NEWS

Big Focus on Child’s Rights in Justice System

SOLICITOR-GENERAL HIGHLIGHTS IMPORTANCE TO LAWYERS, JUDGES, POLICE, MEDIA Children in contact with the criminal justice system are often in vulnerable positions because they don’t know their rights, says Solicitor-General, Sharvada
04 Apr 2017 11:33
Big Focus on Child’s Rights in Justice System
Chief Justice Anthony Gates (left), with Solicitor-General, Sharvada Sharma at Holiday Inn Suva last night. Photo: Arieta Vakasukawaqa

SOLICITOR-GENERAL HIGHLIGHTS IMPORTANCE TO LAWYERS, JUDGES, POLICE, MEDIA

Children in contact with the criminal justice system are often in vulnerable positions because they don’t know their rights, says Solicitor-General, Sharvada Sharma.

He made this statement while speaking at the Rights of the Child and the Criminal Justice System workshop at Holiday Inn Suva, last night.

Mr Sharma said children weren’t aware of their rights and many didn’t even know how to enforce their rights.

“Understanding the physical, psychological and emotional needs of children isn’t always complex but challenging. Therefore it is important that we ensure the criminal justice system doesn’t traumatise them,” he said.

Mr Sharma said at the same time it should not compromise the rights of a person to a fair trial.

Chief Justice Anthony Gates said judges and magistrates needed to understand some of the techniques in order to allow the child in giving the best in giving evidence.

He said some children came to the witness box, opened their mouths and could not speak.

The director for the Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission Ashwin Raj said the workshop would cover national legislations that protect the rights of a child as stated in the Constitution. He said the Commission was privileged to work in collaboration with the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Fiji Police Force, media organisations and the United Nations.

United Nations Resident co-ordinator, Osnat Lubrani, thanked the Fijian Government for its commitment in ensuring that the best interest of children were met.

Regional representative of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Chitraleka Massey, said the workshop would ensure to enhance the rights of a child within Fiji’s criminal justice system.

She said phase one of the series of workshops included the rights of the child in a criminal justice system.

The workshop participants included judges, magistrates, lawyers, prosecutors, Police officers and the media.

Edited by Jonathan Bryce

Feedback:  arieta.vakasukawaqa@fijisun.com.fj

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