‘Ratify rights’

Stephanie Dunn and William Nainima of the Fiji Womens Crisis Centre makes their submission at Parliament yesterday. Picture: JONA KONATACI

THE Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre (FWCC) says it will be a good practice for Fiji to ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) conventions for six reasons. FWCC legal officer Stephanie Dunn said firstly, ratification would mean the Government would be held accountable both internationally and domestically in ensuring that all its citizens could and were enjoying their rights under the ICCPR and ICESCR.

“Secondly, ratification of the two conventions together with meaningful consultations will raise awareness of the particular rights at stake and improve human rights literacy,” Ms Dunn said.

“Human rights are rights that humans have simply in virtue of being human. The stronger their legal protection, the stronger their claim is to inalienability.”

She added Fiji was fast evolving as a democracy and in any democratic country, there was a need to have a robust human rights system in place. “Ratification of the two conventions would enhance good governance, stability and security.

This would bring greater realisation and understanding of human rights, there would be prospects of empowering those who are disadvantaged and marginalised,” she said.

She said ratification would boost Fiji’s reputation in the international human rights community and show the country was willing to fulfill its commitment on ratification of all the core human rights conventions.

“It has also been noted by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) that an environment in which the rule of law was respected, would attract a greater economic investment,” she added.

She mentioned the ratification would also mean the possibility of technical assistance and support from United Nations (UN) agencies, multilateral and bilateral donors as well.