Doctor Sam Manuela. PHOTO: UNIVERSITY OF THE SOUTH PACIFIC
A New Zealand-based human rights initiative is once again looking for buy in from the Cook Islands to ensure the rights of people are not breached by the state or other people in power or with authority.
The Human Rights
Measurement Initiative (HRMI) is a global project based in Wellington, New
Cook Islands has
participated in the HRMI annual survey on the state of human rights in our
country for the past three years – the survey is completed anonymously.
Around 200 countries
have an HRMI ambassador, a person who works to ensure the rights of people are
not breached by the state or other people in power or with authority.
has been the HRMI ambassador for the past three years, as a consequence of her
work on employment relationship, gender equality and family protection matters.
several interest groups in Rarotonga on Wednesday as the 2022 survey gets
She was joined by Doctor Sam Manuela from Auckland University, who is on Rarotonga and a co-leader of the project.
Dr Manuela said
the project is on a drive to get more people involved.
“If something is
not measured it can be overlooked,” he said.
“We are trying to
fill the gap in providing easy access to data.
“We want this information to be useful.”
Dr Manuela said
having measurements could lead to improvement.
“If we don’t have
information on the ground then we can’t hold governments to account.”
economic, social, civil and political indicators as examples – that was then
broken down to education, food, health, housing and economy.
and political rights could be difficult and the surveys were anonymous, Dr
In the Pacific
there were specific concerns around climate crisis, indigenous sovereignty,
land rights, cultural rights, community violence and LGBTQIA rights.
The 2021 survey
found the Cook Islands to be leading the world in a range of civil and
political rights, however the rights of the disabled and journalists were found
to be endangered.
According to the
report, the country measured well relative to regional peers across a range of
While the nation’s
2021 scorecard was generally positive, there were a number of areas highlighted
by researchers where the rights of various groups were at risk.
In the Cook
Islands, 43 per cent of researchers said people with low social or economic
status were at risk of having their rights to health violated.
cent said older persons were at risk of having their right to housing violated.
disabilities and journalists were also singled out as being at risk of rights
violations, according to the data.