5 Jul 2011

Fiji regime accused of blocking human rights matters by decree

1:45 pm on 5 July 2011

A Fiji lawyer says ordinary people's right to go to court on human rights matters is being blocked by the interim regime's decrees.

The Fiji National Provident Fund and the Attorney General are being taken to court by David Burness, who says proposed changes to the pension are discriminatory.

The two government parties tried to have the application struck out, saying they were surprised the registry had accepted the application.

Mr Burness' lawyer, Shaista Shameem, says she too was surprised the matter even made it to court

"Our High Court is the court of original jurisdiction for human rights applications. But the solicitor general and the lawyer for the FNPF said these are not the processes to be followed, and in fact what they have done by decree over two years or so, they've actually managed to block access of the ordinary person to go on a human rights matter to the court, by putting these non-reviewable decrees in place."

Shaista Shameem says both parties have now been given seven days to make written submissions on the strike out application, and the case will be called again on July the 18th.

Radio New Zealand International understands Fiji media had planned to run this story today, but the censors blocked it.