6 Feb 2017

Fiji has 'bungled' opportunity, Amnesty

10:08 am on 6 February 2017

Fiji has bungled an opportunity to improve its human rights record after it forcibly deported a young refugee seeking asylum according to Amnesty International.

Loghman Sawari, who is 21, fled to Fiji from Papua New Guinea's Manus Island.

Loghman Sawari (left) has been deported from Fiji by Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

Loghman Sawari (left) has been deported from Fiji by Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum. Photo: Behrouz Boochani / RNZI

He and his lawyer were on their way to meet with Immigration in Suva on Friday to seek asylum when he was stopped by police and put on a plane back to PNG.

Amnesty's Pacific Researcher, Kate Schuetze, said Fiji had failed an important test at a time when it's making a bid for a seat on the UN's Human Rights Council.

"The Fijian authorities gave assurances that he would not be arrested before he had that interview."

"He's been let down quite seriously by those promises and I think serious questions need to be asked because this is a pretty big bungle by Fiji," Kate Schuetze said.

Fiji's Attorney General said he deported Mr Sawari back to PNG because he failed to apply for asylum without delay.

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