27 May 2005

Fiji Human Rights Commission probes Reconciliation Bill

7:43 am on 27 May 2005

The Fiji Human Rights Commission has begun an investigation into the Qarase government's controversial Reconciliation and Unity Bill.

The Fiji Times quotes the deputy director of the Commission, Usaia Waqatairewa, as saying they have accepted that a complaint from four opposition MPs is within their jurisdiction.

Deputy opposition leader Poseci Bune, the United General Party leader Mick Beddoes, Ofa Swann of the New Labour Unity Party and Daniel Urai of Labour have filed the complaint to stop the government from introducing the Bill in parliament.

All four have asked the Human Rights Commission to determine if the Bill contravenes the constitutional rights of citizens and in particular the provisions of the Bill of Rights.

They say should the Commission find any violations of their rights in the matter, it should take appropriate action for redress on their behalf.

Mr Waqatairewa says in line with its normal procedure, the commission has first written to both the complainants and the government to see if they can resolve the dispute through negotiation before taking further steps.