The 1960 Constitution of Samoa guarantees the right to life. It is specified in Section 5 that the right is not violated
when it results from the use of force to such extent and in such circumstances as are prescribed by law and as are reasonably justifiable:
(a) In defence of any person from violence; or
(b) In order to effect an arrest or to prevent the escape of a person detained, if the person who is being arrested or who is escaping is believed on reasonable grounds to be in the possession of a firearm; or
(c) For the purpose of suppressing a riot, insurrection or mutiny.
Section 7 of the Constitution prohibits inhumane treatment: "No person shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment."
Section 13(1)(b) grants all citizens of Samoa the right to "assemble peaceably and without arms".
|1966 Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)||State Party|
|ICCPR Optional Protocol 1||Not party|
|1984 Convention against Torture (CAT)||State Party|
|Competence of CAT Committee to receive individual complaints||Not party|
|CAT Optional Protocol 1||Not party|
|1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court||State Party|
There is not yet a regional human rights treaty to which Pacific nations can adhere despite discussions going back decades as to the possibility of establishing a regional mechanism.
Police Use of Force
The Samoa Police Service is the primary law enforcement agency in Samoa. Police use of force is regulated by the 2007 Police Powers Act. Under Section 33 of this Act, in executing a warrant a police officer "may use the force against persons and things that is necessary and reasonable in the circumstances".
With respect to firearms, Section 15(1)(a) provides that a police officer may only discharge a firearm "in self-defence or the defence of another person under threat of immediate serious violence".
The 2013 Komesina o Sulufaiga (Ombudsman) Act empowers the Ombudsman's Office to promote and protect human rights and investigate complaints against the police.
Views and Concluding Observations of United Nations Treaty Bodies
Samoa has not yet come before the Human Rights Committee or the Committee against Torture.
There is no regional human rights mechanism with oversight for acts by law enforcement agencies in Samoa.