The deliberate display of armed military personnel to maintain social distancing is heavy-handed and unnecessary - Singh

The deliberate display of armed military personnel to maintain social distancing is heavy-handed and unnecessary - Singh

By Vijay Narayan
Tuesday 31/03/2020
The NGO Coalition for Human Rights Chairperson Nalini Singh

The NGO Coalition for Human Rights says it is concerned by images circulated on social media platforms, of uniformed and armed RFMF soldiers outside the premises of the Fiji National Provident Fund office in Lautoka.

Nalini Singh says the deliberate display of armed military personnel to maintain social distancing is heavy handed and unnecessary, as it only fuels public fear and intimidation.

The NGO Coalition also notes comments from the Republic of Fiji Military Forces Commander Rear Admiral Viliame Naupoto clarifying that military personnel who are assisting police in the COVID-19 operations will not be armed at any time.

Singh says this is good to note but in the future, they urge the government and law enforcement authorities to cease intimidation tactics as the first response to situations like COVID-19.

She says there must be a more comprehensive response that is inclusive and collaborative with all stakeholders and partners, which align to human rights and the principles of democracy.

Singh says they understand that law enforcement personnel may struggle to get citizens to observe restrictions and social distancing, however, it should not be used as an excuse to increase armed military presence on our streets, which is unacceptable as we are still a democracy.

The NGO Coalition says there are laws in place that address any breaches of restrictions but also guarantee that citizens’ rights are protected whilst ensuring that public order is maintained.

The coalition also reminds the public of the responsibility we all have in observing the restrictions in place, beginning with the nationwide curfew.

Singh says it is our individual commitment to curb the spread of COVID-19 in Fiji, and of equal importance is adherence to the law by all citizens especially avoiding prosecution by law enforcement personnel.



Stay tuned for the latest news on our radio stations

CFL radio frequencies
Health Ministry continues to trace, screen and test all contacts of current COVID-19 cases in Fiji
Contact tracing continues for the potential super spreader event which is a funeral at Peceliema Church in Tavakubu. Mon 19th Apr Tue 20th ...
4 days ago

COVID-19 vaccination rollout in Fiji
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama says he is getting vaccinated because it is what we all must do to defeat this pandemic once and for ...
27 days ago

Coca Cola Games 2021
Coca-Cola Games will depend on the approval from the Health and Education ...
29 days ago
1 million vaccines to come from Australia and 500,000 vaccines to come from NZ
More doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, AstraZeneca are on their way to Fiji as the Australian government has committed to giving 1 million vaccines while...
2 minutes ago
15-year-old Jyoti Devi missing since 8th of April
15-year-old Jyoti Devi has been reported missing at the Lautoka Police Station. Police say Devi was last seen leaving home for school on the 8th ...
1 hour ago

India's COVID crisis hits Covax vaccine-sharing scheme
The international scheme to ensure equal access to COVID-19 vaccines is 140 million doses short because of India's continuing COVID crisis. The ...
3 hours ago

Goundar Shipping says their Facebook account was hacked and they are not closing down their business
Goundar Shipping Limited Managing Director George Goundar says they are not closing down their business and has said that someone hacked their social ...
4 hours ago

FNPF Lockdown relief extended until the end of the month
The FNPF Lockdown relief for working members has been extended to the end of the month. More than 14,600 members have accessed this relief so far ...
4 hours ago

10 people from Vakabalea in Navua arrested as they breached social gathering guidelines to drink alcohol
30 people have been arrested for breaching the COVID-19 restrictions and curfew orders in the last 24 hours. Acting Police Commissioner Rusiate ...
4 hours ago