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Listen to criticism

Selwa Nandan,Lautoka
Monday, February 26, 2018

I REFER to the comments from the Director of Fiji Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission (FHRADC) and Supervisor of Elections in response to the statements made by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights where he questioned the autonomy of independent institutions such as the Constitutional Offices Commission, Fijian Elections Office and FHRADC. I cannot agree that a person of his stature would make such claims without any substance nor would allow himself to be influenced by the views of the others.

I believe instead of condemning such criticism we should consider it with an open mind and take the opportunity to look inward to reflect as to what gives rise to such perception.

Even though those perspectives may be misconceived. I believe we need to be more receptive to scrutiny and suggestions. Let's not forget that as a budding nation we still have a lot to learn.

I believe the question that must be confronted is why we are being perceived as less than autonomous.

Does that impression stem from the governing structure itself or the conduct of the office holders?

Or is it to do with the way we operate and discharge our functions that insinuates doubts about its impartiality?

What do we need to do to allay these concerns?

We must accept that no institution is perfect and there is always room for improvement. In my view taking a defensive position would not help in demystifying the issue.

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