27 Feb 2004

US State Dept annual report finds human rights concerns in Pacific nations

11:31 am on 27 February 2004

The US State Department, in its annual report, says there are still serious concerns about human rights in Fiji, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, and Tonga.

It also criticised Indonesia's record in its Papua province.

Margot Staunton has more

"The report strongly condemned police in Papua New Guinea saying they committed arbitrary or unlawful killings, or used excessive force."

In Fiji it criticised continuing attacks on Indo-Fijians, restrictions on freedom of assembly, violence and discrimination against women and sometimes abuse of children.

It says the Tongan Government's human rights record remains poor, noting that its citizens do not have the right to change their government.

And the report says the authorities infringed on freedom of speech and the press.

In Vanuatu it criticises poor prison conditions, arrests without warrants, a slow judicial process and violence and discrimination against women.

And in the Indonesian province of Papua it says there have been extrajudicial killings, numerous acts of torture and politically motivated arson.