Former Fiji Prime Minister Calls On Human Rights Commissioner To Step Down

Rabuka says Raj is out of compliance with the UN's Paris Principles on the independence of national human rights institutions

By Tevita Vuibau

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, April 7, 2017) – Social Democratic Liberal Party leader Sitiveni Rabuka has called for the resignation of Fiji Human Rights and Anti Discrimination Commission director Ashwin Raj, accusing him of being a co-oppressor of the people of Fiji.

In a statement yesterday, Mr Rabuka took issue with Mr Raj's suggestion that social media be policed, saying he should be concerned with the FHRADC's non-compliance with the UN's Paris Principles on the independence of national human rights institutions.

"This non-recognition by the UN perhaps explains why he becomes part of the official government delegation to the UN Human Rights meetings, when other accredited national human rights institutions attend as independent commissions," he said.

"His continued parroting of the government line is in breach of the Paris Principles and underscores why the FHRADC will struggle to gain UN recognition."

Mr Rabuka said censorship and curtailment of personal and political freedoms since the 2006 coup narrowed civic dialogue and civic engagement in Fiji.

"This directly resulted in the flourishing of blogs, alternative and social media, as the last frontier for free speech, thought, expression and opinion over the last eleven years since the 2006 coup."

But Mr Raj yesterday said he would continue to speak out against racism and other forms of discrimination unabashedly and without fear.

"Racism affects all Fijians. To stand up against racism is not to serve the FijiFirst agenda as the leader of SODELPA has intimated. There is no shame in speaking out against racism and other forms of discrimination. It is quite ironic that Mr Rabuka alludes to Paris Principles while in the same breath proceeds to admonish the national human rights commission for speaking out against racism," he said.

Fiji Times Online.
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