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Thursday, April 05, 2007

Pacific Islands have 'lowest ratification rates' of international human rights: Greg Urwin

The Pacific region has the lowest ratification rates of international human rights in the world, says Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat secretary general Greg Urwin.

Speaking at the Commonwealth Pacific Regional workshop on the Ratification and Implementation of International and Regional Human Rights Instruments under the Pacific Plan in Port Moresby yesterday, he said a large part of this had to do with the perceived incompatibility of human rights and custom.

"Human rights are often referred to as individual rights a concept that runs contrary to the inherently communal nature of all our cultures in this region. I do not believe that human rights and Pacific cultures are different," Mr Urwin said.

He said unfortunately, because of resource constraints, the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat could not do as much as it wanted to help members ratify and keep up with reporting requirements of international human rights instruments.

Mr Urwin said he found more overlaps between Pacific customs and human rights.

Source: Fiji Times

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