30 Oct 2014

Fiji urged to ratify treaties

7:02 am on 30 October 2014

Fiji has been urged to ratify several international human rights conventions.

The country is undergoing its second appraisal under the Universal Periodic Review Process of the UN Human Rights Council.

Most countries speaking at a council meeting in Geneva overnight commended Fiji for steps taken since 2010 including holding elections and bringing in a new constitution.

But many also said it should make it a priority to ratify treaties like the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention Against Torture.

Several, including Germany, called for the repeal of decrees which restricted freedom of expression, association and assembly.

"Germany recommends bringing legislation on freedom of expression, assembly and association in line with international human rights standards in particular by repealing the Media Industry Development Decree 2010 in order to end intimidation and harrassment of those that expressed criticism of the state."

Germany's delegate was among 56 country representatives who spoke on Fiji, which is among 14 countries being reviewed in the current session of the Council.

The Fiji delegation which attended the meeting defended Fiji's record and said it was trying to address cultural attitudes in cases of violence against women and torture during interrogation by security forces.