9 Jan 2012

UN Human Rights Commissioner urges Fiji to meet basic standards

2:37 pm on 9 January 2012

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, says she welcomes the lifting of the Public Emergency Regulations in Fiji as a step in the right direction towards the full enjoyment of fundamental human rights in the country.

She says the emergency law seriously restricted the right to public assembly and freedom of expression, and gave the authorities broad powers of arrest and detention.

The High Commissioner has also noted the announcement that amendments have been made to the Public Order Act and says she hopes these amendments will be in line with international human rights norms and not in any way replicate the restrictions in the Public Emergency Regulations.

She expressed concern at recent developments in which critics of the Government have faced criminal charges, arbitrary detention or other forms of intimidation.

She says silencing criticism with such heavy-handed measures is in breach of international human rights standards.