NEWS

Raj To Vosarogo: Focus On Your Crumbling Political Party

THE Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission Director WAS RESPONDING TO SODELPA deputy leader FILIMONI VOSAROGO’S STATE-MENT
19 Mar 2021 14:41
Raj To Vosarogo: Focus On Your Crumbling Political Party
Fiji Human Rights and Ant-Discrimination Commission director Ashwin Raj,

The statement issued by SODELPA deputy party leader, Filimoni Vosarogo is farcical and while this grandstanding does not warrant an elaborate response, it is imperative that the record is set straight.

The Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission Director, Ashwin Raj had issued a statement on March 8, 2021 which clearly stated that the Commission was going to make a submission on the proposed Police Bill once the Bill is tabled in Parliament.

It was categorically stated that the Commission in its substantive submission would call for alignment of the Bill with the state’s human rights obligation under the domestic procedures and international conventions and treaties that Fiji has ratified.

The Commission had written to Parliament, seeking a date and time when it could make its submission but was advised that the Police Bill was yet to be tabled in the House.

The Commission will, as it has done in the past, make its submission through the relevant parliamentary standing committee.

The Commission has made numerous submissions  to the parliamentary standing committees since 2016 on Bills which have profound human rights implications, some of which includes:

  • Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill,
  • Adoption Bill,
  • Information Bill,
  • Parliamentary Powers and Privileges Bill,
  • Registration of Sex Offenders Bill,
  • Online Safety Bill,
  • International Covenants: International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)   and International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR),
  • International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance,
  • ILO Convention 190 – The Elimination of Violence and Harassment in the World of Work,
  • ILO Protocol of 2002 to the Occupational Safety and Health Convention, 1981,
  • Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography,
  • Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict and Cybercrime Bill 2020.

Beyond expressing opprobrium, a thorough submission to relevant parliamentary standing committee must deconstruct the law, examine which provisions of the proposed law interdicts rights and freedoms and what safeguards exist in our domestic procedures as well as international human rights law to resuscitate those rights under strain.

This is the focus of the Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission. We need to find solutions and I do not see the need to join the chorus of dissent. There are enough people doing that in this country.

And that is their democratic right. As a national human rights institution, our focus will remain in finding solutions to these intractable human rights challenges and not grandstanding to appease the pathos of Vosarogo. Mr Raj says he does not need a lawyer- turned -politician to tell him what needs to be done.

The Commission has called out police brutality openly and taken matters to court in relation to alleged violation of the rights of arrested and detained persons and freedom from cruel and degrading treatment.

Mr Raj says singling out him or the Commission to gain mileage is a cheap stunt. Mr Vosarogo should instead focus on building his crumbling political party!

 



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