Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Peceli Vocea Statement of Lies to the UN and the World on Fiji

Statement by Ambassador Peceli Vocea - 14th Session of the Human Rights Council





Mr. President

Distinguish Members of the United Nations Human Rights Council

Ladies and Gentlemen


It is indeed pleasant to be back in Geneva this time of the year, the warmth of the Swiss summer momentarily reminds us of home, certainly kinder, I must admit, than the snowflakes back in February. Mr. President I once again bring to you the greetings of the Government and the People of the Republic of Fiji.


Mr. President, you will recall that in February, we informed you that my Delegation needed to conduct consultations with all stakeholders in Fiji before we return to inform the Council of our responses to the 103 recommendations suggested. I am pleased to report that given the gravity of the recommendations received, a national consultation was convened to ascertain first, the views of NGOs and civil societies, in order to gain an alternative appreciation of how they perceive the recommendations and to state how they would or could assist Government in implementing some, if not all, of the suggested recommendations. Armed with the views and suggestions from the NGOs and civil societies, a further consultation was convened with all the relevant Government Ministries and Agencies which will be responsible on behalf of Government to implement the recommendations.

I consider it iniquitous if I don’t make a special mention here of the cooperative participation of two of Fiji’s prominent Women advocacy groups (the Fiji Women Rights Movement and the Fiji Women Crisis Center). You will recall that in February, the Fiji Government, given their important role relating to the betterment of Women, specifically singled out these two organisations and highlighted their refusal and non participation in the consultations leading up to and during the formulation of Fiji’s National Report. They did participate this time around and I wish to convey that the Government of Fiji has taken due note of their views.

The Recommendations

Mr. President

In assessing the content of the 103 Recommendations received, each of them could fall into one the following 22 broad classifications or categories:

1. Recommendations 1 to 7 called on Fiji to ratify the remaining Human Rights Conventions that are yet to be ratified by Fiji, which I would not list for the interest of time.

2. Recommendations 8 and 9 - Torture and Death Penalty under the military code;

3. Recommendations 10 Children Rights

4. Recommendations 11 to 21- Restoration of Constitutional Rule

5. Recommendations 22 -National Dialogue

6. Recommendations 23 to 26- Election

7. Recommendations 27 to 35- Lifting of the Public Emergency Regulations

8. Recommendations 36 to 43 - The Fiji Human Rights Commission

9. Recommendations 44- 47-Cooperation with Human Rights Mechanisms and Special Procedures

10. Recommendations 48 to 55- Requests for Visit of Special Rapportuers on Torture, on Independence of Judges and Lawyers, and on Women;

11. Recommendation 56 -Code of Ethic for Investors;

12. Recommendations 57 to 59 -Call for general abolition of Death Penalty;

13. Recommendations 60 and 61 - Protection of Human Rights Defenders;

14. Recommendations 62 to 65- Investigation into Human Rights Violations;

15. Recommendations 66 to 70 -Sexual Offences;

16. Recommendations 71 and 72- Religious Rights;

17. Recommendations 73 and 74 -Freedom of Expression;

18. Recommendations 75 to 86 -Media Freedom;

19. Recommendations 87 to 95 - Independence of Judiciary and Fair Trial;

20. Recommendations 96 to 99 -Poverty Alleviation;

21. Recommendation 100- The Fiji Roadmap, and finally;

22. Recommendations 101 to 103 - Capacity Building.

The Response

Mr. President,

Being mindful of the gravity and seriousness of the recommendations offered by fellow Member States, appreciative of the support promised by NGOs and Civil Societies back home and cognisant of the advice rendered by relevant Government stakeholders who will ultimately be bestowed the task of implementing the obligations required, I am happy to say here that of the 103 recommendations, the Fiji Government has accepted 97 of them or 94 percent if you like, while 6 recommendations are either unacceptable or impractical to Government. The following are Fiji’s official responses to the recommendations:

In relation to Recommendations 1 to 7 on Ratification and Recommendation 9 on Alignment of national legislations, the Republic of Fiji deems it to be her obligation to ensure that it ratifies all core Human Rights convention to ensure the safeguarding of the Rights of its Citizens. However, it must be clarified that certain pertinent factors must be assessed first before ratification to ensure that it meaningfully participates and fulfills all obligations required of it. Therefore, the Republic of Fiji has set for itself a timeframe of 10 years wherein it will endeavor all it can to implement all Core Human Rights Conventions.

In relation to Recommendation (Abolition of death Penalty in the Military Code), I will convey that Fiji has removed the Death Penalty of its Criminal Code. Whether to abolish the same from the Military Code is a matter currently under consideration. I wish to add that this death penalty under the military code has never been exercised in the past.

Fiji finds Recommendation 10 acceptable.

On Recommendation 11, on the restoration of Constitutional Rule, I am to convey that Fiji finds this recommendation acceptable. However, for avoidance of ambiguity, I will make this clarification; Fiji has set for itself a timeframe for return to Parliamentary Rule. Under the Roadmap for Democracy and Sustainable Economic Development Framework, Fiji will hold elections in 2014. There is no negotiation on this timeframe and Government is committed to fulfill all its reform agenda leading up to 2014 and would therefore request the cooperation of the International Community towards this end.

On Recommendation 12, Fiji accepts the recommendation and convey that it is endeavoring all it can to uphold and respect the Rule of Law. However, Mr. President, let me say in no uncertain terms, that Government is not considering reinstating the 1997 Constitution as further suggested.

With due respect, Fiji finds both Recommendations 13 and 14 Impractical. Fiji’s Parliament is scheduled to be reconvened following the General Elections in 2014 as stipulated in the Roadmap. A call for elections in 2010 is impractical. Fiji also has a legitimate authority in Government under a new Legal Order and Government has total and effective control of the country, which continues to guarantee and protect the rights of its citizens, and will not reinstitute the abrogated authority.

Fiji accepts Recommendation 15 and 16.

Recommendation 17 is impractical. Government through the enactments of various Decrees has endeavored to ensure the protection of human rights in domestic Laws. However, Fiji will not be reinstating the 1997 Constitution nor the judges and other judicial officers that were removed by the President in April, 2009.

Mr. President

Recommendations 18 to 23 are also acceptable. Again, let me add that Fiji’s Roadmap for Democracy and Sustainable Economic Development dictates the sequencing of events and reform agenda for Government with 2014 earmarked as the year for elections and return to parliamentary rule.

Fiji considers the suggestion in Recommendation 24, for an election to be held before the end of 2010, with the deepest of respect, impractical.

Recommendation 25 is acceptable, and Fiji is committed in accordance with its Roadmap to holding democratic elections and returning Fiji to constitutional rule. The same applies for Recommendation 26.

The calls for the lifting of the Public Emergency Regulations are contained in Recommendations 27 to 35. I am please to convey that Fiji generally accepts the content and intent of each of these recommendations. The Government of Fiji in February this year has pronounced that it will lift the Public Emergency Regulation as soon as the Fiji Media Decree is promulgated. By way of an update, I am to report that consultations on the new Media Decree has been completed, a new text, which has taken into account suggestions received has been drafted and the new Law is now awaiting Cabinet’s endorsement.

Mr. President, Fiji finds Recommendation 36 “Unacceptable” and it will not revoke the Fiji Human Rights Decree as it is the only legislation in existence that ensures by law the continued existence of the Fiji Human Rights Commission. Government is committed to implement the Human Rights Decree and to fill vacancies that continue to exist mainly due to travel restrictions currently imposed by a few of Fiji’s neighbors.

Recommendations 37 to 43 are all acceptable.

Mr. President

Recommendations 44 to 54 deal with visits of Special Rapporteurs. Fiji accepts and welcomes these, and will cooperate fully with any Rapporteur wishing to visit Fiji. I wish to clarify that Fiji prefers to receive requests prior to such visits.

Recommendations 51 to 61 are all acceptable though I will clarify again that Recommendations 57 to 59 must be read in conjunction to our response in Recommendation 8.

While Recommendations 62 to 82 are all acceptable, and I wish to add that any investigation cannot proceed unless an official complaint has been received by the relevant authority. Recommendation 83 is acceptable.

Recommendations 84 to 89 deal generally with the Judiciary. Fiji accepts all these recommendations, but I wish to convey that Fiji has an independent and well functioning Judiciary and therefore, the reinstatement of judges, magistrates and other judicial officers removed in April 2009 will not be necessary, and I say this in direct response to Recommendation 89.

Recommendation 90 is not acceptable, for political, administrative and security reasons.

Recommendation 91 to 103 are all acceptable, though I reiterate that on Recommendation 93, Government will only act upon receipt of official complaints.

General Observations.

Mr President, as for general observations and remarks, I must say that the Fiji Government supported from its inception the establishment of the Human Rights Council. It saw then the usefulness of the processes it promised to adopt which includes inter alia, providing an opportunity for all States to declare what actions they have taken to improve the human rights situations in their countries, identifying and addressing the challenges to the enjoyment of human rights and sharing information and good practices on how to overcome violations wherever it occurs.

The Government of Fiji continues to believe that from such an approach and perspective, the sovereignty of a State under review will be respected, that the culture and idiosyncrasies of the people of the State will be respected, that the stage of socio-economic and political development and constrains of the State under review will be recognised and understood. Mr President, it is also from this perspective the Fiji Government feels that progress on all fronts of human rights can be achieved and achieved effectively. And also from this perspective, we are happy and honored to have appeared before this august body to participate interactively in this valuable exercise.

Fiji’s Situation

Needless to say, that Fiji is a very young nation, and is in a period of political transition where lasting home grown solutions to our challenges can only be understood, if one spends enough time to understand Fiji and its history. Also, a better appreciation of Fiji and its history can certainly be an effective vehicle for marshalling wider support to address more urgent and pressing social human rights issues, which on many instances tend to be placed on the back-burner, or completely ignored when discussing human rights issues of a member State, and I refer to such rights as the right of a child to have access to quality education, proper medical care services and proper infrastructure, to name a few. Effectively addressing these social human rights issues will go a long way to creating a lasting, stable and healthy democratic environment, in my view. The converse to this last statement may be true for some countries.

Let me add that the political landscape in Fiji has significantly changed from April last year after the abrogation of the Constitution and Fiji is now being governed under a New Legal Order. I reiterate that Government has total and effective control of the country. This is the reality of the situation in Fiji which needs to be understood to assist Government’s efforts in putting in place necessary legal instruments and vital processes necessary to holding of fair and truly democratic elections, by 2014 as mandated by His Excellency, the President of Fiji.

Salutations and Conclusion

Mr President, lastly I wish to thank our local NGOs and civil societies that cooperated and participated in this valuable exercise. I sincerely believe that their efforts will be truly rewarded by the high standards of human rights situation that is acceptable to the people of Fiji, in the future.

Mr. President Thank you for your time, it has been my honour

Comments posted on Matavuvale.com

  • As long as this is the mouthpiece of an illegal regime no one should ever take them for real because it is all based on lies. Regardless, Peceli we demand election then we could discuss human issues as this is a wasted effort in that you're helping your boss to mislead the UN to get money from IMF. It will never happen.

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