12 Mar 2007

NZAID and Fiji human rights body in spat over booklet for Fiji police and military

8:27 pm on 12 March 2007

The Fiji human rights commission has taken issue with the New Zealand aid agency, NZAID, after it called for a booklet it helped fund to be withdrawn.

NZAID is unhappy with the commission's new version of its national security and human rights handbook for the disciplined services in Fiji, on the grounds that it implies recognition of the coup last December.

A statement from NZAID says the new edition contains new elements and guidance that implied recognition of the coup and of the validity of the interim government, which is not an interpretation that the New Zealand government supports, accepts or endorses.

But the commission's acting chairperson, Rodney Acraman, says NZAID had not given it a hearing before publicly condemning the revised version and demanding its withdrawal.

The commission claims it had kept to the terms of the original proposal and contract with NZAID..

The handbook was first published in 2004, reprinted in 2005, and the latest version was printed last month in pocket book form.