NATION

Family Of Five Forcibly Removed From Tacirua Flat, Investigations Underway

It is alleged that the Landlord with 11 boys entered the flat and forcefully removed the family without a Court Order -- which is illegal.
31 Oct 2020 09:34
Family Of Five Forcibly Removed From Tacirua Flat, Investigations Underway
Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission chief executive officer Joel Abraham.

The Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission (FCCC) is currently investigating three cases of forceful evictions.

We are increasingly becoming concerned with the lack of empathy and unethical practices by landlords who choose to use unlawful means to evict tenants.

Most recently we are investigating an incident where a family of 5 were forcibly removed from their flat in Tacirua, Suva.

The right to housing and freedom from arbitrary eviction is a basic right provided under the 2013 Constitution. As such forced evictions constitute a gross violation of human rights.

FCCC being the first responders on the scene are assisting the family, along with the Legal Aid Commission in trying to seek injunctive orders.

FCCC CEO, Joel Abraham, and General Manager Operations, Senikavika Jiuta, headed the ground response team.

“The complaint was received around 7pm yesterday and despite our roles, we are duty bound to serve every Fijian that needs our assistance. The matter could have been resolved amicably, however, due to the uncooperative demeanor of the landlord, our CEO, Mr Joel Abraham remained to assist the family until minutes before the curfew at 11pm”, said FCCC GM Operations, Ms. Senikavika Jiuta.

“We went to the house after receiving a complaint from Mr Pranil Prasad that they had been illegally evicted. They were horrified to see the family out in the rain with their belongings.

The situation was a delicate one given that the complainant has an elderly mother who is confined to a wheelchair and an 8-day old baby”, said FCCC GM Operations, Senikavika Jiuta.

It is alleged that the Landlord with 11 boys entered the flat and forcefully removed the family without a Court Order — which is illegal.

“I would like to reiterate that this pandemic is not only a health crisis but is also testing our humanity and no one, absolutely no one should take the law into their hands and subject

Fijians to such behavior, especially considering the plight of Mrs. Prasad who had just given birth 8 days ago. She has suffered physical pain to bring life into this world and here are some who would find it acceptable to forcefully pull her out of her house with her 8-day old baby, what is even more shocking is the elderly mother was carried out of the house in her wheelchair and left out in the rain. If cannot see this from a lens of decency and morality then we are not Fijians anymore, as a society we have lost the plot”, said FCCC CEO, Mr. Joel Abraham.

“At the moment many Fijians are facing financially trying times and we need to watch out for each other – think about how you would feel in a similar situation and show patience and understanding. It is very sad and disappointing that people are unlawfully evicting tenants.”

Mr. Abraham said that tenancy issues should be resolved through dialogue, proper tenancy agreements and basic human decency, and FCCC offers to mediate cases between landlords and tenants.

“I also want to thank those landlords who have been understanding and provided relief to their tenants during a time where togetherness is very important,” Mr. Abraham added.

Mr. Prasad and his family are currently accommodated by his neighbor but they also have a small family of their own and will not be able to accommodate them long-term.

The Fiji Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission has also been notified.

As per section 39 of the 2013 Fijian Constitution, all Fijians have the right to: Freedom from arbitrary evictions 39.-

(1) Every person has the right to freedom from arbitrary evictions from his or her home or to have his or her home demolished, without anorder of a court made after considering all the relevant circumstances.

(2) No law may permit arbitrary evictions.

Feedback: rosi.doviverata@fijisun.com.fj



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