FIJI WOMEN’S RIGHTS MOVEMENT
P.O. Box 14194, Suva, Fiji
Tel: (679) 3312 711/3313 156 Fax: (679) 331 3466
18th March, 2009.
Women’s group condemns attacks against human rights defenders
THE FIJI Women's Rights Movement condemns the stoning of a pro-democracy and women’s rights activists’ home on Sunday morning. FWRM Management Board member, Priscilla Singh, her husband, unionist Attar Singh, and family, were awoken at about 2.50am to the shattering of glass at their Samabula home. The family later found their two cars and a window of their home smashed from the impact of very large (“lovo”) stones.
“We are deeply concerned by the attack against Priscilla and her family, which is clearly an attempt to intimidate human rights defenders. The police must make every effort to investigate this crime and bring the perpetrators to justice,” said FWRM Executive Director, Virisila Buadromo.
“Both Priscilla and Attar are well-known Fiji citizens, who have consistently spoken out for human rights, the rule of law and democracy. We must now ensure that their rights are also protected, and that they are made safe from such cowardly attacks.”
Attar Singh is an outspoken unionist, as well as a pro-democracy and free speech advocate, who is frequently quoted in the news media. He often speaks on behalf of the Movement for Democracy in Fiji. He has faced other acts of intimidation since the military coup of December 2006. In January 2007, soldiers surrounded the Singh home, terrifying his family, before taking Singh away to be detained and interrogated.
“Our basic human rights, including free speech, are protected by the Bill of Rights in Fiji’s Constitution, as well as international human rights law,” Buadromo said.
“We call on the authorities to comply with their obligation to protect all our human rights, and ensure that the criminals who perpetrated these acts are brought to justice."
Priscilla Singh is a long-time member of the Fiji Women's Rights Movement, who is now on the Movement’s Management Board. She has also been an elected councillor on the Suva City Council for close to ten years, serving Samabula and Suva Central until January this year, when all municipal councils were dissolved by the interim regime.
Priscilla is also a member of APWLD. She was a former member of the Women's Participation in Political Processes (WPPP) Task Force.
Executive Director, Virisila Buadromo (679-9249906)
Communications Officer, Tara Chetty (679-9268342)