September 12, 2016 9:25 pm

PM: Five investigated violated Public Order Act, No human rights breach

Those detained by Police over the weekend for questioning did not make any application to hold a public meeting, says Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimara. In a statement release this evening Bainimarama said: The Public Order Act amongst other provisions, requires any group wanting to hold a public meeting to apply for a permit from the […]

Those detained by Police over the weekend for questioning did not make any application to hold a public meeting, says Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimara.

In a statement release this evening Bainimarama said:

The Public Order Act amongst other provisions, requires any group wanting to hold a public meeting to apply for a permit from the Police before the proposed event. In this case, no application was made so the Police are entirely within their rights to question those who have allegedly contravened these provisions.

Bainimarama said that those who attended this gathering were lawfully detained for questioning and there have been no allegations of any of their human rights being breached while in detention.

These included the right to legal counsel. They were released within the 48 hours that the law prescribes as the limit at which they can be detained without appearing in court.

Bainimarama said a notable double standard was being adopted by certain countries in relation to this matter.

They either suspend certain rights themselves when incarcerating their citizens or other nationals and in some instances, even on the mere suspicion of a remote threat to their national security. They have adopted practices and laws that are abhorrent to internationally accepted human rights values and principles. Other nations turn a blind eye to or are mute on similar behaviour on the part of their friends and allies.

The Prime Minsiter said that Fiji had a sovereign right to make its own laws and in the case of the Public Order Act.

It (POA) exists because of our colonial past and an unfortunate history of civil unrest in post independent Fiji which cannot be repeated. The statute in question is to ensure law and order, protect our people and maintain the health of our economy on which the welfare of every Fijian depends.