17 Aug 2007

Fiji election probe questioned

5:42 pm on 17 August 2007

There is more criticism of an inquiry initiated by the Fiji Human Rights Commission into the country's 2006 general election and the role the commission plays in the issue.

The inquiry has been established over concerns that thousands of unused ballot papers, which went missing, could prove that the election results were manipulated.

Dr Jon Fraenkel from the Australian National University, who was in Fiji for the elections, questions the motivation of the Human Rights Commission.

"Is it really the role of the Fiji Human Rights Commission to be making inquiries into the election held in May last year, or should its role be protecting the citizens of Fiji from severe human rights abuses that occur under the military regime? The Fiji Human Rights Commission seems to be playing a very peculiar role in the wake of the coup in 2006."

Dr Fraenkel says it is unlikely that the missing ballot papers indicate a rigging of the results.

The national director of the SDL party, Peceli Kinivuwai, reportedly labels the matter as "fishy" and says it reveals that the commission's agenda is in line with the interim government's.