Vanuatu became a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in September 1990 and ratified the CRC without reservation in December 1992 and came into force on May 1993. It also ratified the two CRC Optional Protocols on child prostitution and pornography and armed conflict on May and September 2007.CRCted in June 2015 including the first two (2) Optional Protocol Reports.
Vanuatu submitted its first periodic report in 1997 (initial submission dateline was in 1995). The second, third and fourth periodic report was submit
On September 21st and 22nd Vanuatu presented its second, third and fourth combined report on the CRC including its two Optional Protocol reports by videoconference at the UNICEF Office in Suva, Fiji Members of the Vanuatu delegation included Mrs Jenny
 Tevi, head of the delegation, She is acting Head of the Treaties and Conventions Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Vanuatu; Mr Setariki Waqanitoga, Policy Adviser and Mrs Elizabeth Emil-Mael, Child Desk Coordinator, both from the Ministry of Justice and Community Services (MOJCS), Mrs Apisai Tokon, National Reproductive Health/Family Planning Coordinator, Ministry of Health and Mr. Roy Ben, Child Protection & Gender Focal Point, Ministry of Education and Trainin
g (MOET).
In preparation for this constructive dialogue with the CRC Committee in Geneva, the team left Vanuatu for Fiji on Sunday 17th September. On Monday 18th and Tuesday 19th Sept. the team worked tirelessly in going through the Vanuatu combined report including the responses to the questions raised by the UNCRC Committee, assigning themselves sections of the report on which they would be reporting.

On Wednesday 20th was a mock session conducted by the UNICEF and the RRRT team in Suva. This session really helped the team with their dialogue on Thursday and Friday evening from 8 – 11:30pm. This was the session that was most important as it helped the team for prepare well for the actual dialogue. The dialogue went really well as the team confidently responded to all the questions raised by the UNCRC Committee in Geneva. The questions and discussions were based on nine (9) thematic areas or clusters:
(i) General Measures of the CRC Implementation
(ii) Definition of the Child ( in relation to the Laws in Vanuatu)
(iii) General Principles of the CRC
(iv) Civil Rights and Freedom                                                                                                              
(v) Violence Against Children
(vi) Family Environment and Alternative Care
(vii) Basic Health and Welfare
(viii) Education, Leisure and Cultural Activities
(ix) Special Protection Measures.

Sector Inf PolicyThe Ministry of Justice & Community Services MJCS launched its Policing, Justice and Community Services Sector Infrastructure Priorities Needs last month. The minister thanked the ministry and corporate unit for the efforts put together by staffs to have a plan consisting of infrastructure priority needs of all agencies under the ministry to focus on improving services and address the government's priority in improving service delivery. Infrastructure needs is a sector strategy for the Ministry of Justice.

Implementation of the plan extends over a period of 5 years and encompasses Pam recovery works, maintenance work, upgrade to existing buildings and new office and facilities urgently needed by the sector, such as court houses and correctional centers. The plan laid some strategic guidelines for agencies to follow and implement their respective infrastructure needs. The Ministry has an infrastructure officer who will support each agency in the design process, tendering process and construction supervision works.

The Acting Director General for the Ministry thanked all the agencies who have support the process by providing information for the plan, to the project partners STRETEM ROD BLONG JASTIC MO SEFTI for their input and guidance and to the corporate staff of the Ministry for producing the plan.
The Ministry of Justice and Community Services is now ready to have wider consultation for the National Disability Inclusive Development Policy. People with disability in Vanuatu need IMG 3190more attention by the Government, NGOS and CSOs for a better inclusive society. The development of the disability policy is in line with the Vanuatu People's Plan which also addresses social inclusion as a pillar in the plan. 

The A/DG for the Ministry of Justice and Community Services, Mr Pacco Siri would like to thank the Stretem Rod Blong Jastis mo Sefti program for funding the Policy consultations. The Disability Desk who will be conducting the consultations would like to acknowledge Government stakeholders, NGOs, CSOs, Parents and Persons with disability for the continuous efforts made in supporting people with disability.

And we all look forward to the upcoming consultations for this Disability Policy
Refresher training
On July 11 – 1,3 2017 the Office of the Ombudsman organized a Refresher training for its staff, a total of 15 staff members including two USP students on attachment to that office.   Ombudsman 1

It was a long time plan and vision to organize an in-house refresher for staff members. The initial plan was supposed to take place in 2014, coinciding with the 20th anniversary of the Ombudsman’s Office. However, due to unforeseen circumstances and budgetary constraints, the training only took place this year.

A Pre-training Evaluation and a post-training Evaluation indicated that all staff members agreed that the Refresher training was timely, perhaps, a little delayed, never-the-less, it was helpful in that it reminded staff of their duties, Ombudsman’s organization goals, and inspired greater motivation to do better in their work.

It was agreed that this kind of training should be on-going, probably on an annual or on a 2 years basis. The Refresher training was closed on 14th July 2017 by celebrating the 23rd anniversary of the Ombudsman’s Office, in which a working lunch was enjoyed at the 

Recruitment of four new staff

The Ombudsman is now in the process of recruiting four new staff to join the Office, as planned and documented in our 2017 Business Plan. The vacant posts are: Director Leadership Code
Ombudsman 2Investigation; Principal Investigator, Leadership Code Investigation; Principal Corporate Services Officer; and Investigator, General Complaints Investigation

The selection process is on-going and it is hoped to welcome the successful candidates to the Office before the end of 2017.

Students’ placement
This year alone, the Ombudsman and his staff have played host to 5 APTC student placements, 1 AUF student placement, as well as 2 USP student placements.

This is support that the Office gives to these institutions which it hopes to continue in the future.
In the month of September, the Departments of Correctional Services and Women's Affairs, under the Ministry of Justice and Community Services (MJCS), held important organisation restructure workshops in accordance with the Public Service guidelines for any Organisation Review, Establishment Variations and Job Evaluation.
One purpose of the workshops was to inform officers about the possibility of a restructure in the two departments due to growth and the evolving functions of the two departments.

By the end of the workshops, both Departments were able to:
 Identify the main Objectives of the Restructure and why each of them was undertaking a restructure. It was important for all officers to first understand what needed to be achieved through a restructure;
 Present proposals for new or redundant positions in the existing structures;
 Agree on the process to follow to develop their new organisation structures.

The MJCS Hub staff either facilitated or co-facilitated the workshops providing information on external factors to which the restructures should respond. For example, the implementation of the National Sustainable Development Plan and the Justice and Community Services Sector Strategy both of which provide higher level policy settings that could have an impact on the human resource needs of each of the Departments. Internal factors that the restructure should respond to were also discussed, for instance, the need for additional human resource management staff to serve the provincial offices, and the need for resources to support asset management.

Participation was great and at the end of the sessions, all staff understood the rationale behind each of their Departments' proposed restructure. Public Service Commission staff also participated at one of the workshops and provided useful insight to the process. The two Departments are currently finalizing their findings to present to Director General of MJCS and ultimately to the Public Service Commission.

Whilst the workshops served as start of the formal PSC process for Organisation Review, Establishment Variations and Job Evaluation, many staff expressed that attending the workshops provided a significant capacity building opportunity for them, being the first time for most of them to discuss these types of issues, and enabled them to contribute to and be part of their proposed restructure. They will be supporting the process better with their improved understanding.
On 4 August 2017, 17 managers from across the Justice and Community Services Sector embarked on a five month Management Development Program (MDP) designed and funded by Stretem Rod Blong Jastis mo Sefti in partnership with the MJCS. The MDP aims to engage managers in development that strengthens their practical capabilities so that they are better equipped to confidently and skillfully undertake management responsibilities, and contribute to improved agency performance. It includes a formal training component with participants completing a Certificate IV in Leadership and Management delivered through the Australia-Pacific Technical College and three additional days of technical training in line with Government of Vanuatu requirements. This formal learning is complemented by regular Action Learning group sessions that provide participants with an opportunity to collaboratively discuss the application of their skills in the workplace, reflecting on, and learning from their management experiences.

Each of the manager participants were selected through a competitive process, and are sponsored by their Head of Agency. Participants include managers from the Customary Land Management Office, Department of Correctional Services, Ministry of Justice and Community Services, Office of the Vanuatu Ombudsman, State Law Office, Vanuatu Cultural Centre and Vanuatu Law Commission. The managers have just completed their third formal week of training and have two further weeks scheduled for mid-October and November to complete their Certificate qualifications.

The participants have already shared examples of how they are strengthening their management approach and applying MDP learning in their workplaces including:
• Trialing alternative management styles and facilitating more regular meetings with junior staff to monitor and support their work
• Empowering and involving staff in decision-making and delegating responsibilities, and
• Considering mechanisms to strengthen linkages of the work of individual teams to organisational business plans, including through performance management that is measurable and realistic.
All managers are now implementing major workplace projects targeted at creating or updating a continuous improvement system or process in their workplace. We look forward to this being the first of a number of MDP's offered to support management development across the sector.
The Ministry of Justice and Community Services in partnership with Stretem Rod Blong Jastis mo Sefti (SRBJS) seeks to encourage an environment where staff actively maintain and develop their professional knowledge, skills and expertise. To support this aim, staff from Agencies and Offices in the Justice and Community Services sector and relevant non-government organisations, may apply for financial support through the Vocational Study Support Scheme (VSSS) to cover the basic costs associated with undertaking part time vocational study.

Interested applicants must complete an Individual Application for Part-Time Study. Please note that the application must be received at least 4 weeks prior to the due date for enrolment fee payments. For Semester 1 2018, applications will not be accepted after 5pm Friday 12 January 2018. Note also that the institution will have its own admission procedures that applicants need to fulfill.

The application must be justified on the basis of clear links between the individual's training needs and the proposed vocational or professional education, and also requires management endorsement.

Once an application is received by SRBJS, it will be assessed along with other applications as part of a competitive process and applicants will be advised promptly of the results. The complete application process is outlined in VSSS Application Procedure.

Staff from across the Justice and Community Services sector can consider this opportunity, and investigate the range of vocational and professional education offerings from Vanuatu Institute of Technology (VIT), University of the South Pacific (USP), Australia Pacific Technical College (APTC) and others.

Interested applications should consider the links below:

1) Courses offered by VIT: (under development); Ph: 22294
2) Courses offered by APTC:

We can also provide details of the following USP professional diplomas:

a. The Professional Diploma in Legal Practice click here
b. The Professional Diploma in Legislative Drafting click here

For any inquiries, please contact Training and Learning Adviser, Amy Green (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) and MJCS Capacity Development Coordinator, Louise Nasak (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).