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Fiji Time: 6:31 AM on Thursday 21 August

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PCPI questions FHRC director's motives

1450 FJT
Thursday, January 04, 2007

Update: 2.50pm The Pacific Centre for Public Integrity (PCPI) has questioned the motives of the Fiji Human Rights Commission and its timing in releasing a report that "justifies" the 2006 military takeover and casts doubt on elections held last April.

In doing so, PCPI executive director Angie Heffernan has also questioned whether the report was sanctioned by other FHRC commissioners or director Dr Shaista Shameems personal views.

"Given the nature of the concerns and allegations made by the Director, why was this

report not made public prior to the 2006 Elections, or even after?," Ms Heffernan said.

"PCPI is of the view that the Director had not only compromised the FHRC, but that of the office of the Director itself, and that their calls for her suspension still stands.

"PCPI has challenged the FHRC Director to publicly explain her relationship with the military, stating that the appointment of Rodney Acraman as acting Chairman of the FHRC was done under suspicious and questionable circumstances."

She added that in 2000 the Fiji Human Rights Commission mounted a successful legal challenge which resulted in the reinstatement of the 1997 Constitution.

"PCPI challenges the Director to explain why given the nature of her concerns regarding the legality of the SDL Government, that they had not taken legal action against the SDL government prior to elections and even after the elections?," Ms Heffernan said.

"Finally PCPI says that it is unfortunate and unprofessional of the Director to use the FHRC institution to conduct a personal attack on Fiji Human Rights and Governance NGOs, whose national, regional and international integrity and reputation are well respected and established."


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