28 Apr 2004

Calls in Fiji to soften Illicit Drugs bill

3:48 pm on 28 April 2004

Fiji's Human Rights Commission is calling for some parts of the new Illicit Drugs Bill to be dropped.

The Commission is concerned about the bill infringing on privacy laws because it will allow authorities to track and bug suspects.

The Director Dr Shaista Shameem says the right to privacy must be protected and this may happened if the current bill is passed when parliament debates it next month.

"If there is an inconsistency with a piece of legislation with the constitution, then the commission can, or any person in fact, can go to the High Court for a declaration of inconsistency, which means that that particular legislation or that particular section which is inconsistent with the constitution can be declared to be invalid."

Dr Shameem says the Commission is also concerned about the process of obtaining a search warrant, and unreasonable searching and seizure of citizens.

But the attorney general Qoriniasi Bale has said local media they have taken the necessary steps to ensure there are no abuses of human rights in the bill.