17 Mar 2003

Fiji's PM says human rights concerns should be raised in Fiji not overseas

10:34 am on 17 March 2003

Fiji's Prime Minister, Laisenia Qarase, has strongly attacked NGO's and individuals who take human rights concerns to international organisations.

Mr Qarase says if they are to be believed then Fiji is a land of persecution, injustice and oppression, where rights mean nothing.

He has singled out last week's report on human rights abuses in Fiji by the Citizens Constitutional Forum that was presented to the United Nations Committee for the Elimination of Discrimination.

Mr Qarase says there is no need to take grievances to the international community when Fiji has its own Human Rights Commission and similar institutions to deal with them.

Mr Qarase has accused the Citizens Constitutional Forum of taking an anti-government stance to please its foreign donors, adding that it has no public mandate because it is not an elected body.