The Solomon Islands, made up of six major islands and located east of Papua New Guinea, has a population of approximately 670,000 people. A state of emergency was announced on 27 March 2020 and all flights into the country were suspended. As of 28 May 2021, the country had recorded 20 COVID-19 cases and no related deaths.
The Global Detention Project has been unable to establish the extent to which migration-related detention measures are used in Saint Kitts and Nevis as part of immigration enforcement procedures. There is also no publicly available information concerning COVID-19 related measures taken to safeguard people in immigration or police custody, or people in international protection situations.
The country has ratified only some of the core human rights treaties, including the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. In consequence, the Solomon Islands received numerous recommendations concerning human rights treaties during its review for the second cycle of the UN Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in 2016, including: “ratify the core human rights instruments, including the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families (Sierra Leone) (para. 100.23)” and “ratify the Convention against Torture, and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment (Portugal) (Montenegro) (para. 100.18).”
In a submission to the UPR in 2015, UNHCR highlighted that despite being a party to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and having drafted legislation to implement its international refugee obligations domestically through the draft Refugee Status Determinations Bill 2010, the legislation had not yet been introduced before the National Parliament of Solomon Islands. UNHCR also noted that they were aware of a small number of refugees (less than five) present in the Solomon Islands, and that due to the small number of cases and more pressing domestic issues, “asylum-seekers, refugees, stateless persons and internally displaced persons are not prominent concerns” in the country.
As regards the country’s prison system, on 1 September 2020, the Correctional Services Emergency Coordination group visited Gizo prison and found that preventive measures had been put in place including: temperature checks, regular hand washing, as well as sanitising and cleaning of premises. Similar visits were conducted in Lata and Kirakira prisons. On 13 May 2020, the International Committee of the Red Cross donated 116 soap cartons, 85 liters of detergent, 45 liters of chlorine, 20 liters of sanitary products and 27 bottles of hydroalcoholic gel to the country’s prison authority to assist in the country’s COVID response.
- World Bank, “Population, total – Solomon Islands,” accessed on 25 May 2021, https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SP.POP.TOTL?locations=SB
- Worldometers, “Solomon Islands: Coronavirus Cases,” 28 May 2021, https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/solomon-islands/
- Human Rights Council, “Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review: Solomon Islands,” 13 April 2016, https://documents-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G16/076/50/PDF/G1607650.pdf?OpenElement
- UNHCR, “Submission by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights’ Compilation Report, Universal Periodic Review: Solomon Islands,” 2nd Cycle, 24th Session, June 2015, https://www.refworld.org/docid/5a12da0c0.html
- Prison Insider, “Océanie: Coronavirus, La Fièvre des Prisons,” 18 March 2020, https://www.prison-insider.com/articles/oceanie-coronavirus-la-fievre-des-prisons
- Solomon Islands Red Cross Society, Facebook Post, 13 May 2020, https://www.facebook.com/solomonislandsredcrosssociety/posts/862995254179285
- Solomon Islands Red Cross Society Handing Over Items Donated by ICRC to the Correctional Services of Solomon Islands on 13 May 2020, (Solomon Islands Red Cross Society, Facebook Post, 13 May 2020, https://www.facebook.com/solomonislandsredcrosssociety/posts/862995254179285)