17 Sep 2016

Fiji says Australia and NZ inconsistent on human rights

10:38 am on 17 September 2016

Fiji's Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama has criticised what he calls New Zealand and Australia's "stark double standards" on human rights.

A prominent Fijian MP and other political figures were arrested in Fiji last week for holding a meeting without a permit.

Prime Minister John Key said he was keeping a watch on the situation in Fiji and warned against the government doing anything "silly".

Frank Bainimarama

Frank Bainimarama. Photo: Supplied

Australia's Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, said her country takes freedom of assembly and freedom of speech seriously, and will be watching Fiji closely.

Yesterday, Mr Bainimarama accused New Zealand of being "disrespectful" and "condescending" .

He told the Fiji Australia Business Council meeting that Australia and New Zealand's stance towards Fiji was was hypocritical and inconsistent.

"We have not lectured to you about the allegations of human rights abuses in your own countries," he said

"These include the extreme disadvantage suffered by indigenous people in New Zealand, and Australia, and in the case of Australia, the inhumane treatment of asylum seekers.

"We also refrain from commenting on the stark double standards of nations that preach to us yet fail to criticise the flagrant human rights abuses of their neighbours"

Mr Bainimarama said despite warm and vibrant personal and commercial ties the two countries needed to work on their relationship.