By Netani Rika
THE public has a right to know why commissioners have not been appointed to oversee the Fiji Anti-Discrimination and Human Rights
Commission, says National Federation Party Leader, Dr Biman Prasad.
Speaking on World Albinism Day, Prasad said the Constitutional Offices Commission had made no appointments five weeks after the term of the last commissioners ended.
“Human rights standards apply to us all regardless of our external appearances,” Prasad said.
“Fiji received the UN Special Rapporteur on Albinism only last December and yet, a month after the contracts of the previous commission expired, the government does not see fit to appoint a new commission with the urgency that such appointments are required.
“This is a clear sign that human rights standards that are set by the oversight Commission, and certainly not the Director, are merely talking points and not a genuine priority of this government.”
Prasad said the need for independence and impartiality of the Fiji Anti-Discrimination and Human Rights Commission was highlighted last year by the UN Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, Mutuma Ruteere.
“Unless there is rapid movement on the appointment of a new Commission, all taxpayers are entitled to question how their taxes are being poured in the Fiji Anti-Discrimination and Human Rights Commission.
The Fiji Anti-Discrimination and Human Rights Commission is headed by Ashwin Raj who also heads the Media Industry Development Authority.
The Pacific and Central Asia share a peculiar similarity. They are the only locations not covered by a regional human rights mechanism, such as a human rights commission or court.A call for increased regional engagement on human rights has been rising from within the Pacific region, including the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders. In part, this is a response to the Pacific region having the lowest ratification rate of international human rights treaties. Somewhat understandable, given the obvious barriers faced by small islands states, including limited capacity and resources to implement treaty conditions and the ongoing burden of treaty reporting. The Pacific Islands Forum Leaders, through the Pacific Plan, have committed Forum Islands states to working together to ratify and implement international human rights conventions and meet reporting requirements. They have agreed to explore possible means for pooling resources and integrating legal institutions and legislative services. To this end, a working group has been mandated by the Forum Regional Security Council to investigate a possible regional human rights mechanism in the Pacific. In November, the Forum Secretariat, in partnership with the Secretariat of the Pacific Community......
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