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Fiji Commission’s leadership team charts path ahead

Graphic: Participants in the APF High Level Dialogue

The APF recently hosted a High Level Dialogue for members and senior staff of the Fiji Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission.

The leadership team of the Fiji Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission has taken part in a two-day workshop to clarify their responsibilities as Commissioners and to discuss their individual and collective goals for the coming three years.

The APF High Level Dialogue was also an opportunity for the Chairperson, Commissioners and senior staff to discuss the unique role and mandate of national human rights institutions (NHRIs), as well as the international standards that underpin these institutions.

Maiava Iulai Toma, the Ombudsman of Samoa, described his experience leading a national human rights institution in a Pacific Island country.

The Ombudsman highlighted the importance of engaging with both the State – including the government, parliament, judiciary and police – and the community in order to promote and protect fundamental rights.

He also stressed the essential requirement that NHRIs be impartial and independent from government.

Catherine Phuong, Acting Regional Representative with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), described the importance of NHRIs sharing information and expertise with the international human rights system, including the Universal Periodic Review process, the human rights treaty bodies and the special procedures.

This was especially topical with the visit to Fiji by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to education, Kishore Singh, in early December 2015.

In addition, the Commissioners met with key civil society organisations to listen to their perspectives on the human rights situation in the country.

During the High Level Dialogue, the Commission's leadership team signalled its clear intention to tackle those human rights issues that have been identified in community discussions as the most pressing, including domestic violence, the rights of children, misuse of force by police and inadequate delivery of state services.

The APF will continue to support the Fiji Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission as it begins its important work.

The Commission's leadership team, headed by Justice Mohammed Ajmerr, was appointed in May 2015. The other Commission members include NGO advocate Sashi Kiran; lawyer and company director Faiz Khan; social worker Selina Lee-Wah; and media commentator and youth development volunteer Peceli Rokotuivuna.

Date: 18 December 2015

Image credits

  1. Participants in the APF High Level Dialogue - Sangji Lee/OHCHR