Pandemic effect on human rights ‘catastrophic’, says Samoan report

Samoa's Ombudsman Luamanuvao Katalaina Sapolu
Samoa's Ombudsman Luamanuvao Katalaina Sapolu ... a grave impact on children's right to education, and the right to health. Image: Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia/RNZ Pacific

RNZ Pacific

Samoa’s Ombudsman Luamanuvao Katalaina Sapolu says the human rights effects from the covid-19 pandemic have been catastrophic.

She has just submitted Samoa’s eighth State of Human Rights Report to Parliament.

Luamanuvao said that over the past two years families had lost loved ones, businesses suffered, unemployment rates increased, and freedom of movement was restricted.

She said there had also been a grave impact on children’s right to education, and the right to health continues to be challenged with resources stretched to the maximum.

But she said human rights principles continued to play an important role in addressing discrimination and inequality and providing inclusion of everyone in the prevention of, and recovery from covid-19.

The report provided an analysis of the impact of the pandemic and government measures on the rights and freedoms of Samoans, especially on the most vulnerable groups.

The report also included recommendations for the government to ensure its covid-19 measures were consistent with the constitution, domestic laws, and policies safeguarding human rights, as well as Samoa’s international human rights obligations.

This article is republished under a community partnership agreement with RNZ.

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