11 Jan 2012

Concern from OHCHR over Fiji's Public Order Act

5:03 pm on 11 January 2012

The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in the Pacific region has expressed concern over a number of provisions in Fiji's Public Order Amendment Decree.

The decree came into force on Friday, granting the interim government extended powers to maintain security and has been described as even more draconian than the Public Emergency Regulations which were lifted on Saturday.

The Office's representative says it looks as though the government has brought in the amendments in order to have more clear control over areas such as public meetings.

Matilda Bogner says the office is concerned with the broad discretion given to the police and the prime minister.

"We're also concerned around the use of force that the amendment brings in. It allows the police to use force to disperse meetings and it doesn't appear to comply with international human rights standards by placing necessary limits on that use of force."

However Matilda Bogner says the blanket provisions of the PER went beyond the amended Public Order Act and what's important now is to see how the amendments are used in practice.