Activist urged to lodge complaint

Fiji Women's Crisis Centre (FWCC) co-ordinator Shamima Ali. Picture: FT FILE/RAMA

THE Fiji Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission has urged a women’s rights activist to lodge a complaint with the Fiji Police Force against officers demanding to know what she planned to discuss with the visiting UN Secretary-General.

Commission director Ashwin Raj said he had discussions with the Commissioner of Police, Brigadier General Sitiveni Qiliho, regarding claims made by Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre co-ordinator Shamima Ali.

“While these allegations have only surfaced today (yesterday) in The Fiji Times, the Commissioner of Police Brig-Gen Sitiveni Qiliho expressed concern that this was not brought to his attention by Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre co-ordinator Shamima Ali considering that calls were allegedly made over the course of two weeks, but only published on the occasion of the UN chief Antonio Guterres’ scheduled visit,” Mr Raj said.

He claimed that Brig-Gen Qiliho had given him an undertaking to expeditiously investigate her claims.

“The Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission reiterates that freedom of expression is a fundamental human right which includes the right to express dissenting views including legitimate criticism of government and its policies within the permissible bounds of the law,” Mr Raj said.

Responding to Mr Raj yesterday, Ms Ali said it was up to her when and where to report the matter.

“It’s up to me where I go and report and I will go and report where I have faith,” she said.

Ms Ali said if she had no faith in certain institutions, she would exercise her right not to go there. She also questioned Mr Raj’s motive behind his quick response to her comments in this newspaper yesterday.

“Anyway, there are so many human rights abuses, workers’ rights and gay rights –– it took so long for Mr Raj to respond.

“But why was he so quick to respond this time around.

“Has he started working for the police and why is he speaking on behalf of the Police Commissioner?

“That’s (Fiji Police Force) an independent institution and he (Brig-Gen Qiliho) should be responding and not Ashwin Raj.

“This is again another case where the Fiji Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission, instead of defending the defenceless, is defending the powers that be.”

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