The Director of the Fiji Human Rights and Anti Discrimination Commission, Ashwin Raj says the US State Department’s 2020 Country Report on Human Rights Practices in Fiji contains factual inaccuracies and has a scant interpretation of the law while US Embassy’s Chargé d’Affaires to Fiji, Tony Greubel confirms that the report does not have the Fijian government’s response on human rights matters raised in the report.
When questioned by Fijivillage, Raj confirms that there was neither any stakeholder consultation in the formulation of the US report, nor any ethic of constructive engagement of the State Department on these human rights matters with the national human rights institution.
Raj confirms that he will be responding to the US State Department Report on Fiji in relation to not only factual inaccuracies and scant interpretation of the law but also the substantive human rights matters emanating from these inaccuracies and skewed interpretation of the law.
Greubel says a lot of the findings were based on media sources, police and government agencies and they will be having government to government negotiations.
He says they do human rights reports for every single country and it is a way of pointing out things they all can be doing better.
Greubel says they will be working with Fiji in addressing the issues that have been highlighted.
The US report says significant human rights issues in 2020 included : cases of cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment, in some cases leading to death; restrictions on free expression, such as substantial interference with the right of peaceful assembly; and trafficking in persons.
The US State Department Report says the Fijian government investigated some security force officials who committed abuses and prosecuted or punished officials who committed abuses elsewhere in the government; however, impunity was a problem in cases with political implications.
When questioned by Fijivillage on whether any talks have been held on the report with Fiji, Greubel they are yet to receive a response from the Fijian Government in regards to the recent report.
We have also asked the Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama on the government’s stand on the State Department Report on Fiji.
He is yet to comment.
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