In September 2011, the final four Pacific Island States (herein defined as the member States of the United Nations) underwent universal periodic review before the United Nations Human Rights Council. By this review process, the United Nations membership hopes to obtain a better picture of international compliance with fundamental human rights and freedoms and to identify areas in which progress can be made, through for example the provision of technical assistance to a State. This commentary extracts themes emerging from the inaugural universal periodic review process of those Pacific Island States. Accordingly, the review process will be explained, by way of background. Thereafter, attention will turn to the actual review outcomes of the identified States to identify common ground. Selected areas identified as being of concern will then be further analysed to provide a more complete legal analysis. It is clear that, despite their myriad of differences, many Pacific Island States share more than an ocean. Finally some tentative conclusions on avenues of progress will be presented in anticipation of the second cycle of universal periodic review
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