22 Feb 2013

Analysis finds Fiji party decree violates international conventions

3:22 pm on 22 February 2013

A study by international lawyers of Fiji's Political Parties Decree has found it to be extreme compared to electoral provisions applied in democracies and in parts unprecedented in global practice.

The International Senior Lawyers Project says banning civil society leaders, such as trade unionists, from party membership manifestly breaches Fiji's obligations under the ILO Convention.

The New York-based group says in-depth research has failed to identify a single country that has such rules.

It says the decree's provision allowing anybody access to a party's records is in breach of the right to privacy under the UN Human Rights regime.

It describes Fiji as an outlier by international comparison in for example how it criminalises political finance offences.

The report says the way parties are being made to wind up violates the international right to property.

It concludes that should democratic rule be restored in Fiji, affected parties might claim compensation, restitution and damages.

The report was compiled before the regime this week tightened the decree, by among others banning parties from using acronyms.