5 Oct 2007

Fiji NGO says Ombudsmans office and Human Rights Commission damaged by coup links

6:24 pm on 5 October 2007

A Fiji NGO says the Fiji Human Rights Commission and the office of the Ombudsman have been irreparably damaged and have lost all credibility and respect locally and internationally.

The Fiji Times reports the director of the Pacific Centre for Public Integrity, Angie Heffernan, saying both public offices and taxpayers money are being used by the Ombudsman, Dr Shaista Shameem, to launch a personal crusade that has championed the military coup.

She says the sole Human Rights Commissioner, Shamima Ali, has publicly stated that the reports and actions taken by Dr Shameem have not been approved by the Commission.

Ms Heffernan says this indicates the Director has and continues to act on her own personal initiative.

She also suggests that Dr Shameem may be planning a witchhunt against those opposing the coup by compiling a report of people who had made complaints to the United Nations.