16 Oct 2006

New Zealand law study has little relevance in wider Pacific - Fiji human rights advocate

6:50 pm on 16 October 2006

A human rights lawyer in Fiji, Shaista Shameem, says a study by the New Zealand law commission may not carry much weight in the region.

Dr Shaista Shameem, the director of the Fiji Human Rights Commission, says the study makes a number of assumptions about Pacific custom from a New Zealand perspective.

The Law Commission study is called "Converging Currents: Customs and Human Rights in the Pacific", and looks at how human rights and Pacific customs might converge in a legal academic framework.

Dr Shameem who had made recommendations to the draft study, says New Zealand will probably benefit from it the most.

"Mainly because its constitutional that the role of human rights is already in the supreme documents in the Pacific Island states. So it may be more beneficial in New Zealand where there is a lot of emphasis on custom and the laws that may prevail in the country whereas in the Pacific Island countries you will always find this balance."

Dr Shaista Shameem.