29 Nov 2018

NGO welcomes Fiji's accession to UN covenants

3:02 pm on 29 November 2018

Fiji NGO Coalition on Human Rights has welcomed the government's accession to two international covenants but says more needs to be done.

Nalini Singh, Chair of NGO Coalition for Human Rights in Fiji.

Nalini Singh, Chair of NGO Coalition for Human Rights in Fiji. Photo: Supplied/ Fiji Women’s Rights Movement

The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights came into effect in Fiji on November 16.

Coalition chair Nalini Singh said the move was a step in the right direction for Fiji.

But she said the question had to be asked if Fiji needed additional statutes for the covenants' intentions to apply in domestic law.

"Bits and pieces are enshrined in various documents, including our constitution, but we do need to see a holistic approach to this, rather than the piecemeal approaches that we have seen so far," Ms Singh said.

There are two more conventions Fiji should sign to make it a part of all major UN treaties, she said.

"We are hoping that with this momentum we will continue to work on the other international laws and treaties," Ms Singh said.

"The fact that Fiji is now sitting as a member of the Human Rights Council, we have to say that the accession to the two covenants should not be treated lightly and it should not be used to just champion Fiji on the global stage."

The Fiji Broadcasting Corporation noted Fiji had so far ratified all major UN treaties with the exception of the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families.