Marshall Islands reviewed under the UPR: Climate change threatens human rights
Wednesday, 17 November 2010 13:28


On 5 November 2010, the Marshall Islands was reviewed by the Working Group on the universal periodic review (UPR). It was represented by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr John Silk, who was accompanied by the Attorney General and staff of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In his introductory statement, Mr Silk focused on the socio-economic and historical background of the country but unfortunately touched only briefly upon human rights issues. These included the adverse effects of climate change on the enjoyment of human rights, which is a major concern for the Government. The effects of climate change severely threaten the Marshall Islands and could, in the long-term, even lead to the disappearance of the State.


Recommendations and concerns raised by States included:

  • Ratify the main international human rights treaties, in particular the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR)
  • Fight child maltreatment, including violence, neglect, abuse, exploitation and corporal punishment, by initiating public debate, creating a complaint mechanism accessible to children, ratifying the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), and by adopting a law on child labour
  • Fight violence against women by implementing the provisions of the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and adopting a national action plan
  • Protect the rights of persons with disabilities by signing and ratifying the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and by including disability as a prohibited ground of discrimination in the constitution
  • Establish an independent national human rights institution in accordance with the Paris Principles
  • Consider issuing a standing invitation to the special procedures of the Human Rights Council


During the dialogue, the Marshall Islands emphasised the resource constraints the country faces and some States recommended it seek international assistance. The delegation pointed to the achievements made in the areas of education and health, for which the State uses over half of its budget. Regarding sensitive issues, such as violence against women and children, the delegation was less open to dialogue.


The State was given the floor once to respond to questions and concerns raised, and the dialogue finished one hour early due to the limited State participation. Only 21 States seized the opportunity to raise issues and make recommendations. Around half of these statements were delivered by States belonging to the Western European and Others Group.


The attendance of the delegation was facilitated by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Germany and Canada.


Last Updated on Wednesday, 17 November 2010 14:48
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