With the UN Universal Periodic Review coming up in 2014, Fiji will need to seriously relook at its Human Rights Record given the history of serious violations over the last 6 years.
Captured prisoner deaths including Alifereti Nimacere, David Wise, NimiloteVerebasaga, Sakiusa Rabakaand in addition brutality of human rights activists at the hands of the security forces point to a history of serious human rights violations.
“CCF is saddened that having made a commitment to investigate and hold an enquiry into the beatings, PM Frank Bainimarama (FT 09/03/13) stated “at the end of the day I will stick by my men and anyone named in the investigation.” He thus condones the violation of human rights and undermines the powers of the institution of the rule of law and justice in Fiji”, added CCF CEO Rev. Akuila Yabaki.
“The current unelected Government’s stated commitment to uphold the articles and conventions of Human Rights is ringing hollow in the face of a history of prisoner brutalities, the withdrawal of the Permit for all Fijians to celebrate International Women’s Day through the annual Reclaim the Night March, the non-consultative promulgation of decrees that are clearly restrictive of political participation, the clampdown on Unions and a draconian decree that has denuded Fiji’s media of its fourth estate freedoms,” according to Rev. Akuila Yabaki.The action of the government also sees it straying from fulfilling the aspirations of the Peoples Charter for Change Peace and Progress whichstates that “We (Fiji) reaffirm our recognition of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all individuals and groups, safeguarded by adherence to the rule of law, and our respect for human dignity and for the importance of family.”
As we prepare for a new constitution and the upcoming elections in 2014, key liberties that are mandatory for return to sustainable democracy, come under threat and places huge question-marks on the State’s commitment for Fiji to return to true inclusive, participatory and accountable governance under a people-owned constitution.
Currently, the history of State interference violates fundamental freedoms, including media freedom (article 5), freedoms of peaceful assembly and association (article 20), the right to take part in government (article 21) and freedom from being subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of punishment (article 5).
CCF strongly recommends that for its own measures, the government needs to adopt the recommendations of the HR Council and allow the UN Special Rapporteur’s to assess the situation and provide an Independent evaluation of the Fiji government’s performance against its international obligations.