U.S. Department of State Country Report on Human Rights Practices 1997 - Solomon Islands
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Publication Date||30 January 1998|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State Country Report on Human Rights Practices 1997 - Solomon Islands, 30 January 1998, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6aa1d40.html [accessed 19 June 2013]|
Released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, January 30, 1998.
SOLOMON ISLANDSSolomon Islands, with its approximately 400,000 people, is an archipelago stretching over 840 miles in the South Pacific. Its government is a modified parliamentary system consisting of a single-chamber legislative assembly of 50 members. Executive authority lies with the Prime Minister and his Cabinet. The Prime Minister, elected by a majority vote of Parliament, selects his own Cabinet. Political legitimacy rests on direct election by secret ballot. There have been five general elections since independence in 1978, most recently in August. The judiciary is independent. A police force of about 500 men under civilian control is responsible for law enforcement. There were occasional reports of police abuse of human rights. About 85 percent of the population engages to some extent in subsistence farming, obtaining food by gardening and fishing, and has little involvement in the cash economy. Approximately 10 to 15 percent of the working population (15 years and older) are engaged in nonsubsistence production. Although exports, particularly of unprocessed logs, have boomed, the number of wage earners has remained unchanged for the past several years, despite high population growth. Most basic individual rights are provided for in the Constitution, respected by authorities, and defended by an independent judiciary. Discrimination and violence against women remain problems, and the Government on occasion has imposed restrictions on the media. There is a constitutionally provided ombudsman to look into and provide protection against improper or unlawful administrative treatment.