Fiji elections: Next government must tackle severe failings on human rights

Fiji’s next government must correct severe failings in the country’s human rights protections, Amnesty International said ahead of elections on 14 November 2018.

“Before Fijians head to the polls, all candidates should pledge to tackle the many and persistent human rights abuses that still afflict the country. Fiji is a country where security forces continue to torture people, where media workers are harassed simply for doing their job, and where women are shamed and harassed for calling out violence and discrimination against them,” said Roshika Deo, Amnesty International’s Pacific Researcher.

“The tragic death of Josua Lalauvaki soon after police reportedly assaulted and detained him – looms large before this election. This was not the first report of torture and abuse committed by the police this year,” Deo added. “Candidates should be clear-eyed about these tragedies, bring justice and reparations for the victims, and ensure they never happen again.” 

Amnesty International is publishing a Human Rights Agenda ahead of the vote, outlining six essential priorities for all candidates to commit to. These include the protection of the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, preventing torture and other ill-treatment, ending violence against women and girls, protecting human rights defenders, ensuring equality for LGBTI people, and guaranteeing meaningful inclusion of Indigenous peoples in community decisions.

“Our agenda sends out a message of hope – Fiji’s next government has an opportunity to implement concrete proposals that could bring human rights change to the country”, Deo said. “We look forward to discussing with candidates the commitments they will make to help ensure everyone in Fiji can enjoy all their human rights.”