11 May 2004

Fiji to set up parliamentary committe on human rights

3:42 pm on 11 May 2004

Fiji's prime minister and the Labour Party leader have agreed to the setting up of an ad hoc parliamentary committee to monitor human rights abuses, race relations and racial discrimination.

The agreement came at another round of so-called talanoa talks in Nadi yesterday chaired by the director of the Hawaii-based East West Centre, Dr Sitiveni Halapua.

The committee will be appointed at the next sitting of parliament in June and will examine a report on Fiji by the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

Laisenia Qarase and Mahendra Chaudhry also noted the role of the Fiji Human Rights Commission to advise, caution and warn the government on its obligations under the Constitution and the Human Rights Act.

A joint statement after the talks said the two agreed that it was the responsibility of the state to ensure that racial discrimination does not take place within its jurisdiction in the institutions of government and in the private sector.