Palau

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Persistent violations
  • Violence against children, particularly domestic violence[1]
  • Corporal punishment[2]
  • Sexual abuse and exploitation of children[3]
  • Low minimum age of criminal responsibility[4]
  • Discrimination with regards to the minimum age of marriage[5]
  • Economic exploitation of children, including child labour[6]
  • Discrimination against children from vulnerable groups, including children of non-Palauan parentage, children of immigrant families[7]
  • Discrimination against women and girls[8]
  • Insufficient provision for children with disabilities[9]
  • Lack of an Ombudsperson for children or other children's rights monitoring body[10]
  • Children living and working on the streets[11]

For more details, go here

Footnotes
  1. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Universal Periodic Review
  2. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Universal Periodic Review
  3. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Universal Periodic Review
  4. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Universal Periodic Review
  5. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Universal Periodic Review
  6. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Universal Periodic Review
  7. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Universal Periodic Review
  8. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Universal Periodic Review
  9. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Universal Periodic Review
  10. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Universal Periodic Review
  11. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Universal Periodic Review



Introduction

Spread across more than 250 islands of the Micronesian group in the Western pacific, about two thirds of Palau’s population live on the isle of Koro. Maintaining a compact of free association with the US, Palau cooperates on a number of military, security and economic issues, but is a wholly independent multi-party democracy, with a president who is both head of state and head of government. The low age of criminal responsibility, violence and abuse of children and discrimination against vulnerable groups remain issues for Palau.

Geography

Palau consists of eight principal islands and around 300 smaller islands located 500 miles south-east of the Philippines. The islands have white sandy beaches, dense jungle and are surrounded by abundant marine life. The capital city has been Melekeok since 2006, though Koror is the country's largest city.

Population and language

Palau is home to a little over 26,000 people,[1] of whom the majority are ethnically Palauan, though there are substantial communities of Filipino, Chinese, other Asian, White, Carolinian and Micronesian peoples.[2]

Palauan and English are official language,[3] though Tobi is also spoken on the islands.

History and politics

In the aftermath of the Second World War, Palau came under the administration of the United States as part of the UN Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands. A Constitution was approved in 1979, but it was a further 15 years before the country achieved independence. Throughout the 1980s, the country experienced considerable political instability and violence: President Remeliik was murdered in 1985, a crime in which the Minister of State was later implicated, and the President Salii killed himself three years later amid allegations of bribery.

Palau gained it's independence in 1994 in free association with the United States, an arrangement which guaranteed the islands' political independence and a substantial income from the United States as well as military defence. In exchange, the United States gained a right to maintain military bases on the islands. The country's most recent elections took place in November 2012, in which Thomas Remengesau was elected President. President Remengesau has been a prominent feature of Palauan politics for more than a decade, and held the Presidency for a further two consecutive terms between 2001 and 2009.

Economy

Palau has profited substantially from its Compact of Free Association with the United States, under which Palau received US$450 million of budget support and infrastructure developments between 1994 and 2008. A substantial amount of this sum was invested in a trust with the aim of providing perennial budget support, though one of the islands' foremost economic challenges remains how to ensure long term economic stability without a heavy reliance on foreign assistance. Tourism is a major source of economic activity in the country, and the fishing trade makes substantial profit exporting to the Japanese sushi market. Oil exploration began in Kavangel in 2004.

Media and civil society

Palauan law provides for a free press, though the Senate has twice considered legislation that would ban the foreign ownership of media. A clause to this effect appeared in the 2012 Telecommunications Bill, but was not enacted. There are a number of English and Palauan language publications available in the country and a selection of private and publicly owned radio stations broadcast on the islands. There are no terrestrial television stations, but most households have access to cable television, which carries U.S. and other international channels.[4]

Human rights and children's rights

International human rights mechanisms have raised a number of concerned with regards to human rights standards on the islands, including violence against children, the low age of criminal responsibility and discrimination against vulnerable groups of children.[5]

  1. UNDESA, "Population Statistics 2011"
  2. Foreign and Commonwealth Office, "Palau country Profile" 7 September 2012
  3. Constitution of Palau, Article XIII(1)
  4. BBC, "Palau Country Profile: Media" 17 July 2012
  5. CRIN, "Palau: Persistent violations of children's rights" 22 January 2013

Sources:


Quick Facts

  • Population: 20,600 (UNDESA, 2011)
  • Population under 18: 7,000 (UNICEF, 2010)
  • Number of internet users: 6,360 (30.2 per cent of the population) (InternetWorldStats, 2012)
  • Human Development Index ranking: 49 (UNDP, 2011)
  • Happy Planet Index ranking: N.A.