Home Complaints Procedures
Who can Complain
Any person may make a complaint to the Commission, including a representative on behalf of other persons with a similar course of complaint.
What you can Complain about
Fiji Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission can investigate and resolve complaints of discrimination based on a person’s: 1. Actual or supposed personal characteristics or circumstances, including race, culture, ethnic or social origin, colour, place of origin, sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, birth, primary language, economic or social or health status, disability, age, religion, conscience, marital status or pregnancy; or opinions or beliefs, except to the extent that those opinions or beliefs involve harm to others or the diminution of the rights or freedoms of others. If you are making a complaint under one of the above grounds, it is considered a complaint of unlawful discrimination. 2. The Commission can also investigate and resolve complaints about alleged breaches of human rights against state agencies. 3. You can also lodge a complaint if you are treated differently from another person on the grounds of employment, education institutions, public restaurants, places of public entertainment, clubs, public transportation services, taxis and public places.
Investigation of Human Rights abuses on commissions own motion
As per Section 45(4)(f) of the Constitution, the Commission may on its own initiative investigate or on the basis of a complaint any matter in respect of human rights Furthermore Section 30 of the HRC Decree 2009 also provides that the Commission may investigate of its own motion on any complaint which appears to be unfair discrimination or a contravention of human rights or which has been referred by the High Court.
How do we lodge a Complaint
You can lodge your complaint via: 1. Telephone on 3308577 2. Fax: 3308661 3. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org 4. website: www.fhradc.org.fj 5. or in person at Level 2, Naibati House, 9 Goodenough street, Suva.
What happens to your Complaint
1. Your complaint is acknowledged 2. An assessment is made on your complaint 3. If you complaint is within the jurisdiction of the Commission, we will investigate your complaint. 4. If you complaint is out of the jurisdiction of the Commission, we will assist you by making referrals to the appropriate who may be able to assist you.
Decision on whether to investigate about
The Commission will not investigate any complaint: • the complaint is not within the jurisdiction of the Commission • the complaint is trivial, frivolous, vexatious or not made in good faith • the complainant, or a person acting on his or her behalf, has brought proceedings relating to the same matter in a court or tribunal; • the complainant has available another remedy or channel of complaint that the complainant could reasonably be expected to use; • the complainant has not a sufficient interest in the complaint; • the person alleged to be aggrieved does not desire that the complaint be investigated; • the complaint has been delayed too long to justify an investigation; • the Commission has before it matters more worthy of its attention; or • the resources of the Commission are insufficient for adequate investigation
 Before investigating any matter within its jurisdiction, the Commission must inform the following its intention that the Commission is investigating: • the complainant (if any); • the person alleged to be aggrieved, if not the complainant; • the person to whom the investigation relates; and • in relation to an investigation relating to a department the person holding or performing the duties of the office of Secretary of the department  All investigation are conducted in private.  The Commission may hear or obtain information from any person whom the Commission considers can assist in the investigation and may make whatever enquiries it thinks fit.  In conducting an investigation, the Commission is not bound by the strict rules of evidence or procedure, but must act fairly at all times.
Procedure after Investigation
After completing an investigation, the Commission will inform you and the other party the result of the investigation on whether: (a) the complaint has substance (b) the complaint does not have substance [1a] If the complaint has substance, the complaint matter will be proceeded with, with a view to effect a settlement in relation to the complaint. [1b] If the complaint does not have substance the Commission may act as a conciliator and use its best endeavors to reach a settlement of the complaint and also the Commission will inform the complainant of the complainant's right to bring civil proceedings before the High Court.
Function of Proceedings Commissioner
The functions of the Proceedings Commissioner include— • in relation to a complaint or an investigation of the Commission's own motion – deciding whether an application should be made for an order under section 42 and, if so, making the application. • in relation to a complaint resulting from a failure by a party to observe the terms of a settlement on a previous occasion – deciding whether to institute proceedings against the party and, if so, instituting the proceedings. • in relation to a complaint or an investigation of the Commission's own motion, if it appears to the Proceedings Commissioner that a settlement has not been reached and that no action or further action by the Commission is likely to facilitate a settlement – deciding whether to institute proceedings against the person against whom the complaint was made or to whom the investigation related, and if so, instituting the proceedings.
Section 38 of the Human Rights Commission Decree of 2009 states that: 38 (1) – Civil proceedings in the High Court lie at the suit of the Proceedings Commissioner against a person referred to in paragraph (b) or (c) of section 37 (1) for unfair discrimination or a contravention of human rights; Provided however that no proceeding which seeks to question or challenge the legality or validity of the Fiji Constitution Amendment Act 1997 Revocation Decree 2009, or such other Decrees made or as may be made by the President, shall be brought by the Proceedings Commissioner. (2) – The Proceedings Commissioner may, under subsection (1) bring proceedings on behalf of a class of persons if the Commissioner considers that a person referred to in paragraph (b) or (c) of subsection 37(1) has engaged in unfair discrimination which affects that class or has contravened the human rights in relation to that class; Provided however that no proceeding which seeks to question or challenge the legality or validity of the Fiji Constitution Amendment Act 1997 Revocation Decree 2009, or such other Decrees made or as may be made by the President, shall be brought by the Proceedings Commissioner. (3) – If proceedings are commenced by the Proceedings Commissioner under subsection (1), neither the complainant (if any) nor the aggrieved person (if not the complainant) may be an original party to the proceedings, or, unless the High Court so orders, join or be joined in the proceedings. (4) – Notwithstanding subsection (1), the complainant (if any) or the aggrieved person (if not the complainant) may bring proceedings before the High Court if - a) the Commission is of the opinion that the complaint does not have substance or cannot be established to have substance or that the matter ought not to be proceeded with; b) the Commission pursuant to section 29(1) decides not to investigate, or to investigate further , a complaint; or c) the Proceedings Commissioner would be entitled to bring proceedings but - (i) agrees to the complainant, in the case of a complaint, or an aggrieved person, in relation to an investigation of the Commission’s own motion, bringing proceedings; or (ii) decides not to take proceedings. Provided however that no proceeding which seeks to question or challenge the legality or validity of the Fiji Constitution Amendment Act 1997 Revocation Decree 2009, or such other Decrees made or as may be made by the President, shall be brought before the High Court. (5) Nothing in this section limits the right of any person to apply to the High Court for redress for a contravention of his or her rights; Provided however that no proceeding which seeks to question or challenge the legality or validity of the Fiji Constitution Amendment Act 1997 Revocation Decree 2009, or such other Decrees made or as may be made by the President, shall be brought before the High Court. Right of Proceedings Commissioner to Appear in High Court Remedies
Rights of Proceedings Commissioner to appear in High Court
Section 39 of the Human Rights Commission Decree of 2009 states that: 39 (1) – The Proceedings Commissioner may appear and be heard in the High Court or the Court of Appeal in relation to any proceedings under section 38, whether or not the Proceedings Commissioner is or was a party to the proceedings. (2) With leave of the court, tribunal or arbitrator, the Proceedings Commissioner may appear and be heard in relation to any proceedings before a court, tribunal or arbitrator, in which human rights are in issue. (3) If the Proceedings Commissioner appears before any court, tribunal or arbitrator he or she may, unless the rules of procedure of the court, tribunal or arbitrator otherwise provide- a) appear in person or by a legal practitioner; b) adduce evidence and cross – examine witnesses, unless the proceedings are by way of appeal,
Section 40 of the Human Rights Commission Decree of 2009 states that: 40 (1) – In any proceedings before the High Court brought under section 38 by the Proceedings Commissioner, a complainant or an aggrieved person, the plaintiff may seek any or all of the remedies described in subsection(2) of this section. (2) If in any proceedings as mentioned in subsection (1) the High Court is satisfied on the balance of probabilities that the defendant has engaged in unfair discrimination or has contravened human rights, it may grant or more of the following remedies – a) a declaration that the defendant has engaged in unfair discrimination or has contravened human rights; b) an order restraining the defendant from continuing or repeating the conduct complained of or causing or permitting others to engage in conduct of the same kind or of any similar kind specified in the order; c) damages in accordance with section 41; d) an order that the defendant perform any act specified in the order with the view to redressing any loss or damage suffered by the complainant or the aggrieved person or to preventing conduct of a similar kind in the future; e) a declaration that a contract requiring performance of anything that constitute unfair discrimination or contravenes human rights is void and unenforceable;