20 May 2009

New Fiji human rights commission decree criticised

3:21 pm on 20 May 2009

Several Fiji organisations are critical of a new presidential decree on the country's human rights commission.

Under the new decree, the commission is to educate the public about human rights.

It's not to receive complaints to investigate or question the legality of the abrogation of the 1997 constitution or other presidential decrees.

The director of the Fiji-based regional organisation, the Pacific Resource Concerns Centre, Tupou Vere, says she believes the commission will have no power.

"We question what's the point of having a human rights commission in the country when any semblance of human rights is virtually nil. At the moment in Fiji when we have decrees such as this one, we don't see any relevance of having any mechanism, a human rights institution in the country."

Tupou Vere.

The Citizens Constitutional Forum Executive Director, the Reverend Akuila Yabaki, shares the concern.