6 Nov 2014

Watchdog hopes for action after Fiji's 'rhetoric' at UN

12:35 pm on 6 November 2014

A human rights watchdog says there is a big gap between the rhetoric Fiji presented in Geneva and the reality on the ground in Fiji.

Fiji's delegation in Geneva

Fiji's delegation in Geneva Photo: Supplied

A high-powered government delegation defended the country's human rights situation at the United Nations Human Rights Council last week but is considering recommendations including ratifying key international human rights conventions.

But Human Rights Watch says Fiji appeared reluctant to ratify the conventions and address serious concerns about freedom of expression, association and assembly which were raised by countries as varied as Japan and Canada.

The group's deputy Asia director, Phil Robertson, says Fiji needs to prove to the world it is serious about turning the corner on human rights.

"This is an important start and I hope that when Fiji comes back in March that they'll be in a position to accept many of those recommendations and actually go forward with issuing a standing invitation to the UN Special Rapporteur to visit Fiji or to ratify some of these major human rights conventions that they still have left out there."