Pacific girls under the spotlight at the United Nations CRC event in Samoa

A Pacific Island girl is taking centre stage at the global gathering of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child in Samoa this week, telling the world about human rights and the lived realities of children in the Pacific region.

Samoa’s hosting of the 84th Extraordinary Session of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) is a momentous historic occasion, given it is the first time any of the United Nations Treaty Bodies have held a regional session outside of Geneva or New York.

Seventeen-year-old Anamalia Falemaka of Talitha Project in Tonga is scheduled to participate in the UNCRC side event titled “A dive into the Blue Pacific”.

‘We are the future of our world, and if you’re discussing the future, our opinions are much needed,’ says Talitha’s Anamalia Falemaka.

Including girls such as Anamalia in the international event is crucial and a learning opportunity for participants to exchange information, knowledge and challenges faced in the Pacific region.

The UN Child Rights Committee meets from 2–6 March 2020. The side event, “A dive into the Blue Pacific”, on Thursday 4 March from 12pm–2pm, will be a highlight.

The side-event involves grassroots civil society organisations in the Pacific which engage with girls and acknowledge their role, agency and expertise. These organisations will enable girls to use the forum to share their experiences, lesson learned and innovative approaches. The event provides an opportunity for committee members and development specialists to exchange information, knowledge and experience of challenges and best practices to support gender equality and girls human rights within their island nations and regions.

“A dive into the Blue Pacific” is being coordinated by Fiji Women’s Rights Movement (FWRM) in partnership with Pacific Girl, the flagship adolescent girl program for Pacific Women, and in collaboration with partners: Talitha Project, Tonga; and Equal Playing Field, Papua New Guinea. The event is being hosted by the Pacific Community (SPC) Regional Rights Resource Team (RRRT) at its ‘Talanoa Tent’ on the lawns of Taumeasina Island Resort.

Anamalia was to be joined in Samoa by two other adolescent girls: Pamela of Equal Playing Field in Papua New Guinea and twelve-year-old Shruti Singh of FWRM’s Grow Inspire Relate Lead Succeed (GIRLS) programme who were both not able to attend the event as their flights were cancelled due to the coronavirus threat.

Pacific Girl is a multi-country program that supports adolescent girls in Pacific Island countries achieve their full potential. Pacific Girl partners aim to equip adolescent girls to make informed decisions, while engaging with the boys, parents, carers and communities in their lives to build more supportive environments. Pacific Girl has developed six civil society partnerships across six Pacific Island Countries (Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Vanuatu) since its commencement in 2019. Find out more about Pacific Girl: https://pacificwomen.org/stories-of-c…/what-is-pacific-girl/