1. Overview of the human rights and democracy situation: On 3 April 2019, the Solomon Islands conducted the first peaceful and efficient election since the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI) departed in 2017. The election was seen as a key success. Apart from that, the Solomon Islands has yet to enact a comprehensive human rights policy, and successful implementation of the Acts remains a challenge. In 2019, discrimination and violence (physical and sexual) against women and girls, gender inequalities (including gender-based violence - GBV) - combined with endemic corruption -remain the most significant human rights abuses in the Solomon Islands. Donors have taken initiatives but the number of rape and incest cases continues to be alarming. Other human rights issues included climate change and related problems.
The Solomon Islands’ work on a legislative package of reforms, aiming at improving political stability, access of women to parliament, fight against corruption and protection of whistle-blowers, has moved forward. The government recently launched an ‘Independent Commission against Corruption’.
2. EU Action - key focus areas: EU’s actions focus, inter alia, on supporting the ratification of or accession to the remaining core human rights instruments, promoting gender equality and women rights, and supporting CSOs engagement with the government on policy dialogue and governance.
3. EU bilateral political engagement: EU bilateral political engagement: The 7th EU- Solomon Islands political dialogue was held in October 2019, during which the EU urged the government to sign and ratify important human rights instruments, including the ratification of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. The EU has invited the country to legally protect the rights of the LGBTI community, although there were no reports of violence or discrimination against persons based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The EU is committed to supporting government and non-state actor efforts to reduce gender-based violence. Regarding the fight against corruption, the EU delegation in Fiji manages an on-going Budget Support programme that applies a vigilant monitoring of government spending, in particular the Constituency Development Funds (CDFs). The EU, together with other donors, meets regularly with the government, commends its fight against corruption and openly discusses the CDF situation. The EU delegation in Fiji will continue to actively promote climate change awareness. In the Pacific region, climate change and human rights are closely intertwined.
4. EU financial engagement: A Regional Financing Agreement worth EUR 13 million to tackle the root causes of gender inequality and violence against women and girls in the Pacific was signed in the margins of the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders’ meeting in Apia in September 2017. The EU is currently financing an action on ‘Support to initiatives and actions on the protection of children against sexual exploitation and sexual abuse’. The EU has also funded projects on women’s rights, violence against women, women’s empowerment and women’s participation. The EU delegation in Fiji continued a close dialogue with the country's CSOs, which are supported by thematic budget lines (EUR 0.6 million from the EIDHR and EUR 1.5 million from the CSO-LA). There are 68 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) currently registered with the Pacific Islands Association of Non-Governmental Organisations.
5. Multilateral context: The cooperation of the Solomon Islands with UN agencies is considered satisfactory. The Solomon Islands has completed the second Universal Periodic Review (UPR) cycle in the UN Human Rights Council. The Solomon Islands’ next UPR is scheduled for January 2021. Since the country’s second UPR in January 2016, the government has enacted a number of national laws related to the protection of human rights, but has been slow in signing and ratifying international human rights treaties.
The Solomon Islands has ratified the 'Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)', the 'International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR)', the 'International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD)' and the 'Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)'. The Solomon Islands has signed but not yet ratified the 'Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of Children in Armed Conflict (CRC-OP-AC), the 'Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Sale of Children child prostitution and child pornography (CRC-OP-SC) and the 'Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)'. The government has not yet signed the 'Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT)' and its Optional Protocol, the 'International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (CCPR)', the 'International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (CED)' and 'International Convention on the Protection of Migrant Workers and Members of their Families (CMW)'