Human Rights Protection in the Pacific: The Emerging Role of National Human Rights Institutions in the Region

UNSW Law Research Paper No. 2010-3

New Zealand Journal of Public International Law, Vol. 81, No. 1, 2010

Posted: 24 Jan 2010

See all articles by Catherine Renshaw

Catherine Renshaw

University of New South Wales (UNSW) - Faculty of Law

Andrew C. Byrnes

University of New South Wales (UNSW) - Faculty of Law; University of California, Berkeley - Berkeley Center on Comparative Equality & Anti-Discrimination Law

Andrea Durbach

University of New South Wales (UNSW) - Faculty of Law

Date Written: January 22, 2010

Abstract

At present, sixty-four of the one hundred and ninety-two member states of the United Nations have National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) - state-based institutions, with mandates to promote and protect domestic and international human rights. This article explores the current moves towards the creation of NHRIs within the Pacific region. It first reviews recent developments in human rights protection in the Pacific, in particular the discussions about the establishment of NHRIs in Pacific Island states, and examines the external and national factors contributing to the increased momentum for the establishment of NHRIs in the region. The article then analyses the advantages a NHRI would offer for the better protection of human rights in Pacific Island states, and the challenges posed for them by the need for NHRIs to comply with governing international standards for effective NHRIs (the Paris Principles). We then explore how NHRIs in the Pacific might be modelled to suit what are said to be the unique “legal, political and cultural particularities” of the region, while still complying with the Paris Principles. Finally, the article considers prospects for the establishment of a regional human rights mechanism for the Pacific. We conclude that in the field of human rights, regionalism presents an incomplete response to the needs of Pacific Island states and that in the first instance energies should be directed toward the establishment of institutions within the state to promote and protect human rights.

Keywords: Human Rights Law, International Law

Suggested Citation

Renshaw, Catherine and Byrnes, Andrew C. and Durbach, Andrea, Human Rights Protection in the Pacific: The Emerging Role of National Human Rights Institutions in the Region (January 22, 2010). UNSW Law Research Paper No. 2010-3. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1540288

Catherine Renshaw

University of New South Wales (UNSW) - Faculty of Law ( email )

Kensington, New South Wales 2052
Australia

Andrew C. Byrnes

University of New South Wales (UNSW) - Faculty of Law ( email )

Kensington, New South Wales 2052
Australia

University of California, Berkeley - Berkeley Center on Comparative Equality & Anti-Discrimination Law

Boalt Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720-7200
United States

Andrea Durbach (Contact Author)

University of New South Wales (UNSW) - Faculty of Law ( email )

Kensington, New South Wales 2052
Australia

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