The Australian High Commission is pleased to announce its support to the Community Land Rights Awareness Project in Gizo, to be implemented by Oxfam International.

Speaking on Human Rights Day and the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Australian Foreign Minister, Stephen Smith, announced Australian Government support for the project.

The project focuses on strengthening the economic and social rights of people displaced by the April 2007 tsunami in Solomon Islands' Western Province, and aims to increase women's participation in decision making on land issues.

Solomon Islanders also stand to benefit from a regional human rights awareness training based in Fiji - the Human Rights Training for Pacific Churches Program.

This program will provide human rights training and capacity building for leaders and members of Pacific Christian Churches.

These projects are two of four in the Pacific to receive funding under the 2009 Human Rights Small Grants Scheme, which will provide $1.5 million to promote human rights in 19 countries across the Asia-Pacific. The other Pacific projects encompass initiatives in peace-building and conflict resolution in Papua New Guinea and awareness-raising of the rights of people with disabilities in Vanuatu.

Australia also continues to work closely with its Pacific neighbours to help people living in poverty gain access to basic human rights such as health and education. Through the Human Rights Small Grants Scheme, Australia will assist non-government organisations to promote human rights at the community level.

Australia's targeted support to Pacific Island nations through these projects will help address local constraints to growth and challenges to nation building and stability. This will be vital to assisting partner governments in the Pacific protect human rights and fulfill their international human rights obligations.

Australia is committed to promoting faster progress towards the Millennium Development Goals and to alleviating the situation of the vulnerable in the region.

Source: Australia High Commission, Honiara (Press Release)