World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


Fiji: Constitution fails to protect fundamental human rights

5 September 2013

Fiji: New constitution fails to protect fundamental human rights

Fiji’s proposed new constitution falls far short of international standards of human rights law and is another step backwards for human rights in Fiji, Amnesty International said.

The draft constitution will be sent to the President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau for assent on 6 September.

“Contrary to the claims of Fiji’s government over the last few months, the new constitution actually weakens human rights protections in the country,” said Grant Bayldon Amnesty International’s Executive Director.

The current text upholds decrees that severely restrict free speech, grants the state the power to detain people (potentially indefinitely) without charge or trial in times of emergency. It also gives state officials immunity for a wide range of acts, including crimes under international law such as torture.

“The new constitution not only erodes basic human rights for the people of Fiji, but grants military, police and government officials absolute immunity for past, present and future human rights violations. This will only serve to allow the perpetrators of serious crimes to act with impunity,” said Grant Bayldon.

Amnesty International has repeatedly raised a number of serious concerns about the draft text since it was first released in April 2013. Although some amendments were made, many of these concerns have not been adequately addressed in the final draft of the constitution due to receive presidential assent on Friday.

Despite the revised constitution, Fiji will remain subject to draconian decrees implemented since the 2006 military coup.

Amnesty International documented a number of human rights violations occurring under emergency regulations (which were in place from April 2009 to January 2011) in its 2009 report, Fiji: Paradise Lost.

“Amnesty was also extremely disappointed by the New Zealand government’s recent comments that they will overlook the constitution's clause which grants immunity for past, present and future human rights violations,” said Grant Bayldon.

“The international community must not allow themselves to be misled by the Fiji government’s claims. They should be pushing the Fiji government to take genuine steps towards respecting and protecting human rights for all.”

“Fiji’s draft constitution falls short on human rights standards”, Public Statement, 25 April 2013.


© Scoop Media

World Headlines


UN News: Monkeypox Outbreak Can Still Be Contained, Insists UN Health Agency
The monkeypox outbreak that has been reported in 16 countries and several regions of the world can still be contained and the overall risk of transmission is low, the UN health agency said on Tuesday...

UN: “COVID-19 Is Not Over”, Tedros Warns World Health Assembly
The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) told global health Ministers on Sunday that although reported COVID-19 cases and deaths have declined significantly, it is not time to lower the guard... More>>

UN: Bachelet Calls On Mexico To Step Up Efforts As Tragic Milestone Reached Of More Than 100,000 Disappearances

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on Tuesday called on the Mexican authorities to step up efforts to ensure truth and justice for victims of disappearances, who now number more than 100,000, according to official data... More>>

Access Now: Elon Musk’s Twitter Buyout Must Not Come At The Expense Of Human Rights

Following today’s announcement that Elon Musk will acquire complete ownership of Twitter in a cash sale of around 44 billion USD, pending shareholder approval, Access Now urges Twitter’s Board, employees, and shareholders... More>>

UN: Biodiversity And Ecosystem Protection Highlighted On Mother Earth Day

Marking International Mother Earth Day, UN General Assembly President Abdulla Shahid urged on Friday, for collective action to safeguard biodiversity and protect ecosystems... More>>

Ukraine: Hundreds More Reach Safety After Fleeing Besieged Mariupol
In Ukraine, humanitarians said on Wednesday that hundreds of people have managed to reach safety after fleeing Mariupol, where there’s also been condemnation for the killing of Lithuanian filmmaker Mantas Kvedaravicius... More>>