Professor Lyal S. Sunga Is Lead Expert for Major UN Report

Professor Lyal S. Sunga

Professor Lyal S. Sunga

The UN Development Program in the Pacific and the UN Office of Drugs and Crime just published a major report titled “The COVID-19 pandemic: Exacerbating the threat of corruption to human rights and sustainable development in Pacific island countries” for which Professor Lyal S. Sunga had the honor to serve as Lead Expert. The report was commissioned by the UN Pacific Regional Anti-Corruption (UN-PRAC) Project in close partnership with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

The report identifies how the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbates the threat corruption poses to human rights, democracy, and the rule of law in Pacific Island countries (PICs). It recommends policies and measures that could help address this threat, focusing mainly on the Cook Islands, Fiji, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu. Breaking it down into three parts, the paper first discusses how corruption threatens human rights as well as progress in relation to the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals. Second, it explores COVID’s wide and deep impact on human rights in PICs. Third, the paper focuses on examples of how corruption exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic undermines certain clusters of human rights in PICs. Lastly, the paper outlines possible policy recommendations to consider.

Born and raised in Ottawa, Canada, Dr. Lyal S. Sunga received a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Philosophy at Carleton University in Ottawa, before getting a law degree from Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He subsequently earned a Master’s in International Human Rights Law from the University of Essex, UK, and a Ph.D. in International Law from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, Switzerland. After seven years working for various agencies of the United Nations, Dr. Sunga became Associate Professor and Director of the Human Rights Master’s Programme at the University of Hong Kong Faculty of Law. He also taught at the Raoul Wallenberg Institute in Lund, Sweden, taking leave in 2007 for several months to serve as Coordinator for the UN Human Rights Council’s Group of Experts on Darfur. He has been living in Rome since August 2018.