Constitutional Provisions

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".

Treaty Adherence

Global Treaties

Adherence to Selected Human Rights Treaties
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
Adherence to International Criminal Law Treaties
1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court State Party

Regional Treaties

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.

National Legislation

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".

Police Oversight

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.


1960 Constitution of Samoa

2009 Police Service Act of Samoa

2007 Police Powers Act of Samoa