12 Sep 2013

Fiji human rights groups not consulted on latest NZ move

7:34 pm on 12 September 2013

The Chair of the Coalition for Human Rights in Fiji Shamima Ali says New Zealand did not consult human rights groups before easing sanctions on Fiji.

New Zealand has formally lifted sporting sanctions, reinstated scholarships and announced more assistance for elections, to reward Fiji for progress towards polls promised for next year.

Ms Ali says Thursday's announcement was disappointing because nothing has changed in Fiji.

"There is no freedom of expression as was demonstrated very clearly, publicly last week when a group of young people were arrested by police and taken to CID headquarters for standing and saying that we don't like the constitution and wanting democracy and rule of law. On a daily basis there is no freedom of the media. There is self-censorship."

Shamima Ali says human rights groups are wondering about the New Zealand government's stance on human rights given many groups around the Pacific have had their funding cut.