PRESS RELEASE: CSO meet UN High Commissioner on Human Rights
Twenty diverse civil society organisations from Fiji and the region together with the NGO Coalition on Human Rights (NGOCHR), met with the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights- Mr. Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein on Saturday 10th February. The CSO delegates were given the opportunity to raise issues of concern and highlight Fiji’s context on human rights with the High Commissioner on his country visit.
The meeting brought together diverse groups of CSOs working with people with disability, women’s human rights, LGBTQI rights, sex workers rights, climate and ecological rights, human peace and security and civic space.
“The opportunity to raise issues directly with the UN High Commissioner does not come often and all groups took this opportunity to highlight positive developments and ongoing issues of concern related to the full range of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights as well as the issues emerging from these in our current political context and Fiji's role in the region,” said NGOCHR Chair Nalini Singh.
CSO delegates raised issues regarding locally led solutions which included the collection of useful data to affect policy change which will help follow up on the implementation of the Universal Periodic Review and other treaty body recommendations.
NGOCHR would like to urge the Fiji government to adhere to the High Commissioner's call for Fiji to ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
"Having legislation in line with international covenants like the ICCPR and ICESCR will enable strengthened execution of the rights enshrined in Fiji's 2013 Constitution," said Ms. Singh.
"Freedom of expression and association and legislation that strengthen the access and the ability to exercise civil political rights is essential for a vibrant democracy- with 2018 being an election year it is crucial that Fiji considers the creation of an environment that enables Fijians to have free and fair elections."
There were also discussions on strengthening the legislative framework to achieve true separation of powers, ensuring that we have truly independent and transparent public institutions that promote and safeguard human rights and uphold the Constitution as the supreme law of the land.
The NGOCHR welcomes the remarks made by the High Commissioner during his press conference on protecting civil and political rights. This includes the protection of media freedom and recognising the need to promote women in leadership.
The NGO Coalition on Human Rights continues to advocate for universal human rights especially given that this year we commemorate 70 years of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
For further enquiries please contact Nalini Singh, 998 2221 or and Menka Goundan on 998 2283 or