Editorial

Lets Help Shape The Bill For Our Safety

It is important that Fijians turn out in numbers to have a say in this important piece of legislation.
26 Apr 2019 10:56
Lets Help Shape The Bill For Our Safety
Chairperson of the Standing Committee for Justice, Law and Human Rights Alvick Maharaj (third from left), with committee members and representatives of religious organisations at Lautoka City Council Chambers on April 10, 2019. Photo: Rohit Kumar.

For weeks now the Standing Committee on Justice, Law and Human Rights has been holding consultations on the Sex Offenders Registration Bill of 2018.

They have travelled long distances to give people a chance to have a say in shaping this Bill before it goes to Parliament. This is an instrumental bill, a step in the right direction in keeping our society safe from repeat sex offenders.

It is important that Fijians turn out in numbers to have a say in this important piece of legislation.

What does this Bill intend to do:

The motive of Bill is to set up a Sex Offenders Registry. This would be kept by the Fiji Police Force Commissioner and updated regularly.

What will be noted in the register?

Once a person has been convicted of any sexual offence- rape, sexual assault, their names, date of birth, description of any tattoos, photographs, known phone contacts would be taken down in that register.

Why is this necessary?

Those people who have been convicted of sexual offences will not be allowed to seek employment in areas involving children. This is a big step Government has taken in ensuring that repeat offenders are not left in situations where they could take advantage of vulnerable members of our society.

Furthermore, convicted sex offenders will also be asked to declare that their details are in the register every time they travel overseas. Failure to do this will have consequences.

Why is it important for people to make submissions on this Bill?

Employers who feel that they need to know if their prospective employee is a convicted sex offender should make the submissions to allow for this.

Right now, there are no provisions for this, but this is where employers and the Fiji Commerce and Employers Federation and its members can ask that they be allowed to send in details of prospective employees to the Fiji Police Force to run through the register.

Day care centres where toddlers and young children spend many hours should also be allowed to know if there is a registered sex offender living in areas near where the day care centres operate in.

Should the convicted sex offenders be allowed to legally change their names?

That is something people need to also ask and give their views on. It is important that people speak out now.

Feedback: jyotip@fijisun.com.fj

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