6 August 2013 Ombudsman Office at Red Cross Handbook Launch

Samoa Red Cross Society launched its new publication: Promoting respect for international humanitarian law: a handbook for parliamentarians in Samoa. The Handbook is the result of a joint project between Samoa Red Cross Society, Australian Red Cross and the Pacific Regional Delegation of the International Committee of the Red Cross. The Handbook explains the important role parliamentarians in Samoa have to play, as our law makers and leaders – this includes working to pass national laws that implement IHL treaties, and also spreading knowledge of IHL in the community.

The launch included a presentation of the Fundamental Principles of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement by Samoa Red Cross Volunteers. The keynote address was given by Prime Minister Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi, and the book was launched by Namulauulu Tautala Mauala, the Samoa Red Cross Society Secretary-General.

While Samoa does not have a defence force, many Samoan police officers are deployed on international missions, and all peacekeeping personnel are required to know and follow international humanitarian law. Although IHL is a separate, specialist body of law that regulates the means and methods of armed conflict, it is related to and works in conjunction with human rights law. Therefore, it is vital that Samoa police are trained in both human rights and international humanitarian law.

The launch was attended by the Ombudsman, Maiava Iulai Toma; Hai-Yuean Tualima, Human Rights Education and Communications Officer; and Melanie O’Brien, Human Rights Legal Officer.