U.S. Statement at the Universal Periodic Review of Palau

UPR 24th Session, Geneva, January 21, 2016
As delivered by Jessica Carl

The United States warmly welcomes the Palau delegation to the UPR Working Group.

We commend Palau for the steps taken to deter acts of domestic violence and protect survivors, including passing the Palau Family Protection Act in 2012, conducting public education efforts to combat abuse against children and women, extending the minimum wage to foreign workers, and allowing potential trafficking victims to break abusive contracts while pursuing legal claims against former employers.

We remain concerned, however, about the lack of shelters for domestic violence survivors and encourage Palau to establish shelters to help survivors move forward with their lives.

We also note that foreign workers continue to face discrimination and abuse, including misrepresentation of contract terms and conditions of employment, withholding of pay or benefits, and substandard food and housing.

We urge the government to enforce the 2005 anti-trafficking law by prosecuting  those responsible as traffickers, rather than under lesser labor violations or prostitution-related offenses.   

Bearing in mind these concerns, we recommend that Palau:

1. Enforce the 2005 anti-trafficking law and ratify the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children.

2. Enforce regulations to protect foreign workers, particularly regarding work conditions and occupational and safety standards, and prosecute violations.

3. Establish shelters for domestic violence survivors.

 

(end statement)