12 Mar 2013

Hollow ring to Fiji government's human rights commitments says NGO

12:42 pm on 12 March 2013

Fiji's Citizens Constitutional Forum says government reaction to last week's beatings video shows there's a hollow ring to its stated commitment to uphold human rights in the country.

The video which went viral last week shows two men being beaten and Fiji police say they understand them to be recaptured prisoners.

The Forum's head, the Reverend Akuila Yabaki, says Fiji has a six-year long history of serious human rights violations by security forces, including the deaths of captured prisoners and brutality against human rights activists.

He says the announcement of a police investigation into the video raised people's expectations, and it's saddening to hear Prime Minister Commodore Bainimarama say he will stick by his men and anyone named in the enquiry.

"In making that statement he condones the violation of human rights and undermines the powers of the institution of the rule of law and justice in Fiji."

The Reverend Yabaki says with Fiji due for a UN review of its human rights scorecard next year, the government should allow the UN's Special Rapporteur on Human Rights into the country to assess its performance.