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Human Rights Council – Universal Periodic Review

For use of information media; not an official record

Date: Thursday 11 February (morning)

Country under review: FIJI

Concerned country - national report

  • Represented by a 3-person delegation and headed by the permanent representative of the Fiji Islands to the European Union, H.E. Ambassador Peceli Vocea
  • National report presented by H.E. Ambassador Peceli Vocea

Highlights

  • Roadmap for Democracy and Sustainable Socio-Economic Development 2009-2014, aimed at drawing a new Constitution and leading to democratic elections by September 2014.
  • The Public Emergency Regulation places limits on the right to freedom of speech, expression, and press.
  • Criminalization of the act of Trafficking in Persons.
  • Efforts to eliminate abuse against children.
  • Established the Fiji Human Rights Commission but faced difficulties in staffing it due to travel sanctions and other restrictions imposed by some of Fiji’s neighbouring countries.

Interactive discussion

Number of States taking part in the interactive discussion

  • Member States: 18
  • Observer States: 13

Positive achievements

  • Efforts made to promote gender equality and empowerment of women.
  • Party to the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
  • Visit of the Special Rapporteur on the use of mercenaries.
  • Efforts to support vulnerable groups.

Issues and questions raised

  • Abrogation of the Constitution and introduction of the State of Emergency.
  • No elections since 2006 and until 2014.
  • Independence and dismissal of the judiciary.
  • Violence against and sexual abuse of women. 
  • Sexual abuse and exploitation of children.
  • Arbitrary detentions and harassment of human rights defenders.
  • Restrictions on freedom of expression and media censorship.
  • Torture and ill treatment of detainees.

Recommendations

  • Early and democratic elections.
  • New Constitution which entails broad protection of human rights and freedoms.
  • Establish a fully independent judiciary.
  • Lift all Public Emergency Regulations and restrictions to the freedom of expression, assembly and movement.
  • Combat and investigate attacks, harassment and detention of human rights activists and journalists.
  •  Investigate into allegations of brutality in detention.
  • Guarantee the right of freedom of religion or belief and take measures to protect all religious groups and minorities.
  • Ratify major international human rights treaties, including International Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention Against Torture.
  • Allow visits by Special Rapporteurs of the Human Rights Council.

Response of the concerned country

  • Early elections –Need first to establish proper platforms to ensure long term sustainable democratic governance.
  • Justice and Rule of Law - Administration of Justice Decree sets out criteria through which the judiciary is functioning independently. Legal Practitioners Decree regulates the practice and conduct of lawyers, as well as complaint procedures by the public against legal practitioners.
  • Sexual abuses and violence - Offences of rape, sexual assault, abduction, defilement of children or young persons, prostitution, genocide, and crimes against humanity criminalized under the Crimes Decree.
  • Abuses in detention and investigation – All cases have been dealt with by the courts.
  • Freedom of speech and expression – Only limited in the interest of national security, public safety and public order. Restrictions on media due to lack of balanced and responsible coverage.

Adoption of the report by the UPR working group scheduled on
Monday 15 February, 12:00 – 12:30

More information

Country under review (documents submitted): http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/UPR/PAGES/FJSession7.aspx

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