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U.S. Statement on the UPR of Fiji
February 11, 2010

UN Human Rights Council


Consideration of UPR Reports

Report of the UPR Working Group on Fiji
Statement by the Delegation of the United States of America

Delivered by John C. Mariz

The United States welcomes

His Excellency Ambassador Peceli Vocea and the Fijian delegation to the Working Group of the UPR. We have carefully reviewed Fiji’s report and closely followed its presentation today and offer the following comment and recommendations.

The United States is deeply concerned about the interim government’s decision to abrogate the constitution and the removal of the judiciary in April. On April 9, the Fiji Court of Appeal declared the coup and the interim government unlawful. On April 10, the government abrogated the constitution, imposed a state of emergency, and ruled by decree. The government dismissed the entire judiciary in April and replaced them with its own appointees. We recommend that the interim government ensure that human rights are explicitly protected in domestic law, including by reinstating the 1997 Constitution and immediately restoring the judges and magistrates and other judicial officers President Iloilo removed on April 10.

The United States remains deeply concerned about increased censorship and intimidation of the media in Fiji. We are concerned that the Public Emergency Regulations (PER) that curb freedoms of speech, press, and assembly remain in place. Media censorship began immediately after the abrogation of the Constitution. Journalists who refuse to adhere to the PER are detained, threatened, and intimidated by government and security officials, and media outlets are banned from criticizing the regime. We recommend that the interim government put an immediate halt to the censorship of Fijian media and to allow the people of Fiji and the media the right to freedom of expression, which includes the right to express criticism of the government without fear of arrest, intimidation, or punishment. We also recommend that the interim government immediately repeal the Public Emergency Regulations in force since April 10, 2009.