15 Sep 2005

Fiji Human Rights Commission cites government entities denying information

6:18 am on 15 September 2005

The Fiji Human Rights Commission has cited seven state entities for refusing to provide information for investigations into the government's affirmative action programmes.

Fiji TV says the commission has given the entities 14 days to provide the information or face due process under the commission's legal powers.

The information is needed to determine if there has been any breach of human rights under the Qarase government's affirmative action programme or Blueprint for Indigenous Fijians.

The seven entities are the ministries of health, regional development and works, the prisons department, the public service commission, the military and the public rentals board.

The director of the Human Rights Commission, Dr Shaista Shameem, says despite numerous requests these state entities have simply refused to provide the required information but the Commission has powers to compel them to do so.

Dr Shameem says the Commission has received a number of complaints from organisations, people and the media that need investigation.

She says there's widespread public interest in the issue so it is the Commission's duty to clarify the legal basis for affirmative action.