Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Shamima Ali backs new rights body

Activist backs new rights body
Last updated 5/27/2008

Human Rights Commissioner Shamima Ali has supported calls for a new human rights body.Ms Ali, though still a commissioner, said she did not work with the Fiji Human Rights Commission.“This is because of the way the FHRC is being led by Shaista Shameem who has totally compromised the integrity and interests of the FHRC,” she said.
She said the FHRC had failed to promote and protect the rights of the people of Fiji.
Ousted Vice President Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi had earlier revealed in New Zealand that there were moves in Fiji to form another human rights body.
However Ratu Joni did not say which bodies were behind the moves.
He said the Human Rights Council would be a civil society group that would perform some of the roles the Fiji Human Rights Commission had failed to fulfill.
However FHRC chairperson Dr Shaista Shameem said the FHRC had 20 landmark human rights cases successfully argued in court with a 100 per cent success rate.
“It is unlikely that our courts will entertain a Micky-Mouse type of human rights NGO like that he is suggesting which if it gets off the ground at all, will probably be funded by the usual suspects AUSAID, NZAID, EU and USAID, merely to try and compete with the FHRC and set themselves up as a copy cat organisation,” said Dr Shameem.
She said ordinary people in Fiji were represented by the Legal Aid Commission so the proposed new NGO would be unnecessary except as a political platform for the has-beens and disenchanted.
Other groups that have supported moves for a new human rights body are; the Young People Concerned Network, the Pacific Centre for Public Integrity and various political groups.

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