Thursday, March 13, 2008

US report focuses on Military coup

Wednesday, March 12, 2008-www.radiofiji.com

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The US government has focused its human rights report for Fiji on the military coup of December 2006 and events that followed including alleged human rights abuses, impunity and corruption remained a problem in the country.

In the released report on countries human rights, the US government says that while the constitution prohibits arbitrary arrest and detention, but during the year military personnel detained numerous persons without warrants for interrogation and intimidation and, in some cases, brief incarceration.

In the report it states that although military personnel do not have arrest powers under the law, it says the military and the director of the Fiji Human Rights Commission had cited state of emergency proclamation and public order statutes as justification for the detentions.

On the role of the Police and Security Apparatus, the report says that the RFMF maintained that it has a broad constitutional responsibility for national security that also extends to domestic affairs and that many constitutional scholars in the country rejected that assertion.

The report further states that following the appointment of Commodore Esala Teleni as police commissioner in June last year, policing of more remote and smaller islands was done through regularly scheduled visits.

It says that Military personnel were assigned to accompany police patrols and jointly man roadblocks, blurring the lines of authority between the two forces.

According to the report, the interim government created a Fiji Independent Commission against Corruption with wide-ranging investigative powers.

And while, the commission undertook numerous investigations of public agencies and officials, including some members of the police force, some officers were removed from the force.

However, impunity and corruption remained problems.

In most cases, it claims the interim government took no action against military or police personnel alleged to have committed abuses against coup opponents and pro-democracy activists

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