be made available here:

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