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Raj responds to question on autonomy by UN Commissioner

February 20, 2018 7:44 pm

The Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commissioner Ashwin Raj has welcomed the comments by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra ád Al Hussein as a testament to the strength of Fiji’s democracy.

On the issue of whether the commission is a truly autonomous body, Raj says the 2013 Constitution ensures that it is.

“All of the constitutional provisions that ensure that the Commission enjoys you know administrative autonomy but also in its capacity to dispense with its constitutional responsibilities around its investigations, being able to litigate and monitor its compliance.”

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Raj added that the Commission’s caseload is a further testament to their independence, highlighting a number of examples.

“Whether it be people who’ve been subjected to hate speeches on any of the prohibited grounds, on race, religion and sexual orientation. I think these are the people that are better suited to talk about the effectiveness of the Commission because these are the people that have sort the assistance of the Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission at a time when they’ve had no access to any of the other institutions.”

Al Hussein in his preliminary statement at the conclusion of his official visit last week urged the government to ensure that its independent institutions are truly autonomous in its finances, administration and membership.

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