6 Sep 2013

Amnesty says Fiji constitution lacking in human rights provisions

6:48 am on 6 September 2013

Amnesty International says Fiji's new constitution falls far short of international standards of human rights law and is another step backwards for human rights in Fiji.

The draft constitution goes to the president Ratu Epeli Nailatikau today for assent.

The executive director of Amnesty International in New Zealand, Grant Bayldon, says despite what the Fiji government claims, the new constitution weakens human rights protections.

He says it will uphold restrictions on freedom of speech, gives broad powers to detain people without trial while the immunity provisions allow the perpetrators of serious crimes to act with impunity.

"Really the foundations of democracy are around respect for basic human rights, a free press, the rule of law, freedom of expression - those things are essential and they need to be in Fiji's constitution for it to get back to a good place with its democracy."

Grant Bayldon.

Amnesty says it is extremely disappointed that the New Zealand government is willing to overlook the clause allowing immunity for coup perpetrators.