Samoa has indicated it would accept many of the recommendations made during a recent United Nations human rights review in Geneva.
The Samoa Observer said the country would accept 91 of the 129 recommendations put forth at its Universal Periodic Review, which gives other countries the opportunity to openly criticise a country's human rights record.
The Chief Executive of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Peseta Noumea Simi, said matters such as decriminalising same sex relationships, combating discrimination based on sexual orientation, and gender identity were difficult.
Peseta said Samoa's culture and social fabric were very important elements to take into consideration, but he said the country would take up the challenge and move forward.
The Samoa government has until September to say whether it will accept and implement the remaining 38 observations.
Some of the recommendations accepted by the government of Samoa were:
- Ratify and implement the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities;
- Take positive steps to implement the Family Safety Act and reduce gender based violence through public awareness, the provision of training to relevant agencies and the establishment of shelters in cooperation with the Samoa Victim Support Group;
- Strengthen the National Human Rights Institution, NHRI, and pursue all of the recommendations made in the NHRI State of Human Rights Report 2015;
- Address sexual violence and establish a sex offenders register;
- Increase protection of children, including establishing mechanisms to prevent child labour;
- Protect land rights for indigenous communities;
- Monitor and address the long term effects of climate change;
- Establish an inter-ministerial National Mechanism for reporting and follow-up to coordinate all human rights implementations and reporting.