This was during a Training of Trainers on “Human Rights in a Referendum” conducted in Buka from 13 to 17 May 2019.
The training was conducted by the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in collaboration with the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) Department of Community Development, Bougainville Referendum Commission and other ABG Institutions.
The training enhanced the capacity of 30 participants, including 13 women and two persons representing persons with disabilities, to integrate human rights in their daily responsibilities and support vulnerable people, for their informed participation in the referendum scheduled for 12 October 2019.
The ABG Minister for the Department of Community Development, Josephine Getsi, opened the workshop, saying building the capacity of public servants is crucial for the effective promotion and protection of human rights in Bougainville, and expressed her appreciation for the technical support provided by the UN in this regard.
The OHCHR Human Rights Adviser to the UN Country Team, Kedar Poudyal, also noted during the workshop opening that, “A human rights based approach to all activities of the government including in conducting the referendum is important to ensure people, in particular vulnerable groups, actively participate and no one is left behind in any national processes”.
At the workshop closing, Donna Pearson, with the Bougainville Referendum Commission, spoke on behalf of the training participants, saying that she will apply the knowledge and skills received at the training.
“This training is instrumental in enhancing the knowledge and skills of ABG officers with the necessary tools on human rights in the context of the referendum.”
This training will be followed by a week-long capacity building workshop for key members of civil society across Bougainville on human rights monitoring and documenting, which will be conducted in Arawa by OHCHR. Both workshops are part of the Gender Youth Promotion Initiative, a Peacebuilding Fund project implemented jointly by OHCHR, UN Women and UNFPA, to promote the empowerment and participation of women, youth and persons with disabilities in the referendum.
(Panellists during panel discussion session of the TOT on Human Rights in Referendum)