NEWS

Child Custody Matters Remain Biggest Challenge: Ashwin Raj

Mr Raj said some examples were on the areas of sexual and physical assault of children including the denial of prompt medical examination and treatment after being sexually and physically assaulted.
23 Aug 2019 12:26
Child Custody Matters Remain  Biggest Challenge: Ashwin Raj
Participants at the three-day Legal Aid Commission Regional Conference at the InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort and Spa in Natadola on August 21, 2019. Photo: DEPTFO News

Fiji Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission director, Ashwin Raj says the biggest challenge that the commission deals with is child custody matters.

Mr Raj mentioned this in his address on the second day of the Legal Aid Commission Regional Conference at the InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort and Spa in Natadola yesterday.

He said this came after the commission had received various complaints about children.

Mr Raj said some examples were on the areas of sexual and physical assault of children including the denial of prompt medical examination and treatment after being sexually and physically assaulted.

“We had this case of a child who was dragged from school, who was sexually assaulted for two days and then this child was denied urgent medical examination,” he said.

“We had to push through the Police and the hospital to ensure that this is done in privacy, consistent with human dignity to ensure that this child is safe and there is access to justice for him or her.

“Child custody matters and the subjection of children to harmful practices.

“This remains one of the biggest challenges for us.”

He said corporal punishment and bullying were still present in society.

“The denial of the right to education to children on the basis of religion, this again is a very serious problem,” he added.

“The commission had to intervene with a matter and ensure that there is access to justice for a child who was sent home for wearing a hijab and the commission used its independent mandate to conduct independent investigations.”

Mr Raj added the commission had also assisted women and children in the most rural areas around the country educating them on their rights and how to access institutions like the Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission.

Edited by Percy Kean

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