"As societies build walls of separation between communities,
ICAAD works to remove each brick to illuminate our common humanity"

Tigest Sendaba, MA


Tigest Sendaba is a human rights advocate and professional with experience in the national, regional and international fields.

Tigest recently worked as a Human Rights Officer with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) Regional Office for the Pacific based in Suva, Fiji. The office works to promote human rights principles, instruments and practice across 16 Pacific Island countries including Australia and New Zealand. Tigest provided technical assistance in promoting human rights, responding to emerging issues, meaningful engagement in the Universal Periodic Review and advocating for increased ratification and effective implementation of international human rights conventions and declarations.

Prior to that position, Tigest worked for the Secretariat of the Pacific Community’s Regional Rights Resource Team (SPC/RRRT) as a Human Rights Policy Development Mentor. Tigest’s work at RRRT focused primarily on violence against women and rights of persons with a disability. Tigest also has extensive experience with implementing human rights standards (policy, procedure, training and education) in law enforcement through her work in Australia with Victoria Police and ACT Corrective Services. Prior to that Tigest also worked in research and policy relating to Indigenous Affairs with the Australian Federal Government.

Tigest holds a Masters in International Relations from the University of Melbourne, Honors in Sociology – with a thesis on social movements and political activism – and a Bachelor of Arts both from the Australian National University.


On May 17, 2019, ICAAD Advisor Erin Thomas’ publication: Compacts of Free Association in FSM, RMI, and Palau: Implications for the 2023-2024 Renewal Negotiations (hrbrief.org/2019/03/compacts-of-free-association-in-fsm-rmi-and-palau-implications-for-the-2023-2...) was cited by the President of Palau, Tommy Remengesau Jr., in an op-ed published in The Hill (thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/foreign-policy/444291-pacific-defense-pact-renewal-vital-to-the-u...). In her piece, Erin points to critical issues stakeholders have raised regarding human trafficking, adoption policies, and COFA migrant rights among other important human rights issues.

Some of the above-mentioned policy gaps span several of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), particularly 10 (reduced inequalities) and 17 (partnership for the goals). Holistically, the existing COFA agreements represent the type of inequity that SDG 10 seeks to address. SDG 17 promotes inclusive and participatory decision-making at the international, national, and local levels. Developing transparency on both sides will allow for a more equitable process and outcome for the renewal negotiations.

The issues within the existing agreements also involve SDG 16 (peace, justice, and strong institutions) and limited access to justice regarding redress for nuclear testing and environmental destruction. This impacts targets and indicators including SDG 13 (climate action) and SDG 3 (good health and well-being). Finally, SDG 10 and 8’s targets for responsible migration policies are important considering the limited provisions for COFA migrants in the U.S. and U.S. territories.
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