27 Jul 2004

Fiji woman on new world mercenary watchdog

4:05 pm on 27 July 2004

Fiji's human rights commissioner says she'll retain her position whilst carrying out another role - as a United Nations watchdog on mercenaries.

Doctor Shaista Shameem is the new UN special rapporteur with duties to report to the organisation's Commissioner of Human Rights on mercenary activities around the world.

Among those accused of being mercenaries are Fiji soldiers working as security guards in Iraq

Doctor Shameem sets that case apart because the soldiers are employed by a British firm - Global Risk Strategies.

"That does not necessarily mean that they would come under the scrutiny of the special rapporteur. The mercenary activity that I'm concerned with more is that which is used to destabilise democratic governments that are in place; and so it's really, mercenary activities that are used to impede the process of democracy and self-determination."

Doctor Shameem says she's particularly interested in cases where mercenaries seem to be trampling on human rights.

She says she doesn't see any conflict between the Fiji and UN roles.