The training conducted by the Commonwealth Secretariat’s human rights and youth affairs programmes took place in Port Vila, Vanuatu from 8 to 12 July 2013 and drew twenty-four participants from Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and Fiji Islands.
Speaking at the closing of the training, Vanuatu’s Youth Development, Sports and Training Minister Anthony Wright thanked the Commonwealth for undertaking the training describing it as a “fantastic initiative.”
Mr Wright emphasised that the youth have a key role to play in advancing and promoting human rights in the region.
The Head of the Human Rights Unit at the Commonwealth Secretariat, Karen McKenzie, said that the training in the Pacific region is the third in a series of regional trainings, with the previous two having taken place in India and the Bahamas respectively, early this year. She stated that the capacity development for the Pacific also underscores the Commonwealth work in strengthening the resilience of small states and vulnerable states.
She said the trainings are conducted in conjunction with The Equitas International Centre for Human Rights Education, a non-profit organization that works to promote equality, social justice and respect for human dignity. She explained that participants are equipped with skills such as confidence building, participatory training and given a strong foundation in knowledge about key human rights instruments, mechanisms and issues.
Reflecting the Commonwealth Secretary General’s remarks at the 8th Commonwealth Youth Ministers Meeting, which took place in Papua New Guinea in April 2013, this training aims to equip participants with the technical skill and ability, enabling them to train others in rights promotion and protection in their own communities.
Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma has praised this kind of capacity development noting that promoting youth leadership in the knowledge about human rights and democracy lies at the heart of the organisation’s agenda.