Fiji bars human rights body from investigating complaints

May 20th, 2009 - 1:28 pm ICT by IANS  

Wellington, May 20 (DPA) Fiji’s military regime, which invoked emergency powers last month, has barred the country’s Human Rights Commission from investigating complaints, news reports from the capital Suva said Wednesday.
President Ratu Josefa Iloilo - who abolished the constitution April 10 and introduced emergency powers, including media censorship and bans on political meetings - introduced the Human Rights Commission Decree 2009, which prohibits the body from investigating any complaints about the 11 decrees he has issued under the emergency powers.

But the decree says the three members of the commission should educate the public on human rights, advise the state on matters affecting compliance with human rights and protect the human rights of everyone in Fiji, the Fiji Times newspaper reported.

One of the members, Shamima Ali, called the decree “shocking, a farce and a mockery”, Radio New Zealand International reported.

Ali said the decree was in total contradiction of itself. “On the one hand, it cannot investigate human rights abuses and the abrogation of the constitution, and on the other hand, three commissioners promote human rights in the country,” Ali said. “It really doesn’t make sense.”

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