The United States warmly welcomes His Excellency Mr. John C. Gibbons and the Palau delegation to the UPR Working Group. We are well aware of the challenges the UPR process poses to small island states, and we congratulate Palau on the completion of its National Report and its comprehensive presentation. We would like to raise the following issues and recommendations.
The United States commends Palau for its strong democracy and its demonstrated commitment to the promotion of human rights. In particular, we commend Palau for its strong support of women’s rights. We are concerned; however, that Palau currently has no laws explicitly addressing domestic violence, or explicit legal protections for abused children and women. The Office of Victims of Crimes, under the Ministry of Health, assists women and children who are victims of domestic violence. Such cases are prosecuted as assault and battery.
While Palau has in practice granted temporary protection to some foreign persons fearing return to their country, its laws do not provide for the granting of asylum or refugee status, and there is no established system for providing protection to refugees. The Government of Palau and the local Catholic Church have a system in place that arranges shelter for victims as the need arises. The United States encourages the Palau government to make proactive efforts to identify trafficking victims and prosecute offenders under the 2005 Anti Trafficking law.
Bearing in mind these concerns, the United States would like to make the following recommendations:
1. That Palau pass legislation to address domestic violence.
2. That Palau continue making efforts to investigate, prosecute, and punish offenders of human trafficking.
3. That Palau ratify the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children, a protocol to the Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.
4. That Palau establish a more formal system to provide protection for refugees and asylum seekers
5. That Palau become a party to the 1951 Refugee Convention and 1967 Refugee Protocol.