23 Mar 2010

US report on Fiji triggers mixed response

2:17 pm on 23 March 2010

Fiji's Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, has described the US State Department report on Human Rights for Fiji as light weight.

The annual snapshot outlines the situation in a number of areas including the judiciary, where it speaks about difficulties in replacing sacked judges, possible lack of experience and the dismissal of judges who questioned current processes.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum is quoted by the news site Fiji Village as saying the report lacks objectivity.

But the President of the Fiji Law Society, Dorsami Naidu, says there is plenty of information available to make assessments and such criticism is not valid:

"I don't think it hold true here and in a lot of other cases, that is a lame excuse regime which trample on human rights and the independence of the judiciary always bring up."

The report notes the administration has prohibited a delegation from the International Bar Association and the UN special rapporteur on the independence of judges from visiting Fiji to evaluate the independence of the judiciary.

Mr Naidu says he does not believe a report such as this will serve as an encouragement to the interim regime to allow international assessment of the so-called new legal order.