The Human Rights and Anti‑Discrimination Commission Director, Ashwin Raj is urging that Fiji Women’s Crisis Center Coordinator Shamima Ali to lodge an official complaint with the Police Internal Affairs Unit against officers who purportedly called her five times over two weeks enquiring about the nature of her discussions with the UN Secretary General.
Raj says this is after a discussion he had this morning with the Commissioner of Police, Sitiveni Qiliho.
Raj says that while these allegations have only surfaced today, Qiliho has expressed concern that this was not brought to his attention by Ali considering that calls were allegedly made over the course of two weeks but only published on the occasion of the UN Secretary General’s scheduled visit.
He says that Qiliho has also given an undertaking to expeditiously investigate Ali’s claims.
Raj says that 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.
Sitiveni Qiliho had stressed that Police would never intimidate Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre Coordinator, Shamima Ali as she has been a trainer for Police in issues of violence against women and children.
This comes after comments made by Ali of Police demanding to know what she planned to discuss with visiting UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres.
Ali says that there is no law forbidding the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre and the other NGO’s to have free private discussions with the UN Secretary General, Guterres.
Qiliho adds that they would never stoop to intimidation of a friend as intimated.
Ali has also confirmed that she would not be meeting with Guterres as she has personal commitments to attend to in Nadi.
Qiliho has also clarified that they have spoken to the NGO’s who have voiced their concerns on the timings given to them.
He says that they have explained the provision of the law available and the need to work within the law during the visit.