Office of the Ombudsman, Samoa
The Office of the Ombudsman was given the mandate to be Samoa’s National Human Rights Institution with the enactment of the Ombudsman (Komesina o Sulufaiga) Act 2013. Part V of the Act sets out the Office’s human rights functions.
Acting as the NHRI, the Office of the Ombudsman functions include:
- promote public awareness of human rights and efforts to combat all forms of discrimination or corruption through the provision of information and education;
- inquire into, and report on, alleged violations of human rights;
- monitor and promote compliance with international and domestic human rights law including through any of the following:
- making recommendations as to the desirability of Samoa becoming a party to an international human rights instrument;
- reviewing existing and proposed legislation or reviewing other laws for consistency with international human rights law and recommending additional legislative and other measures to protect human rights;
- advising the Government on its reporting obligations under international human rights instruments and on the content of those reports;
- providing information to the international human rights system, including the Human Rights Council and its mechanisms and the human rights treaty monitoring bodies;
- with the approval of a court, to participate in judicial proceedings as a friend of the court or as a party where human rights issues arise;
- visit all public and private places of voluntary and involuntary confinement or detention;
- to consult, engage and cooperate with relevant civil society organisations, including business and labour organisations, ethnic and minority organisations, and academic institutions, as the Ombudsman considers appropriate;
- consult, engage and cooperate with other national, regional and international human rights bodies as the Ombudsman considers appropriate;
- advise on any matter referred to the Ombudsman by the Government, having regards to the available resources and priorities of the Ombudsman;
- produce and publicise reports on any of the functions in this section;
- do anything incidental or conducive to the performance of any of the above functions or carry out any other human rights function under the Act.
Also, the Ombudsman has the power to initiate inquires If he becomes aware of widespread, systemic or entrenched situations or practices that violate human rights.
Finally, the Office is mandated to submit a report by 30 June each year to the Speaker of the Samoan Legislative Assembly on the state of human rights in Samoa. The report must include:
- recommendations about reforms and other measures, whether legal, political or administrative, which could be taken to prevent or redress human rights violations;
- any action taken by the Government on recommendations in any previous report;
- any action taken by the Government to promote and protect human rights
Apia Central Bank Building L5, Apia Samoa, PO Box 3036
P: (+685) 25394 F: (+685) 21862