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Parliamentary Privilege abused: Raj

December 1, 2016 6:01 pm

Stricter laws on the power and privileges of parliamentarians need to be implemented says the Fiji Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission.

Director, Ashwin Raj claims speeches or comments made in parliament should be further monitored.

While addressing the Parliamentary Standing Committee for Justice, Law and Human Rights on the Parliamentary Power and Privileges Bill 2016, Raj said while the current law allows parliamentarians to engage in robust debates – too often privilege is used to incite hatred within communities.

“The Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission is of argue that the parliamentary disciplinary processes are insufficient to stop parliamentarians from making hate speeches and insufficient to remedy the harm done to society as a whole. This is particularly so because of Fiji’s political and social history. If politicians are exempt from that then what kind of message is the parliament as an institution sending around section six of the constitution of the law and our right to be free from discrimination.”

The Fiji Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission says members of the public are charged under the Crime Decree for Hate Speech because it’s considered a criminal act, but MPs are pardoned under privilege – which he claims is an abuse.