Palikir, Pohnpei November 14, 2023 – The Honorable Stuard Penias, Acting Secretary for the Department of Health and Social Affairs met with Mrs. Mikiko Otani, current member and former chair of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and Ms. Nina Sluga, Human Rights Officer from the United Nations Office of High Commission in Palikir on November 14, 2023. The visiting CRC committee experts are in the FSM to engage with the Government, Civil Society and organizations representing Children to discuss the implementation of the Committee’s recommendations to FSM’s CRC findings and more broadly to discuss issues on international standards and promising practices to ensure the promotion and protection of the rights of children.
The visit is part of the CRC follow-up visit to the Pacific that includes simultaneous visits on the same dates to Cook Islands and Tuvalu (three countries that were reviewed during the 84th Session of the Committee in Samoa in 2020. The visit will be followed by a regional experience-sharing workshop in Apia, Samoa that will enable peer-to-peer exchanges among Pacific Island Countries for stocktaking, mutual learning and discussions on good practices and specific legislative, policy and programmatic actions related to children’s rights in the FSM National and State Governments.
During the meeting Acting Secretary Penias welcomed the two members and expressed appreciation for the opportunity to share updates on the progress of CRC policies, programs and legislations as well as on the issues provided in the committee’s recommendations on the rights of children in the FSM. Acting Secretary Penias also requested from the visiting committee members the need for support in streamlining the CRC convention and educating the citizens of the FSM about the convention and its recommendations for children’s rights.
Mrs. Mikiko Otani extended the visiting teams appreciation for the warm hospitality and the opportunity to learn about children’s experiences in the FSM first hand. She also noted that it is not common for the committee members to meet with Pacific Island country members especially representatives from the FSM Government on children rights issues. Mrs. Otani further stated that the CRC committee’s work is mainly to support UN member countries in realizing the best outcomes for its children populations and in improving its commitments by addressing the challenges and gaps.
In attendance with Acting Secretary Penias were Assistant Secretary Lucille Apis-Overhoff, Assistant Secretary Arthur Albert, Assistant Attorney General Josephine Joseph, Mr. Johnny Hadley Jr. and Mr. Alfred David from the Department of Health and Social Affairs, UNICEF Chief Mr. Cromwell Bacareza, Pacific Community Country Focal Officer-FSM Mr. George Isom and Ms. Tupou Vere -Officer (Gender and Social Inclusion).