6 Oct 2011

Fiji one of Commonwealth's 33 ghost human rights commissions

4:14 pm on 6 October 2011

The publisher of an article describing Fiji's Human Rights Commission as a ghost commission says there are 33 such bodies across the Commonwealth.

The article, published in a Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative newsletter, uses Sri Lanka and Fiji as examples of countries where the political environment makes it impossible for human rights commissions to perform their legislative duty.

The initiative's director, Maja Daruwala, ackowledges that while that means they can be used to advance a governmental agenda, outright condemnation isn't very useful.

"In one way they're a complete impediment. But on the other hand everybody also knows about them so it's not that you can hide, it's not that people don't know the difference between substance and effigy. So even to that extent in a sort of perverse sort of way they have a function."

The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative's director, Maja Daruwala.