Fiji Fails the UN Human Rights test

  • 4th November 2014
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Fiji Delegation to UNHRC suffers rebuff!

Mission unsuccessful!

Members of the ‘high powered’ Fiji delegation made no impact on the UNHRC in their attempt to paint an acceptable picture of the human rights situation in Fiji.

They were bundled out with a list of 137 recommendations  to be considered for implementation, and a progress report on it to be provided by March next year.

The 8-member Fiji delegation to Geneva was headed by Attorney-General Khaiyum. He was  accompanied by Chief Justice Anthony Gates, Director  of   Public Prosecutions Chrisopher Pryde and five others including Fiji’s representative to the UN  (based in Geneva)  Nazat Shameem

The UNHCR found the much-flaunted 2013 regime constitution seriously flawed and has recommended the appointment of a Commission to undertake its comprehensive review. It suggests that the review be reflective of the will and aspirations of the citizens of Fiji, thereby, providing a more stable political structure.

It has suggested that the legislative and constitutional framework be amended to maintain the separation of powers and cease any executive or political interference with the independence of the judiciary and the legal profession.

CJ Gates and DPP Pryde may wish to take specific note of the observations relevant to the judiciary and the legal profession

The Media Industry Development Decree 2010 features prominently among the decrees recommended to be scrapped or amended. Commenting on the decree UNHRC said that there was a need to end the intimidation and harassment of people who express criticism of the State.

It continued…”There is a need to change the climate of fear and self-censorship to ensure no one was arbitrarily arrested and detained for exercising their rights.”

The other decrees recommended to be amended in order to ensure that the fundamental rights and freedoms of the people are not unduly restricted, are: Public Order Amendment Decree and the Political Parties Decree.

Overall, it was suggested that Fiji consider amending laws that restrict freedom of peaceful assembly.

We draw the Report’s contents to the attention of the Commonwealth, the European Union and other development partners such as Australia, New Zealand, the US and the United Kingdom who accepted, without question, the regime’s highly flawed and imposed 2013 constitution and suggest that they show due restraint in such matters in the future.

It now remains to be seen what the regime will do about these specific recommendations of the UN Human Rights Council. We look forward to the Opposition taking up this important issue in Parliament with renewed vigour.