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NGOCHR Condemns Bullying Tactics On Fiji Citizens And The Continuous Violation Of Fundamental Human Rights

Press Release – NGO Coalition for Human Rights

The NGO Coalition on Human Rights calls for an end to harassment, arrests and detainment of Fiji citizens and reminds Government and its statutory bodies to uphold Fiji’s commitments to human rights The NGOCHR Condemns Bullying Tactics on Fiji Citizens …

The NGO Coalition on Human Rights calls for an end to harassment, arrests and detainment of Fiji citizens and reminds Government and its statutory bodies to uphold Fiji’s commitments to human rights

The NGOCHR Condemns Bullying Tactics on Fiji Citizens and the Continuous Violation of Fundamental Human Rights

1/04/2021

The NGO Coalition on Human Rights (NGOCHR) is deeply troubled about increasing reports of harassment, arrests and detainment of Fiji citizens who raise their concerns relating to government institutions and human rights violations through media and social media platforms.

The Coalition condemns these bullying tactics and reminds the government and its statutory arms of Fiji’s commitments towards the protection of human rights and upholding democratic values and principles.

The protection of freedom of speech and expression is enshrined in our Bill of Rights and while this includes exceptions where the freedoms can be limited by the State, we must still ensure that there is protection of our citizens’ fundamental rights and freedoms especially when citizens are expressing their concerns.

In the last Universal Periodic Review process (2019-2020), Fiji had accepted the recommendation by a member of the UN Human Rights Council to safeguard freedom of expression by ensuring that criminal and speech-related legislation are not used to suppress media, civil society, and opposition politicians’ criticism of the government. It is crucial that we put into practice the recommendations which we have accepted.

Fiji demonstrates itself as a leader in human rights globally yet the continued targeting of citizens in the country who criticise the work of government or its statutory bodies contradicts the democratic values we represent on the world stage. It is appalling that arbitrary arrests and detainment are still being undertaken despite the continued calls for a higher standard of conduct from relevant authorities.

The Coalition strongly believes that in a democratic society the role of citizens in voicing concerns and raising alarm on issues which affect them and others need to be nurtured rather than be curtailed. It is crucial to have different perspectives and voices in a rich and diverse society.

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