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Universal Periodic Review Working Group – 11th Session
Universal Periodic Review of Solomon Islands
Statement by Australia
4 May 2011
Australia welcomes Foreign Minister Shanel and the delegation from Solomon Islands and appreciates its constructive engagement in the Universal Periodic Review process.
We congratulate the Government of Solomon Islands on the conduct of its national election in 2010. Australia is supportive of future reform, including to voter registration, which will further entrench public confidence in the democratic process.
We are also pleased to hear today that the Solomon Islands Government will issue a standing invitation to the UN Special Procedures.
Australia recognises the progress Solomon Islands has made toward strengthening its justice system, and notes the importance of consolidating these gains as the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands draws down. We encourage Solomon Islands to ensure that people in all provinces have timely access to the court system. We acknowledge the valuable role played by traditional justice, while noting its limitations, particularly in addressing gender-based crimes.
We note that gender-based violence remains a significant problem in Solomon Islands. Australia welcomes the development of national gender policies and the establishment of a Gender Unit within the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force. We commend Solomon Islands on the development of a referral network for medical, counselling and legal services for victims of gender-based violence.
Australia welcomes the continuing commitment of Solomon Islands to pursue justice for victims of the ‘tensions’ period through extension of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission mandate through to 2012.
Australia recommends Solomon Islands:
1. Encourage further strengthening of the electoral system, particularly through improving the integrity of voter registration;
2. Implement fully its Gender Equity and Women's Development and Elimination of Violence Against Women policies, and convene a first meeting of the oversight mechanism - the National Steering Committee - at the earliest opportunity; and
3. Meets its funding commitments to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission for the duration of its mandate.