A Misuse of Emergency Powers? An Analysis of the Legality of Fiji’s 2006 and 2009 States of Emergency and Public Emergency Regulations

31 Pages Posted: 8 Sep 2019 Last revised: 18 Sep 2019

See all articles by Carey Bentley-Beckham

Carey Bentley-Beckham

Victoria University of Wellington, Faculty of Law, Student/Alumni

Date Written: September 6, 2019

Abstract

States of emergency have long been linked with human rights abuses, in particular where the state of emergency is not legitimate under international law. Despite extensive research and reports clarifying the legal framework that states must follow, there has been limited analysis focusing on a particular state. This paper aims to provide a valuable case study by analysing the states of emergency declared in Fiji in 2006 and 2009 against existing legal frameworks to ascertain their legitimacy under international law. The 2009 Public Emergency Regulations, which allowed for a number of derogations from human rights, are also critically evaluated to assess their conformity with international law. As the emergency situations used as justification for invoking the states of emergency did not reach the required threshold, the imposed states of emergency were illegitimate. Furthermore, the Public Emergency Regulations permitted wide human rights derogations that were completely disproportionate to the situation. By providing a case study of a state that has misused a state of emergency and emergency powers, and showing how this misuse can result in ongoing human rights abuses, this paper affirms the value of ongoing international oversight and the importance of enforcing the international requirements.

Keywords: state of emergency, coup, Fiji, human rights

JEL Classification: K00

Suggested Citation

Bentley-Beckham, Carey, A Misuse of Emergency Powers? An Analysis of the Legality of Fiji’s 2006 and 2009 States of Emergency and Public Emergency Regulations (September 6, 2019). Victoria University of Wellington Legal Research Paper, Student/Alumni Paper No. 7/2019. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3448923 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3448923

Carey Bentley-Beckham (Contact Author)

Victoria University of Wellington, Faculty of Law, Student/Alumni ( email )

PO Box 600
Wellington, Victoria 6140
New Zealand

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