22 Oct 2008

Fiji human rights lawyer concerned about regional situation

2:35 pm on 22 October 2008

A Fiji human rights lawyer, Imrana Jalal, says the new UN human rights monitoring system offers a broad assessment of a country's situation.

The Universal Periodic Report mechanism has seen Tonga outline its situation, with Tuvalu to appear before the committee in December.

Ms Jalal says while the Pacific doesn't have the worst abuses, there is a gradual deterioration.

"But what we do have in the Pacific is a slow wittlling-away of human rights at a macro level. So that I think we need to guard against. It is a slippery slope. You allow free speech to be suppressed and you accept it. We Pacific Islanders accept it and who knows what happens next."

Imrana Jalal, a regional human rights lawyer from Fiji