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HRADC will not be swayed to comment on USP Saga: Raj

February 25, 2021 6:00 am
Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commissioner Ashwin Raj.

Director for the Fiji Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission, Ashwin Raj says they will not be swayed into making hasty comments regarding the issues at the University of the South Pacific.

Raj says the Commission is conducting its investigations in accordance with their Act, adding it will not premise its statements on incomplete information.

Raj adds that the commission also continues to receive numerous complaints in regards to USP.

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He says the Commission has consciously refrained from making comments on the ongoing governance issues at the university as it’s been receiving complaints from aggrieved employees.

“They have talked about a climate of victimization, fear of reprisal of recrimination should they hold an alternative view. There have been serious concern that they have been coerced into signing petitions in favour of the Vice-Chancellor, they have also questioned the independence of the grievance processes and mechanisms saying the heads of unions are biased.”

With regards to the deportation of Professor Pal Ahluwalia and his wife, Raj says they have written to the Department of Immigration and the Fiji Police Force on the 4th of February.

“We had to write to relevant authorities, these authorities being the Department of Immigration and the Fiji Police Force, it is imperative that we hear from them. And we will only make a statement once we have heard from them. We have also written to Professor Pal Ahluwalia as well in relation to allegations of manhandling and so on that was also raised in his interview with international media.”

Raj adds the Commission will follow due process because of the institutional consequences of its work.

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