27 Aug 2008

Fiji's human rights commission inconclusive about Australia's 2006 helicopter flights

3:50 pm on 27 August 2008

The director of the Fiji human rights commission, Dr Shaista Shameem, says it is now up to the interim government to take action against the Australian Defence Force over possible air space violations.

Dr Shameem says the Australian Defence Force's inquiry into a fatal helicopter crash off Fiji in November 2006 shows a breach of Fiji's aviation law.

"The Australian report has revealed unexpectedly that in fact these helicopters were actually flying in an area within the Vanua sector, which is Fiji's airspace, without letting the air traffic control know that."

However, Dr Shaista Shameem says the government would need to work out whether the ships were in Fiji or international waters, and whether the helicopters were in Fiji airspace.

There has been no Australian reaction to the Fiji Human Rights Commission's analysis.