ICCPR and ICESR to strengthen interpretation provisions of Bill of Rights

Members of the Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence. Picture: SUPPLIED

THE Ratification of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) will serve to further strengthen the interpretation provisions of the Bill of Rights of the Fijian Constitution through the application of international law in the interests of promoting values underpinning a democratic society based on human dignity, equality and freedom.

The Director of Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission (HRADC), Ashwin Raj, highlighted this in his submission to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence, yesterday.

Mr Raj said the ratification of ICCPR could be a catalyst for a much-needed national discussion on justifiable limitations on civil and political rights in international law and how to interpret those rights.

While the ratification of the ICESCR will also enable the realisation of our commitment to sustainable development goals.

He said the Fijian Constitution, through its Bill of Rights provisions, already includes the most salient features of the ICCPR and ICESCR.

“The inclusion of sexual orientation, gender identity and expression as prohibited grounds of discrimination in the Fijian Constitution renders our Bill of Rights as far more progressive than ICCPR,” Mr Raj said.