2 Apr 2007

Fiji Human Rights Commission suspended from international body

2:04 pm on 2 April 2007

The Fiji Human Rights Commission has been suspended from the international body which oversees human rights organisations following a review which found it lacked both credibility and independence.

The International Co-ordinating Committee, the ICC, undertook the review after the Fiji Commission released a statement in early January supporting the actions of the military in its takeover.

The ICC investigated their compliance with international human rights standards, particularly in regard to its independence.

The director of the Asia Pacific Forum of National Human Rights Institutions, Kieren Fitzpatrick, says the suspension will have an impact.

"Essentially it will restrict the Fiji Human Rights Commission's credibility internationally. It won't have any rights to be able to speak to U.N. related bodies. They've been removed during this period of suspension."

Mr Fitzpatrick says the Fiji Human Rights Commission has informed him that it has resigned from the I.C.C. although it had been given until October to respond to the concerns.

He also says the Commission has agreed to the Asia Pacific Forum reviewing its operation but wants to negotiate terms of reference and who will be on the review team.