Monday, March 02, 2009

US rights report on Fiji ‘fair’: Naidu - 02/03/2009

The United States’ negative report on Fiji’s human rights standards has got the nod from the president of the Fiji Law Society.

Despite criticisms of the report by the interim Government and the Fiji Human Rights Commission, FLS President Dorsami Naidu said the 2008 report is a fair analysis.

“My view is that the report is very fair and does not sensationalise anything. I also think that the comment made by the Interim Attorney General (Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum) regarding the report is laughable.”

Sayed-Khaiyum had rubbished the U.S State Department’s claim that the interim Government has interfered with the independence of the judiciary.

The report says that while the law provides for an independent judiciary, during 2008, the interim government interfered with judicial independence in practice, citing the suspension of the former Chief Justice Daniel Fatiaki.

The report highlighted, amongst other matters, the appointment of High Court judges to sit on the Appeal Court panel, and the prohibition of the International Bar Association delegation and UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges to visit the country to evaluate the independence of the judiciary.

Naidu said “I am not saying that the interim Government interfered with the judiciary. I will have to do my investigation on that, but if you look at what happened - the deportation of the Australian publishers, the way the stay was granted in the People’s Charter case - it is quite easy to assume that”

The Fiji Government is expected to issue a statement in response to the US report.

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