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Zero Tolerance Against Torture: PM

Zero Tolerance Against Torture: PM
Secretary General of the APT Mark Tompson, Chile Ambassdor Isauro Torres, Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama, Ambassdor Permanent Mission of Indonesia to the United Nations in Geneva ad Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum at Convention against Torture Initiative at the InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort and Spa yesterday. Photo: WAISEA NASOKIA
October 28
12:00 2016


Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama yesterday said the Government did not condone any act of torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and would not tolerate them.

“We do not tolerate human rights abuses of any kind. They are legally and morally unacceptable. And we are determined to bring the perpetrators of such abuses to justice,” he said.

Mr Bainimarama was speaking yesterday when he opened a two-day regional workshop on the United Nations Convention against Torture in the Pacific Region at the InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort and Spa at Natadola.

“What we have had are occasional problems with individuals or groups of people taking the law into their own hands and violating the human rights of others,” Mr Bainimarama said.

He said the record showed that Fijian laws were being enforced.

He highlighted the current matter whereby Police officers have been caught on camera at Pacific Harbour in the act of brutality and the case of Vilikesa Soko who had died as a result of rape and brutal assault allegedly by Police who now face trial at the Lautoka High Court.

“Our Police Commissioner is currently investigating whether excessive force was used in the recent apprehension of a group of suspected criminals in Navua that was captured on video by a passer-by,” he said.

“We also have a trial in Lautoka for the alleged rape and subsequent death of a detainee, Vilikesa Soko.”

He said Britain was already partnering with Fiji on a six month pilot project at the Totogo Police Station in Suva which was called First Hour Procedure.

“This would provide every suspect with legal aid assistance within the first hour of arrest,” he said.

“There will also be digital recording of police caution interviews with suspects, to provide greater transparency in the arrest and detention procedure.

“We intend after this pilot program to introduce First Hour Procedure and the digital recording of caution interviews throughout Fiji.

“So that there is no doubt whatsoever when cases reach the courts about the content of police interviews or the veracity of the process.

“It will bring to an end any suggestion that confessions are being extracted by force.”

The Ambassador, Permanent Mission of Indonesia to the United Nations in Geneva, representing the Convention against Torture Initiative core group, Triyono Wibowo, congratulated Fiji for ratifying the Convention against Torture in March this year.

“This is a significant milestone and one that recognise the benefit of the UN convention as an instrument that can support the improvement and practices,” Mr Wibowo said.

The workshop will discuss the benefits of, challenges to and the ratification and implementation of the UN Convention against Torture.

Edited by Rusiate Mataika




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