12 Feb 2004

After a Fiji community was denied water for 11 days an NGO says it should never happen again

6:03 pm on 12 February 2004

Fiji's Human Rights commission is endeavouring to ensure that water is provided for all communities, as a basic human right.

Last week landowners had shut off the water supply for 11 days to people at Qelelevu village and a Hindu school near Ba, demanding money for its use.

But water supply was restored after an agreement with provincial authorities, the land owners and village leaders on Monday.

However money was not discussed as part of that agreement, and further talks are planned.

The Human Rights Commission Director, Dr Shaista Shameem, says denying people access to water must not happen again.

"What the commision has done is it has written a letter to the Native lands Trust Board and they have a fiduciary relationship also to the people living in the communities, and we have asked them to see to the matter immediately, we have written to the PublicWorks Department and explained to them what their obligations are with respect to water supply for all communities and we have also written to the Prime Minister."

Dr Shaista Shameem says she expects to have some results in the next few days.