Human Rights lawyer Aman Ravindra Singh’s message to the Labour Convention on Saturday was for people to stand up and fight against the denial of their human rights in this country.
“You must start getting engaged. Talk to your friends, talk to your families. You need to oppose. Do not remain silent. Your silence is telling the regime that you accept all this,” he said.
“If you see anything wrong. Oppose. You need to stop accepting illegal activity. You need to stop accepting torture and violence.”
Speaking on Human Rights and Elections, Aman warned that unless we were prepared to force the issue, “…We will be robbed again next year. And that is a fact”.
“They boasted about 1-day elections. But that was a big lie. We had two weeks of elections.”
On government’s failure to implement the recommendations of the Multinational Observer Mission on changes to electoral process, he asked: “Is this government serious about free and fair elections?”
“The core issue here is our civil and political rights. If we want transparency, free and fair elections, we need to be more active. We need to make demands.”
He said in a country where people were denied their basic human rights – their right to think freely, their right to speak openly, their right to choose their own city and town councils – that government had no right to speak to the world about Climate Change.
“That is not democracy. That is dictatorship,” he said.
Referring to the decaying ships in the Suva Harbour, he said a government that could not respect environmental rights, had no right to go about advocating Climate Change.
“Fiji is posing as the champion of Climate Change … government is out there on the world stage preaching about Climate Change … right now it looks more like an extended tourism show.
“It is all a façade. It is all a fake. What they are trying to do is to detract you and I from the realities here. The reality is that in Fiji we are being denied our fundamental human rights.
“You and I live in an environment of fear. People are scared. They live in fear. When you say anything about government, they will start looking around, they will hush up. Is this democracy?
“They have taken away your right to express yourself freely, your right to think freely. You have a right to speak freely and not what you are forced to say.
“Government is a bunch of bullies, a bunch of murderous. Fiji government is so scared it continues to use torture as its main weapon to instill fear in people. It practices State sponsored torture as a tool to make sure people do not criticize the government.
“… I know because I speak from experience,” said the lawyer who has represented a number of cases of people accused of sedition and who himself has been subjected to intimidation and other forms of pressure from the authorities.