The Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission has been readmitted to the Commonwealth Forum of National Human Rights Institutions after a lapse of 15 years.
Members of the Forum voted overwhelmingly in support of the Commission’s application at its annual general meeting on Monday 7th March.
Commission Director Ashwin Raj says having lost its accredited status as well as membership of forums such as the Commonwealth Forum of National Human Rights Institutions in 2007, the Commission has operated in a state of inertia with little support or engagement with the international community.
Raj further says since 2016, the Commission has worked closely with the Asia-Pacific Forum of National Human Rights Institutions, the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions, UN agencies and other development partners in strengthening its institutional capacity and ensuring compliance with the Paris Principles.
He adds in June 2021, the Commission regained its status as an accredited national human rights institution with the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions.
Raj highlighted that the outcome of the accreditation illustrates that the Commission is functioning independently in practice and is discharging the full breadth of its mandate to promote and protect human rights across Fiji.
He says the Commission will continue to strengthen its policies and guidelines to ensure compliance with the requirements set under the Paris Principles.
The Commonwealth Forum of National Human Rights Institutions is a network of National Human Rights Institutions, ombudsmen, and public defenders that works to ensure the rights of the Commonwealth’s 2.4 billion citizens are respected, protected, and enjoyed.
Raj says membership of the Commonwealth Forum of National Human Rights Institutions will create the conditions of possibility for constructive engagement with fellow national human rights institutions on some of the most intractable human rights challenges confronting the world today.
Raj has also worked with the Commonwealth Secretariat as a member of the Standing Group of Independent Experts on the Commonwealth Principles on freedom of expression and the role of media in good governance.
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