Sunvoice

Editorial: Our human rights record today complying with international standards

The Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission director Ashwin Raj is unfairly criticised from time to time for allegedly ignoring human rights abuses here. Critics may not be aware of the
24 Nov 2018 13:35
Editorial: Our human rights record today complying with international standards
The Fiji Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission director Ashwin Raj.

The Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission director Ashwin Raj is unfairly criticised from time to time for allegedly ignoring human rights abuses here.

Critics may not be aware of the enormous work that goes on behind the scene by Mr Raj and his team to educate people of the importance of understanding and respecting human rights.

Over the last four years the commission has worked with several organisations including the Fiji Police Force to create public awareness that people have their fundamental rights – that they should be given a fair go, treated fairly, with decency and have their voices heard.

Mr Raj and his team have been vigilant in detecting and highlighting violations of human rights.

Officers of the State including law enforcement officers have been brought before the courts and convicted for human rights abuse.

In the latest case two Police officers have been charged with the murder of Joseua Lalauvaki.

In addition, the Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission has filed a Constitutional Redress application on the late Lalauvaki’s behalf in relation to the violation of his Constitutional Rights on September 2, 2018, which ultimately resulted in his death on October 11, 2018.

The case is made pursuant to Articles 8, 11(1), 13(1)(a)(i), 45(4)(e) of the 2013 Constitution; Sections 38(1)(2), 40(1)(2) and 41(1)(d) of the Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission Act 2009 and the Inherent Jurisdiction of the High Court.

The commission commends the State on Fiji’s accession to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) which came into force on November 16, 2018.

Mr Raj says it demonstrates Fiji’s sustained commitment towards strengthening legal safeguards in the interests of protecting and promoting fundamental human rights and freedoms and opening itself to international scrutiny given that Fiji is now a member of the Human Rights Council.

He adds the covenants place a positive obligation on the state to not only protect individuals against violations committed by the state but also against acts committed by private persons or entities that would impair the enjoyment of covenant rights.

He says it will further strengthen the interpretation provisions of the Bill of Rights of the Fijian Constitution through the application of international law in the interests of promoting values underpinning a democratic society based on human dignity, equality and freedom.

“It is significant given that human rights are interrelated, interdependent, and indivisible and discrimination is intersectional.

“Furthermore, Fiji’s history instructs us that civil and political rights and economic and social and cultural rights are mutually constitutive.”

Fiji has made an impressive progress in complying with international standards on human rights.

Fiji’s election to the United Nations Human Rights Council is in recognition of its achievement.

We have come a long way, putting behind us the bad experiences of the past and looking forward to a promising future with a solid human rights record.

Nemani Delaibatiki

Feedbacknemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

Fiji Sun Instagram
Fiji Plus
Subscribe-to-Newspaper
error: