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Pacific briefs, February 1

By Pacific Correspondent Barbara Dreaver

Published: 10:46AM Friday February 01, 2013 Source: ONE News

Tonga human rights under spotlight

Tonga has become the first Pacific country to be investigated for the second time by the United Nations for its human rights record.

The UN Human Rights Council has identified a number of issues of concern including police abiding by human rights standards, domestic violence, the death penalty which is still part of Tongan law and measures that have been taken to criminalise homosexual relations. The group made up of 18 HRC members and 22 observers has made a number of recommendations.

Tonga has recently been in the media spotlight after five police officers were charged with the manslaughter of a New Zealand constable when he died after being assaulted in the cells in August. Three months later another two policemen were charged with manslaughter after a 21 year old died after a fight at a party.

Bad weather closes schools

Some Samoan schools in and around the capital Apia will be closed until next week as bad weather closes in.

The Ministry of Education made the decision because a flood advisory is in place for the country and there has been continuing heavy rain over the past two days.

Education's CEO Matafeo Tanielu Aiafi told the Samoan Observer that it's unfortunate it's the first week of term but safety comes first.

Some of the schools haven't reopened since cyclone Evan because they have no running water and electricity and there's ongoing work to fix structural damage.

Community targets crime

The Cook Islands Police Commissioner has set up a volunteer community group to help tackle community crime.

The Cook Islands Community Safety Advisory Council is made up of business people, church leaders, traditional leaders and women's and youth groups.

Police Minister Teariki Heather told Cook Islands News the group will be specifically looking at burglaries and youth crime and whether there should be tougher penalties.

Arson attacks in French Polynesia

Police from the main island of Tahiti are being flown to Nuku Hiva in the Marquesas to help investigate a number of arson attacks.

A large double hulled canoe and four buildings have been burnt down, including a traditional house on an archaeological site.

Residents have been guarding other sites to make sure they are also not targeted.

Bomb deactivated

Military experts were called in to deactivate a 25kg WWII bomb in Bora Bora which had gone unnoticed for decades.

The French Polynesian island was an American military supply base during the war with 7000 soldiers based there.

The bomb had been partly submerged under a tree.

Contact our Pacific correspondent Barbara Dreaver at with your news tips and feedback