Fiji must abide by global obligations on rights, fundamental freedoms: UN rights chief

Louise Arbour

6 December 2006 – United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour today called on Fiji to guarantee fundamental freedoms for its people, and also abide by international obligations covering civil, political and other rights, as she expressed concern following the recent coup.

“The forcible and unconstitutional replacement of Fiji’s freely-elected Government raises serious concerns regarding the country’s ability to guarantee human rights,” Ms. Arbour said in a statement, which also echoed Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s call yesterday for the immediate reinstatement of the country’s legitimate authority.

She pointed out that the country's 1997 Constitution protects human rights and fundamental freedoms, including through the work of the Fiji Human Rights Commission. “Fiji must also abide by the obligations it has undertaken under a number of international treaties covering a broad range of civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights,” she said.

Last week Mr. Annan warned that Fiji’s international standing, especially as a contributor to UN peacekeeping missions, could be jeopardized by the current political crisis.

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