We challenge you to strip your IMMUNITY before lecturing on free speech
and social media. There is a difference between free speech and vile abuse - your SODELPA supporters abroad calling Fijileaks founding editor-in-chief "A Knob"; former High Court judge Nazhat Shameem "A Regime Whore" and former NFP president Tupou Draunidalo "A SLUT" and Indo-Fijian Muslims "PIGS" and you calling it "Free Speech", and not to forget FFP supporters who have (and are using) Facebook to call for the murder of Fijileaks founding editor-in-chief and have been posting other vile comments against their perceived opponents, and this
Raj had been silent like a church mouse. God help Fiji!
RABUKA SAYS ASHWIN RAJ SHOULD STAND UP FOR THE PEOPLE OF FIJI AND NOT ACT AS A CO-OPPRESSOR WITH THE GOVERNMENT THAT APPOINTED HIM.
6 April 2017
Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA) Leader, Major General (Retired) Sitiveni L Rabuka today stated that “To truly serve the people of Fiji, and not just serve the FijiFirst government that appointed him, Ashwin Raj should stand up for the people of Fiji and not act as a co-oppressor with the government that appointed him.”
Mr. Rabuka further said that “Ashwin Raj should be concerned with the FHRADC’s non-compliance with the UN’s Paris Principles on the independence of national human rights institutions. This non-recognition by the UN perhaps explains why he becomes part of the official government delegation to the UN Human Rights meetings, when other accredited national human rights institutions attend as independent commissions.
Major General Rabuka further said that, “His continued parroting of the government line is in breach of the Paris Principles and underscores why the FHRADC will struggle to gain UN recognition.”
Rabuka said that SODELPA has called for the repeal of the Media Decree since it was imposed on Fiji in 2010. He said SODELPA maintained that the Media Decree and other oppressive Decrees like the Public Order Decree 2012 should all be repealed in order to promote democratic discourse and good governance in Fiji.
“Ashwin Raj ought to be concerned about these repressive decrees and their effect on chilling free speech, press freedom and human rights in Fiji, rather than seeking to extend government control over our freedom of expression, opinion and belief, including political belief. Raj’s call for the policing of facebook and social media platforms in Fiji, is aimed at protecting the FijiFirst Government which appointed him to his lucrative dual positions as Director of FHRADC and Chairman of MIDA.”
“The censorship and curtailment of personal and political freedoms since the 2006 coup d’etat has narrowed civic dialogue and civic engagement in Fiji. This directly resulted in the flourishing of blogs, alternative and social media, as the last frontier for free speech, thought, expression and opinion over the last eleven years since the 2006 coup.”
“Government has not shied away from prosecuting citizens under the Public Emergency Regulations and Public Order Amendment Decrees for speech it considers dangerous. Authorities have also liberally charged individuals with sedition and inciting antagonism under the Crimes Decree, even if later charges are withdrawn, strict bail conditions have curtailed travel and speech for these individuals while charges were live.”
“These crimes, which had the effect of curtailing free speech, are still on the law books and nothing is stopping the government from charging individuals for what they say on social media. I note the Crimes Decree can be used even where the speech is made in overseas countries given it has extra-territorial jurisdiction.”
“So this begs the question, what is the point of the Human Rights Commission Director basically threatening citizens, when these Decrees are still in place and government has the prerogative who to investigate and charge?”
“I am curious as well whether Raj is speaking on the basis of complaints made to police or to the FHRADC or to MIDA, or is he simply protecting his political masters. If there are complaints made, then these should follow their correct complaints procedure and not become political fodder for Raj to intimidate the people of Fiji.”
“Ashwin Raj should be ashamed of himself for taking part in this intimidation of our people and he should resign forthwith. I urge the Commissioners of the FHRADC to revise his contract, given he was appointed before they were appointed.”
“To truly serve the people of Fiji, and not just serve the FijiFirst government that appointed him, Ashwin Raj must be removed as Director of FHRADC and Chairman of MIDA. The people holding these positions should stand up for the people of Fiji and not act as a co-oppressor with the government that appointed them.”
Major General (Retired) Sitiveni L Rabuka
Social Democratic Liberal Party of Fiji