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Fiji: Women Human Rights Defenders Threatened

Sunday December 10th, 2006

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Women Human Rights Defenders Threatened

HUMAN rights organisations and individuals have been threatened with violence, including rape, for speaking out on the current impasse in Fiji. The Fiji Women’s Rights Movement office and FWRM Board member Imrana Jalal, received threatening phone calls last week.

The threats follow public statements by FWRM and an opinion piece by activist and human rights lawyer Jalal.

“I received a phone call on Monday afternoon (4th December) – an anonymous male voice threatened me with rape and attempted to intimidate me,” said Jalal, who has reported the criminal threat to the police.

When she asked the caller to identify himself, “I was told that they would ‘shut me up forever’ and I was to wait because they would come and get me.”

FWRM Executive Director Virisila Buadromo was also told to ‘stop what she’s doing’ by a male caller who identified himself as being from the military.

“These threats against unarmed peace activists by the armed forces seem extreme. We have simply been advocating for the basic principles of the rule of law and democracy,” said Buadromo.

The threats against the organisation and individual activists coincides with International Human Rights Day (December 10th), International Women Human Rights Defenders Day (November 29th) and16 Days of Activism on Violence Against Women.

‘Women Human Rights Defenders’ (WHRDs) is a term referring to women who individually or with others, act to promote and protect everyone’s human rights. This sub-category of defenders has been singled out because they face risks particular to their gender committed by both state and non-state actors, including governments, the military and even within communities.

The 16 Days campaign aims to increase the visibility of violence against women as a human rights violation. The campaign has been utilised by groups all over the world to use international human rights instruments to address violence against women as a human rights violation and a threat to human security and peace worldwide. [Ends]

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The Fiji Women’s Rights Movement is a multiethnic and multicultural non-governmental organisation committed to removing discrimination against women through institutional reforms and attitudinal changes. Our vision is for the women of Fiji to be free from all forms of discrimination, have equal access to opportunities and to live in a healthy environment where the principles of feminism, democracy, good governance, multi-culturalism and human rights prevail.

ENDS

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