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35+ years of activism & feminism in Fiji

Published

01 April 2021

Author

Fiji Women's Rights Movement

Themes

NGOCHR PR: NGOCHR Condemns Bullying Tactics on Fiji Citizens and the Continued Violation of Human Rights 1/04/2021

NGOCHR PR: NGOCHR Condemns Bullying Tactics on Fiji Citizens and the Continued Violation of Human Rights

01/04/2021

The NGO Coalition on Human Rights (NGOCHR) is deeply troubled about increasing reports of harassment, arrests and detainment of Fiji citizens who raise their concerns relating to government institutions and human rights violations through media and social media platforms.

The Coalition condemns these bullying tactics and reminds the government and its statutory arms of Fiji’s commitments towards the protection of human rights and upholding democratic values and principles.

The protection of freedom of speech and expression is enshrined in our Bill of Rights and while this includes exceptions where the freedoms can be limited by the State, we must still ensure that there is protection of our citizens’ fundamental rights and freedoms especially when citizens are expressing their concerns.

In the last Universal Periodic Review process (2019-2020), Fiji had accepted the recommendation by a member of the UN Human Rights Council to safeguard freedom of expression by ensuring that criminal and speech-related legislation are not used to suppress media, civil society, and opposition politicians’ criticism of the government. It is crucial that we put into practice the recommendations which we have accepted.

Fiji demonstrates itself as a leader in human rights globally yet the continued targeting of citizens in the country who criticise the work of government or its statutory bodies contradicts the democratic values we  represent on the world stage. It is appalling that arbitrary arrests and detainment are still being undertaken despite the continued calls for a higher standard of conduct from relevant authorities.

The Coalition strongly believes that in a democratic society the role of citizens in voicing concerns and raising alarm on issues which affect them and others need to be nurtured rather than be curtailed. It is crucial to have different perspectives and voices in a rich and diverse society.

Ends

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The Members of the NGOCHR include the Fiji Women's Crisis Centre (FWCC), Fiji Women's Rights Movement, Citizens Constitutional Forum (CCF), femLINKPacific, Social Empowerment and Education Program (SEEP), and Diverse Voices and Action (DIVA) for Equality Fiji. Pacific Network on Globalisation (PANG) and Haus of Khameleon (HoK) are observers.