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Pohnpei State set to implement landmark Family Safety bill

Key stakeholders gather in Niue for a consultation meeting. Photo courtesy of SPC/RRRT

Pohnpei, FSM - Key government and civil society stakeholders met in Pohnpei from Nov. 15 to 16 to prepare the implementation plan for the landmark Pohnpei Family Safety Bill, passed by the Ninth Pohnpei Legislature on Nov. 7.

The Pohnpei State Department of Health Services together with the Pacific Community’s (SPC) Regional Rights Resource Team (RRRT) facilitated this meeting to unpack and map out key strategies for the Pohnpei State Government to ensure support for the implementation of the Bill.

The new legislation defines family violence, establishes family violence offences and sets out protective mechanisms that can be accessed by victims of family violence. The legislation is the first of its kind for Pohnpei and, as a result, a key objective of the consultation was to increase understanding and awareness of the content and implications of the Pohnpei Family Safety Bill.

Participants were able to gather information and share ideas for the development of the implementation plan. Issues covered included an examination of the gaps among social service providers, options for filling those gaps and public information strategies.

During the meeting, the Pacific Community acknowledged the Pohnpei for being the second FSM state, after Kosrae, to have passed legislation specifically addressing family violence.

Reflecting on the effort and dedication that has been put into the legislation, RRRT Acting Director Ms Nicol Cave said, “This is a milestone for the Pohnpei State Government and for the Federated States of Micronesia, and we congratulate them on this important step toward ensuring the safety, protection and wellbeing of families. SPC RRRT looks forward to continuing its support for Pohnpei State and helping to ensure the full implementation of the Family Safety Bill”.

Cave also acknowledged the role of the Australian government in supporting the work of RRRT. “This consultation was made possible through the financial support of Australia. Thanks to that support, Pohnpei State has been able to immediately commence discussion on its implementation plan for this historic legislation.”

RRRT is also providing ongoing support to the FSM to meet its commitments under key international human rights treaties, including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

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