14 Feb 2007

Fiji Human Rights Commission says people have no fear to report alleged abuses

8:10 pm on 14 February 2007

The Fiji Human Rights Commission says it doesn't believe that aggrieved individuals hesitate to lodge complaints about alleged abuses because of last December's military coup.

The Commission says it has received 18 complaints in the past three months which is fewer than in the same period a year ago.

Members of the military have reportedly assaulted some advocates of democracy and the rule of law as part of the army's self-styled clean-up campaign.

The Director of the Commission, Dr Shaista Shameem, says many of the complaints have come from she calls society people and full-time professional activists funded by NZAID and AusAID.

"The attorney-general has mentioned that all human rights abuse and all human rights violations and allegations will be looked into. We think people are actually quite open to lodging a complaint."

Dr Shameem also says the military has put itself in a position of assisting the police.

She says in a bid to address the alleged offending authorities under the current state of emergency, the Commission uses the attorney-general's office as facilitators.