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Everyone has a part to play in upholding human rights

June 2, 2020 6:49 am
Human Rights Commission Director Ashwin Raj

Fundamental rights and freedoms must be protected at all times.

Human Rights Commission Director Ashwin Raj says while the focus has been on law enforcement agencies to ensure they are following the law to the letter, there is also a collective responsibility by all Fijians.

Raj says given the suspension of some human rights in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s imperative that everyone is responsible.

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“It also means that citizens, ordinary Fijians have a part to play. They need to be responsible, they need to be you know observe the rule of law. They need to make sure that they are not necessarily putting themselves out there you know in harm’s way that not only exposes them to the risk of you know harm but also results in the diminution of rights and freedoms of other people. So you know at this point, in terms of the relationship between rule of law and human rights and all of that, everyone’s got a part to play.”

Raj says more than ever, Fijians need to be aware of their rights, its exercise and the responsibility to adhere to the restrictions in place in relation to the public health crisis.

He says, the Human Rights Commission has seen a surge in queries and complaints on alleged violations which they continue to investigate where evidence warrants further examination.

The Commission last month revealed that an investigation into an alleged case of assault of a 32 year old man found that excessive force was used by a group of police officers.

The incident of alleged assault noted that the man from Naqia Village in Wainibuka, Tailevu whilst being arrested was thrown off a bridge by the officers who were dressed in civilian clothing.

The commission report noted that the arrest by the police officers resulted in cruel, inhumane, degrading or disproportionately severe treatment.

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