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EDITORIAL : Amnesty International Report Raises Questions On Motive

  Questions, questions. The Amnesty International report released in Suva yesterday called Beating Justice, How Fiji’s Security Forces get away with Torture raises these. Questions about Amnesty International’s real motives
06 Dec 2016 11:00
EDITORIAL : Amnesty International Report Raises  Questions On Motive
Editorial

 

Questions, questions.

The Amnesty International report released in Suva yesterday called Beating Justice, How Fiji’s Security Forces get away with Torture raises these.

Questions about Amnesty International’s real motives and its objectivity.

QUESTION: The pronouncement by the Amnesty International team that their report on Fiji was already sent to European Union officials who may be meeting Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama in Brussels, This brings to question the real motive behind the report.

Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum slammed Amnesty International’s work as selective and not reflecting the true position in Fiji.

Or the great strides that we have made as a nation to deal with the issue of torture. Was this just Amnesty International promoting itself then?

QUESTION: Why was no effort seemingly made to get input from our highly respected Director of Public Prosecutions Christopher Pryde? Mr Pryde and his office have led the successful prosecution and jailing of rogue security force officers.

Reality is that Fiji has not shied away from taking to task those law enforcers who assaulted suspects.

Fiji has taken steps to better the Fijian Police Force. And, Fiji has not been sitting on its hands when issues of torture have come to fore.

Reality is that this Government has done a lot more than what they receive accolades for. Had Amnesty International been objective in their report, they would have noted the real progress that has been made in Fiji.

Amnesty International Pacific Researcher Asia Pacific Kate Schuetze has been active on Fiji since 2012. She would have no doubt noted steps Fiji has taken to address the issue of assault of suspects.

Just yesterday a video recording interviewing room workshop was held. This has been needed. Not only to protect suspects but also because some suspects who were not assaulted were quick to state in court that they had been. The video recording workshop jointly held by the British High Commission is a step in the right direction.

The report talks about coerced and forced confessions but it also notes that such confessions are thrown out by the Courts. And, by talking about interference in the justice process, is she insinuating that there is interference at judicial level?

So some lawyers claimed their clients were forced to confess, a known critic of this Government claimed that his office was broken into twice. Were these comments verified or did Amnesty International turn to Facebook to gather their evidence?

Fiji is not the first country where law enforcers have overstepped their boundaries. But, Fiji is definitely working hard to ensure there are no repeat of such incidents.

Not that you would know this from listening to Amnesty International.

 

A scarf too far

 

Oh, Peter Thomson, what were you thinking?

UN General Assembly president Mr Thomson did much excellent work in the past as our Permanent Representative at the United Nations. He was a star among our diplomats abroad. But he has not made the wisest of choices by wearing a Palestinian flag scarf.

His not-so-fashionable choice was made at the occasion at the UN of International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

Mr Thomson may have felt he was doing the right thing. Not so on such a sensitive and inflammatory issue.

Because Fiji’s policy has been one of strict neutrality in the Middle East. The Israelis have already expressed their outrage over Mr Thomson’s – to them – lack of neutrality.

Not good when we profess neutrality and have our peacekeepers serving on the Israeli side of the Golan Heights.

Feedback:  jyotip@fijisun.com.fj

 

 



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