13 Mar 2007

Fiji human rights body claims goalposts shifted as NZAID calls for booklet to be withdrawn

4:50 pm on 13 March 2007

Fiji's Human Rights Commission says it is being attacked for trying to remind soldiers about the law and the rights of civilians in an updated handbook.

NZAID has provided funding for the first edition of the notebook, but has objected to the version published in the past few weeks.

It says the new version contains elements and guidance that implies a recognition of the coup last December and it is not an interpretation of events New Zealand supports

NZAID wants the booklet withdrawn and a public statement issued confirming the recall.

The Commission's Director, Dr Shaista Shameem, says they thought they were doing something wonderful in producing an up to date version:

"If anything we were doing our job and that is why its very surprising that the NZ government, or NZAID anyway, has taken this viewpoint as on the one side you cannot criticise a human rights commission for not doing its job and on the other side when they do do their job you say that's a breach of contract, It just seems that there is some kind of shifting of goalposts here."

The Director of Fiji's Human Rights Commission, Dr Shaista Shameem