Chair's Foreword

For many decades, Australians have reached out to our Pacific Island neighbours through a range of government and non-government activities.
The Australian government has sought to enhance and expand this engagement through its Pacific Step-up, which was announced in September 2016.
This report examines Australia’s important ongoing role in the Pacific in the light of the Step-up. In particular, it focuses on the role of civil society, the advancement of the human rights of women and girls, and the effectiveness of Australia’s overseas development assistance programs in supporting these rights.
The Committee acknowledges the considerable efforts of national governments in the Pacific nations. Our recommendations seek to build on the strength of their efforts and to propose means whereby Australia can further assist local efforts.
We acknowledge the invaluable work undertaken by many civil society organisations and the people-to-people assistance they render.
Women and girls are continuing to shape their societies for the better. We trust that our recommendations will encourage their continuing commitment to supporting peaceful, resilient and happy communities throughout the Pacific.
The Hon Kevin Andrews MP
Human Rights Sub-Committee

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