NEWS

Stop Misleading The Public, Says Raj Of Party’s Claims

At the same time, it is equally important that people are able to express their concerns in a democracy about their rights whether it be about workers’ rights, ecological justice, the right to political participation or any other pressing issue in a safe environment without threatening the safety, security or the diminution of the rights and freedoms of others.
13 Apr 2021 13:32
Stop Misleading The Public, Says Raj Of Party’s Claims
Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission (HRADC) director Ashwin Raj.

The Fiji Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission has called on the National Federation Party to stop misleading the country about the commission’s stance.

This is relating to freedom of association, assembly and speech and expression.

The statement comes after an opinion piece by a NFP member following the cancellation for a permit to march by the Fiji Trades Union Congress.

Director Ashwin Raj said the commission had issued a very clear statement on August 12, 2019 which was publicised by the mainstream media. He said the commission’s stance remains the same.

“There is a pressing need for a national conversation about upholding and balancing the constitutional right to freedom of association, assembly and speech and expression including the right to express democratic dissent and the maintenance of public order and national security,” he said.

“Striking the right balance between these rights and the responsibilities that come with those rights are important because we have a history.

“In 2000, what started as a peaceful assembly and protest descended into violence.

“At the same time, it is equally important that people are able to express their concerns in a democracy about their rights whether it be about workers’ rights, ecological justice, the right to political participation or any other pressing issue in a safe environment without threatening the safety, security or the diminution of the rights  and freedoms of others.”

He said in August 2019, while permits to march were rejected, the trade unionists and their supporters including politicians and academics were able to assemble in Suva, Lautoka and Nadi and freely express dissent without any obstruction from the Police.

 

NFP’s response

NFP’s Apenisa Vatuniveivuke said in the time since Mr Raj issued that statement, the Fiji Trade Union Congress’s applications for permits to march have been repeatedly rejected, on increasingly spurious grounds.

“Only on Sunday, a Catholic group was granted a permit to march through Suva.  Does he have no curiosity at all about how one group can get a permit to march but another cannot?” he said.

“Long-winded statements about national conversations are just talk with no action. That is the way everyone in Fiji sees our national human rights agency.”

Feedbackshalveen.chand@fijisun.com.fj

 

 

 



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