Samoa celebrates Human Rights Day in village based activities

APIA, SAMOA: THURSDAY 10 DECEMBER 2015: Embracing our freedoms and equal rights for all for a peaceful Samoa.

That is the theme for Human Rights Day 2015. Human Rights Day is the last event on the 16 days of activism calendar every year. It celebrates the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. A milestone document in the history of human rights that declares to every human being rights and freedoms they are entitled to simply by being a human.

This year Human Rights Day is celebrated in Falelatai and Samatau districts in efforts to increase awareness, understanding and acceptance of the value of human rights in Samoa particularly in our rural communities.

The theme resonates with the international theme “Our rights, our freedoms always” place emphasis on the celebration of our freedoms and rights that makes Samoa unique from any other country in the world.

This year’s Human Rights Day is devoted to the launch of a year-long campaign for the 50thanniversary of the two International Covenants on Human Rights: the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which were adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1966.

The two Covenants, together with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, form the International Bill of Human Rights, setting out the civil, political, cultural, economic, and social rights that are the birth right of all human beings.

Samoa is a party to many of the core international human rights instruments including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. 2016 marks 8 years since Samoa acceded to this covenant. On this day let us recommit to guaranteeing the fundamental freedoms and protecting the human rights of all. We need to use today to reaffirm our commitment to the protection of each other’s human rights.

The celebration includes a human rights march by villages of Samatau, Siufaga, Pata, Matautu and Falevai divided in 5 different colours which represents shared principles and values of human rights and fa’asamoa that is respect, peace, equality, freedom and love. A short ceremony will be lead by Rev Elder Tautiaga Senara and key speech delivered by the Deputy Prime Minister Hon. Fonotoe Nuafesili P Lauofo on behalf of the government to mark the special celebration. A few remarks from UNDP will be delivered by Deputy Resident Coordinator Moana Luamanuvae.

Three activities is planned to be given to mark the day. A Village conversation on human rights and fa’a Samoa, a Rights informational Session lead by Ministry of Commerce Industry and Labour on Consumer Rights, Nuanua o le Alofa on Rights of persons with disabilities and Ministry of Police on the Family Safety Act. Finally a activity to fill out a What are rights and what are not board which encourages people to understand what human rights are and it limitations.

The Human Rights Day is a National day and is celebrated every year on the 10th of December.

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