Update: 3.03pm THE Fiji Human Rights Commission (FHRC) has come out in support of the comments by the United Nations Human Rights Commissioner, Louise Arbour, that the FHRC be completely independent of all other arms of government.
FHRC director Dr Shaista Shameem told Fiji Times Online she completely agreed with the UN High Commissioner's comments for the need for the FHRC to be completely independent of all other arms of government and to be allowed to make its views known on the legal and human rights issues in Fiji from the perspective of economic, social and cultural rights, as well as civil and political rights.
The UN High Commissioner's office in Geneva, according to Dr Shameem, has been kept informed of essential legal issues relating to the events of 5 December, 2006.
''From her statement, I believe that the High Commissioner, who is a judge in her own right, knows the complexity of the legal position facing the FHRC. She would also be aware by now that some of the complaints sent to her by third parties are not bona fide. I have been involved with the UN human rights machinary for a long time and know that the UN will not make rash judgments about a national human rights institution like FHRC which has done a splendid job since 1999 to up-hold the rights of every one in Fiji,'' Dr Shameem said.
Commissioner Arbour had underlined the need for the Fiji Human Rights Commission to play an effective and independent role in addressing current human rights challenges in the country, fully in line with the international standards applicable to national human rights institutions.
Addressing this concern, Dr Shameem said she was preparing a number of reports that would go to Ms Arbour's office over the next few months which will outline how FHRC is attending to human rights abuses suffered by people since December 5.
''The FHRC has a track record in the UN for being one of the highest performing national institutions. Our position will withstand any intense scrutiny from the international UN human rights community,'' Dr Shameem said.