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​APF strengthens links with Fiji's rights body

Graphic: Ashwin Raj and Gitanjli Pillay from Fiji's NHRI visit the APF secretariat

Representatives from Fiji’s NHRI recently met with the APF secretariat to discuss areas for collaboration and support.

The APF and Fiji's Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission will explore further opportunities for collaboration to support the Commission and its vital work. The APF has been instrumental in assisting the HRADC with the formulation of the Commission's three year Strategic Plan as well as its Annual Corporate Plan.

Ashwin Raj, the Commission's Executive Director, and Gitanjli Pillay, the Commission's Complaints Manager, met with the APF secretariat in Sydney on 21 July 2017.

As well as exploring areas for cooperation, the discussions also focused on the Commission's current work priorities, including its efforts to promote and protect the rights of marginalised communities.

As part of their visit to Sydney, Mr Raj and Ms Pillay took part in a training program on mediation by the Australian Dispute Resolution Centre. The objective of the course was to provide a comprehensive foundation on the practice, uses and applications of mediation.

The program covered a range of practical strategies to strengthen the Commission's work at each stage of its complaint handling process.

Last year the Commission received a total of 73 complaints of discrimination on prohibited grounds under the Constitution, as well as other violations of fundamental human rights and freedoms guaranteed under the Constitution.

The largest area of complaints received by the Commission involved freedom from cruel and degrading treatment, followed by access to courts and tribunals and rights of accused persons, Mr Raj said.

As part of its constitutional mandate, the Commission investigates complaints that fall within its jurisdiction and attempts to resolve them by mediation.

The Commission can also launch its own investigations into matters where violations of human rights are alleged to have occurred, as well as institute legal proceedings.

Date: 31 July 2017

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  1. Ashwin Raj and Gitanjli Pillay from Fiji's NHRI visit the APF secretariat - APF