USP HRRA President, Asilika Marama, OHCHR Regional Representative, Ms Heike Alefsen and PIANGO Executive Director, Ms Emeline Siale Ilolahia following the launch of the association.
The University of the South Pacific’s Diploma in Leadership Governance and Human Rights Alumni and graduates have formed a human rights alumni body.
The newly formed USP Human Rights Alumni Association (USP HRAA) will facilitate and serve as the pillar of human rights coordinating mechanism, with the aim to advocate, educate and disseminate human rights, governance and leadership information.
It will also focus on enhancing the capacity of regional students to advocate on these issues in the Pasifika context.
Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Pal Ahluwalia, when launching the USP HRAA, congratulated the students for having the foresight to form an association that will empower USP students to become agents of positive change in their various communities.
“The launch is a testament of the dedication of staff, students and alumni of the School of Governance, Development and International Affairs,” he said.
“It reflects the great relationship between staff and students of the School, living beyond the classroom context, inspiring actors of change infused with the vision of advocating for human rights issues that are affecting our Pacific.”
He added that the initiative was also an opportunity to reflect on the learning and achievements of the University.
“Most leaders at the helm of governments and NGOs in our region are alumni of this University and as your Association grows, you must realise that amongst you, you are networking with future leaders of the Pacific.
“Do build cohesive, constructive dialogue and relationships amongst yourselves and your Association to secure our Pacific now for the future,” he added.
Association President, Asilika Lomani said since its inception, the USP HRAA has been active in raising awareness and advocacy on issues relating to West Papua, and partnering with NGOs to advocate on human rights issues affecting the region.
The Association plans to begin its membership drive in January next year.
The USP HRRA is being supported in its advocacy work in the region by the Pacific Islands Association Non-Governmental Organisation (PIANGO), the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights Pacific Region and members of the Youngsolwara Pacific.