Human rights violations
MORE men in the country report cases of human rights violations, the Fiji Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission (FHRADC) audit has revealed.
Responding to questions, commission director, Ashwin Raj said since August 2013, his office had received 703 matters of human rights violations.
Mr Raj said the complaints ranged from allegations of brutality by the disciplined forces, conditions of detention centres, human trafficking, complaints against solicitors, complaints against state services such as the right to water, housing, land issues including arbitrary evictions and expiration of leases, sexual harassment, unfair termination, abuse of Domestic Violence Restraining Order, harassment based on a person's sexual orientation, gender identity and expression and discrimination based on a person's race to consumer rights.
"Most of the complaints were received from the Central Division. The commission conducted outreach programs in the Western and Northern divisions last year and complaints pertaining to the right to water, land lease issues and poor road conditions were received from these divisions," he said.
"These issues have been adequately dealt with by referring the matters to the relevant agencies for necessary action."
Mr Raj said after his appointment, the commission formulated a three-year strategic plan as well as its annual corporate plan in which addressing the backlog of complaints had been given utmost priority.
"It is imperative that the commission is responsive," he said.
"Under the Constitution and the Human Rights Commission Decree 2009, the commission is mandated to conduct investigations on its own motion on any matter with respect to human rights.
"As such, the commission has served as amicus curiae in a number of cases, the most recent being unlawful detention of children.
"The commission has also had successful conciliations, made interventions in a matter of human trafficking in relation to the confiscation of passports of foreign nationals."
Mr Raj said procedurally, when matters were brought to the attention of the commission, an assessment was made on whether the matter was within the jurisdiction of the commission, outside the commission's jurisdiction or members of the public may have come to the commission seeking advice and not necessarily to pursue the matter further.
"If a matter is outside the jurisdiction of the commission, the matter is referred to the relevant agencies for their necessary action," he said.