2 Dec 2016

Fiji MPs accused of abusing parliamentary privilege

3:30 pm on 2 December 2016

Pardoning MPs under privilege who commit hate speech crimes is an abuse according to the director of Fiji's Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission.

Ashwin Raj, chair of Fiji's media authority MIDA

Ashwin Raj, chair of Fiji's media authority MIDA Photo: RNZ / Republika

Already two opposition MPs have been suspended from parliament for the remainder of this term for calling government MPs names on the floor.

But according to FBC News, the Director of the Human Rights Commission Ashwin Raj said it is not enough.

Speaking on the Parliamentary Power and Privileges Bill 2016, Mr Raj called for stricter laws on the power and privileges of parliamentarians.

He told a parliamentary standing committee for justice law and human rights that parliamentary disciplinary processes were insufficient to stop parliamentarians from making hate speeches and insufficient to remedy the harm done to society as a whole.

He said this was particularly so because of Fiji's political and social history and questioned what kind of message parliament was sending if politicians were exempt from section six of the constitution on the right to be free from discrimination.