19 May 2009

Fiji President tightens Human Rights Commission brief

3:18 pm on 19 May 2009

Fiji's President has issued a decree which bans the Human Rights Commission from taking complaints or investigating anything about the abrogation of the constitution.

The decree says the Commission must also drop any earlier complaints.

Philippa Tolley has more:

"Under the so-called new legal order in Fiji, new legislation is being imposed by Presidential decree. After earlier ordering that the higher courts were not allowed to hear cases involving any constitutional matters, the latest decree carries that objective a step further."

The wordy Decree states that the function of the Human Rights Commission is to educate the public about the nature and content of human rights, to make recommendations to the government and to promote and protect human rights of all persons in Fiji.

But it states that the functions, powers and duties of the commission do not extend to receiving complaints against, or investigating, questioning or challenging, the legality or validity of the revocation of the 1997 constitution or other decrees made or as may be made by the President.