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'Inhumane treatment'

Salaseini Moceiwai
Wednesday, April 09, 2014

RESTAURANT owners in Labasa have been reminded that chasing beggars and mentally challenged people away from their premises was inhumane.

The reminder follows concerns raised by members of the public about how some owners had barred such people from entering or having their meals in their premises.

Fiji Human Rights Commission officer in charge Rajinesh Mishra said while they were unaware of the issue, he said such treatment was inhumane.

"This treatment is cruel and inhumane in the case of a paying customer who may be mentally challenged or even be a beggar," Mr Mishra said.

"Section 25 3 (a) of the 2013 Constitution clearly states that a person must not be unfairly discriminated against directly or indirectly on the grounds of his or her actual or supposed personal characteristics or circumstances, including race, culture, ethnic or social origin, colour or place of origin, sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, birth, primary language, economic or social or health status, disability, age, religion, conscience, marital status or pregnancy.

"However, if a person enters the premises with the sole intention of begging, it may be seen a privacy issue for the customers. It becomes the responsibility of the service provider to provide privacy and security for his customers."

Divisional Police Commander North SSP Naulumatua Lutunacaucau said it was only proper for owners to at least treat such people with some form of courtesy.

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