Two Human Rights Reports

They read like a tale of who vaguely similar cities. The recently published 2010 report on human right in Fiji published by the US Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor is a pretty chilling repetition of its 2009 report. Nothing has changed.

Government continues to ban, censor, attack, arrest, prosecute, imprison, dismiss, deport, restrict and intimidate (and similar verbal impartialities). "Police and the military act with impunity ...prison conditions are poor, and "Other continuing human rights problems"  include (as if any more were needed): "government corruption, deep ethnic division, violence and discrimination against women, and sexual exploitation of children." This is also pretty scary. Such US accusations have been known to precede an invasion. 

A far more authoritative critical report is by the Citizen's Constitutional Forum (CCF) in its Monthly Legal News Bulletin Constitutional Matters. For readers unfamiliar with what is still wrong in Fiji, click  here to  read the report.  For those already familiar with what is wrong and who want to get on with making things better, I suggest you concentrate on issues like lifting PER, using the Media Decree, getting more civilians in government, more dialogue, more government transparency, better PR, and from the "opposition" — remove racist leadership, support the People's Charter, work towards inclusion in constitutional and election dialogues. Say something, anything, even one thing, positive about what the government is doing. And urge Australia and New Zealand to "Get real."

As for the US Bureau, they need to get up to date with someone on the ground in Fiji to see what is being done about corruption, ethnic divisions, prisons, women and children.  Since none of these are new problems, they could also ask why they failed to made similar accusations before 2006, when Fiji was a more "compliant" state.

Comments

On the side lines in vitilevu said…
Dear Croz,

I know you are a one man team but i do hope you get a chance to report/comment on the Mau & Patel case today and prison sentances.

On the one hand this good. It is the first real victory by FICAC and sends the strongest possible message to the community about corruption to date. The decision in my view looks right and sentance hard but fair. People will think twice now before using positions of power and trust for perosnal gain. This speaks far louder than the PM's words on the topic.

On the other hand it is bad - it highlights much of the unfairness we have seen over the last 4 years. These two have been found guilty but dozens of CEO's and board memebers where removed with no-recourse, no charges. We have seen bigger issues at FHL baord recently but presumably because this involved a military appointed board (and a key military person) it seems to have been swept under the carpet.

I applaud FICAC on pursuing this one but for real change the government needs to ensure FICAC treats its own the same way....and not just when they fall out of fovour with the PM (think former finance minister).

Regards
On the sidelines in...
Anonymous said…
They might need to change the name of there bulletin - we don't have a constitution anymore and the old constitution don't matter.

Both reports are acurate. no amount of positive spin can show this government as anything other than a dictactor with favours for some (think friends, family, military) and rule for everyone else.
Chilling report said…
Croz
This is a chilling report and very concerning that it is happening in our region. As the US, UK, France, Australia, NZ and many other free democratic nations have done in other parts of the world, something must be done about this situation - it is not the role of the military, anywhere, ever, to punish civilians and carry out summary justice. It is time the Fiji military were reigned in.
As for the CCF, my concern is their credibility - they supported the regime as part of the so called 'people's' charter. furthermore their silence in speaking out about military regime ongoing abuses is deafeningly silent. A worry in itself?
Once it's gawn it ain't coming back....anytime soon! said…
The US Bureau and Getting real about corruption:....

No Bureau in Fiji to our knowledge has ever gotten real about the corruption which involves embezzling Public Money - taxpayers' money. Yet in the US itself the most scrupulous accounting is encouraged by Congress towards the manner in which public money is disbursed. Today, public money which funded Post Fiji had a break: two people who least suspected it were convicted for its cavalier misuse. It is after all the principle: our money, our taxes, our public institutions and Post Fiji STILL requires an attitude change and a complete 'makeover'. Get this and get it good: PUBLIC MONEY IS OUR MONEY AND IT COMES FROM TAXES WHICH WE PAY! Pay scrupulous attention because once it's gawn, it ain't coming back anytime soon!
Honours Askew said…
How automatic is the removal of significant honours bestowed upon those who fail to lead in integrity and who signally do not - and maybe never did - deserve them. Is a Commander of the British Empire and a Chevalier de La Legion d'honneur to remain for someone convicted of Abuse of Office, soon to face trial for further such 'despotic abuse'? If these honours remain in place, then what will other recipients feel about them? Have we maybe misjudged the candidates? What do we make of an honours system so grievously "gone askew"?

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