Labour Leader Mahendra Chaudhry says it is clear from the CMAG statement on Fiji that the Commonwealth is not satisfied that appropriate conditions exist for a credible constitutional process.
The Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) met in London on 16 April 2012. It reviewed Fiji’s suspension and the situation with regard to human rights.
In a statement issued on 17 April, CMAG welcomed the lifting of the Public Emergency Regulations but expressed its concern that restrictions on human rights remain in place under the Public Order Amendment Decree and other decrees.
CMAG urged the regime to restore full respect for human rights, including freedom of expression and assembly and access to justice, noting that these values were not only fundamental to the Commonwealth and essential in their own right but also indispensable in order to create an environment necessary for credible constitutional consultations and elections.
“The Chair and members of the Constitutional Commission should take note of CMAG’s observations and insist on the removal of all decrees, administrative decisions and policies that restrict the fundamental freedoms of our people, before they engage with the regime,” said Mr Chaudhry.
Mr Chaudhry said Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyyum fools no one but himself by denying that there are no restrictions on human rights in Fiji.
“Political leaders are still under close surveillance and people are being questioned, harassed and intimidated by the security forces. Political parties are required to obtain a permit for meetings and then the authorities want to know details of the agenda, how many people will be attending, how many cars will be there, how many microphones?”
Are these not restrictions on our rights and freedoms?” Mr Chaudhry asked.