13 Feb 2007

Fiji top human rights advocate says fewer abuse claims since coup

8:43 pm on 13 February 2007

Fiji's human rights commission has strongly criticised its commissioner and the Fiji women's crisis centre co-ordinator, Shamima Ali.

In a media release, the commission's director, Dr Shaista Shameem, condemns comments by Ms Ali that people are hesitant to lodge complaints with the commission after the military takeover last year.

The release says the number of complaints received during 2006-2007 was 18, three less than for the same period the previous year.

Ms Ali says this number does not seem to reflect events since the military takeover last December:

"We're going through a state of emergency and so on, of course anywhere we would expect figures to go up at this point in time. I do not believe that the figures that she is giving out actually matches what is in the media, leave alone hearsay, which we choose to ignore at this point in time."

Fiji human rights commissioner and the women's crisis centre co-ordinator, Shamima Ali.

The director of the commission, Dr Shaista Shameem, does not acknowledge Ms Ali as a commissioner in the release and says her claims are not supported by any statistics.