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A-G highlights socioeconomic rights

Repeka Nasiko
Tuesday, November 28, 2017

CIVIL and political rights have been infringed because of a lack of socioeconomic rights, says Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

While opening the Regional Training Workshop on Economics, Social and Cultural Rights and Human Rights Indicators in Denarau yesterday, he said Fiji's 1987 and 2000 coups were a result of people's inability to access basic socioeconomic rights.

"Indeed, as we have argued this previously, sometimes we have civil, political rights being infringed but the reason for the infringement is the lack of socioeconomic rights," he said.

"When people don't have access to food, water and shelter, those very basic rights such as health. These things can be seen in other countries. It was just not about a political uprising, it was about a huge chunk of the population in many of those countries being marginalised from the main economic activity of those countries.

"That of course manifested itself in a political uprising.

"In Fiji, we've had disruptions to Government in 1987 and in 2000. If you see the genesis of that and if you look at why these things have happened it's because of people's inability to access very basic socioeconomic rights."

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said people fought for access to those fundamental socioeconomic privileges that others may have had. "Of course in some countries, you see they take another approach where you see there is a huge focus on socioeconomic rights but not necessarily on civil and political rights. So we need to understand that these need to be equally applied."

He said it was vital that the application of the international laws related to socioeconomic rights were implemented at a national level. "It is very important to understand the application of rights, in particular in this instance socioeconomic and cultural rights need to actually be mainstreamed to our policies because they actually provide longevity and durability of the policies.

"It actually makes good economic sense to be able to do that."

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