The United States 2009 Human Rights Report for Fiji, just released is a highly damning document on the continuing violation and abuse of human rights by Fiji’s (military) interim administration.
The 13-page report focused on the denial of the right of Fiji’s people to choose their own government and the excesses carried out under the Public Emergency Regulations (PER). The PER was declared after the abrogation of the Constitution on 10 April 2009 but was still in force at year-end when the US report was compiled.
Main areas of human rights abuse highlighted in the report include :
• government interference with the judiciary and the magistracy following the events of April 10 and the restricted jurisdiction of the Courts under the new legal order
• severe censorship of the media and detention of journalists for filing ‘negative’ reports
• detention, deportation, harassment of those seen as critical of government activities or policies including politicians, lawyers and academics
• lack of transparency and accountability in government decision making, and the continuation of systemic corruption despite rhetoric to the contrary
• blurring of the roles of the police and the military with the army playing an increased role in civilian matters
• the dismissal of elected municipal councils
• clampdown on people involved in anti-government blogging
• interference with the right to freedom of association and assembly, and in some cases workers’ right to collective bargaining
• the crackdown on Methodist pastors and its annual conference; attacks on Hindu places of worship;