Annual Report: Solomon Islands 2010

Report
May 28, 2010

Annual Report: Solomon Islands 2010

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Head of state Queen Elizabeth II represented by Sir Frank Kabui (replaced Nathaniel Waena in July)
Head of government Derek Sikua
Death penalty abolitionist for all crimes
Population .5 million
Life expectancy65.8 years
Under-5 mortality (m/f) 56/57 per 1,000
Adult literacy 76.6 per cent

Informal settlements in Honiara, the capital, continued to grow rapidly. The authorities did little to provide adequate access to clean water, sanitation and health services for thousands of people living there. Violence against women and girls remained prevalent across the country.

Right to adequate housing

Thousands of people in Honiara live in informal settlements which have mushroomed since the 1980s and 1990s due to high rural to urban migration and high unemployment. The government remained unwilling or unable to address poor sanitary and living conditions there, and provide adequate alternative housing to settlement dwellers.

The government failed to address the poor water supplies in the settlements around Honiara and thousands of people continued to drink contaminated stream water. Inhabitants of other settlements often had to walk more than a kilometre every day to fetch water due to the lack of a water and road infrastructure.

Many other settlements had no access to electricity. Scores of people were forced to scavenge at the Ranadi rubbish dump in the outskirts of Honiara to feed themselves and to find building materials for their homes. The authorities made no meaningful attempt to prevent scavenging or educate scavengers on the health and safety risks of this practice. Many homes were poorly constructed with scraps of tin, wood and plastic. Lack of space in some settlements forced several families to share toilets with poor hygienic conditions.

Violence against women and girls

At least 64 per cent of women between the ages of 15 and 49 experienced violence in the home, according to a government-sponsored survey completed in January by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, a regional inter-governmental organization. In August, the government used these findings to draw up a national plan of action to address domestic violence in the country. The survey results were published in November.

Amnesty International visit

An Amnesty International delegate visited the country in August.