Mr Tozaka, who is Chairman of the Parliamentary Foreign Relations Committee and Parliamentary Wing Leader of the People’s Alliance Party, urged the National Coalition for Rural Advancement (NCRA) led by Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Liloto proceed with its plan to enact legislation to reserve 10 seats for women in the national parliament.
‘Once legislated, the forthcoming national elections could see women elected into the national parliament, and this will be an excellent legacy for the NCRAgovernment because of equal participation by women and men in areas of decision-making and leadership,’ Mr Tozaka said.
Mr Tozaka was amongst 18 members of parliament from 10 Pacific Island countries who participated in the regional consultation on human rights for members of parliament.
The regional consultation aimed to provide an opportunity for Pacific members of parliament to share ideas and enhance their understanding of current and emerging human rights issues in the region, including violence against women and children, disability rights, sexual and reproductive health rights, HIV and AIDS and human rights, climate change, and mechanisms to promote respect for human rights.
During the three-day consultation, the parliamentarians discussed their roles and responsibilities as legislators and change agents in addressing emerging human rights issues at the national level through legislative and policy change.
Nauruan Minister for Education, Hon. Charmaine Scotty, stressed the importance of discussing climate change as a critical human rights issue of the region:
‘When we lose our islands, nothing can give that back. For us it will be a permanent loss; it’s not like a cyclone blowing down your house; you can rebuild it in a matter of weeks. The risk is that when we lose our island we lose our lives, our sovereignty, everything that’s important to our identity. Us Nauruans, we have only one island and we must keep it safe – we have no other land. We will end up being at the mercy of others. Where would we go? This is thehuman rights issue. It’s the responsibility of the whole international community.’
The regional consultation was generously supported by Australian aid. Other partners involved in the consultation include the Asia Pacific Forum of National Human Rights Institutions, the Disability Discrimination Commissioner of the Australian Human Rights Commission, the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat through the EU and the UN Women Pacific Ending Violence Against Women Facility Fund.
Source: Solomon Star