12 Jan 2012

Fiji police seek to reassure NGOs about new public order powers

3:30 pm on 12 January 2012

A civil society group concerned about Fiji's new public order measures says police have tried to reassure NGO's they will not abuse their powers.

Senior police have held meetings to explain changes to the Public Order Act which have drawn criticism for giving police sweeping powers that cannot be legally challenged..

The Reverend Akuila Yabaki of the Citizens Constitutional Forum says it appears the authorities have fears related to the events of 2000 and his group aims to work to dispel them.

"While the Police Commissioner has been given powers to stop people or remove people from gatherings it is something they do not intend to use. They do not intend to go the extreme situation."

The Reverend Akuila Yabaki says his group will have to keep applying for permits to hold workshops aimed at educating Fiji people about human rights and good governance but he hopes there will be less red tape under the new rules.