Kiribati reviewed by the UPR: small but high-level delegation
Tuesday, 11 May 2010 17:23

On the afternoon of 3 May 2010, the Working Group on the UPR reviewed the human rights situation in Kirbati. The small but high-level delegation was headed by Mr Kouraiti Beniato, Minister of Internal and Social Affairs, and notably also included the Attorney General. The introductory statement of Kiribati openly admitted the challenges faced in the realisation of human rights for all its citizens. The Minister continually called for financial and technical support from the international community. Comments from the floor welcomed the open and self-critical approach of the national report, while recognising the financial and logistical difficulties faced by the small nation. States did not however refrain from reminding Kiribati of the need to live up to its obligations under the international human rights mechanisms to which it is already party. Specific recommendations and comments focused on issues including:

  • The status of women, including the extremely high prevalence of domestic abuse, lack of access to education, lack of rights to inheritance, and lack of the right to raise a child born out of wedlock.
  • The absence of gender as a prohibited grounds for discrimination within the Constitution, and an overall failure of domestic legislation to comply with the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women.
  • Rights of the child, including criminalising corporal punishment within the home, the fight against child prostitution, and bringing domestic legislation in line with the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
  • Declining quality of education, and calls for increased budgetary allocations for schools and additional training of teachers.
  • The establishment of a national human rights institution in line with the Paris Principles, possibly beginning with cooperation with other States at the regional level to allow for burden sharing.
  • Encouragement to ratify additional core human rights treaties and instruments, most specifically the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights.

The delegation of Kiribati was generally responsive and open to questions, though repeatedly explained that constitutional reform was difficult due to the necessity of a two-thirds majority in a national referendum. The delegation also took every opportunity to call for both financial and technical assistance from the international community as it works to meet its human rights obligations, and struggles to deal with the effects of climate change.


On 5 May, the Working Group adopted the report on Kiribati. The State under review kept all recommendations pending until the adoption of the outcome by the Council, a practice which allows the Government to consider views of interested stakeholders prior to taking a final decision on which recommendations to accept. Notably, Kiribati thanked the Netherlands, the Permanent Mission of New Zealand and the Pacific Regional Rights Resource Team (RRRT) for their financial assistance and technical advice.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 25 August 2010 07:52
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