EU action - Key focus areas: Cultural factors in the male-dominated society continued to limit women's representation in Government and politics. Women are well represented in the middle and lower ranks of Government at both the Federal and State level, but are scarcer in the upper ranks. All of the 14 members of Congress are men. FSM remains one of the few countries in the world with no women in the legislature.
Women enjoy equal rights under the law, including those regarding property ownership and employment. However, socio-economic discrimination and violence against women continue to be the most prevalent human rights problem in the country. There is still no national legislation criminalizing sexual assault, but each state has identical legislation criminalising sexual assault against, and sexual relations with, girls under the age of 13. Cases of domestic violence often go unreported because of family pressure or inaction by the authorities. Offenders rarely face trial, and those found guilty usually receive light sentences.
In spite of the Human Trafficking Act of 2012, FSM remained a source country for forced labour and sex trafficking. Many sex trafficking cases remain unreported due to victims’ fear of shame and embarrassment in FSM’s insular communities. As part of a larger awareness campaign the Government implemented a national action plan to combat trafficking in human beings.
No labour unions exist, though there are no laws against their formation. The right to strike and bargain collectively is not legally recognised. The judiciary is independent, but lacks funding.
EU bilateral political engagement: In 2018, the EU Delegation for the Pacific carried out demarches and outreach activities inviting the Pacific Island States to support EU human rights initiatives and priorities at the UN level. The EU Delegation in Fiji continued to actively promote climate change awareness. In the Pacific region, climate change and human rights are very closely intertwined.
EU financial engagement: Awareness-raising and support to civil society and non-state actors were essential elements for the implementation of the regional roadmap for Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in the Pacific. To this purpose, the EU also worked closely with the government, regional organisations, civil society and other donors. In the National Indicative Programme designed under the 11th EDF, a specific financial allocation has been set aside for CSOs (EUR 1 million).
Multilateral context: No visits have been made by Special Procedures in 2018, and FSM has not extended a standing invitation.