Fiji completes third periodic review before UN Rights council
November 10, 2019 9:34 am
Fiji’s Universal Periodic Report is scheduled for adoption today at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland.
Fiji received over 240 recommendations from 97 member states during the review which are currently being considered.
The Fijian Delegation successfully presented Fiji’s Human Rights Report during its Third Universal Periodic Review on Wednesday.
As part of the submission, Fiji’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Nazhat Shameem Khan reiterated Government’s commitment to advancing and protecting the fundamental human rights principles through its robust national framework, strong institutions and national policies.
She informed the Council that Fiji had implemented a majority of the recommendations from Fiji’s last Universal Period Review, and Fiji’s leadership on global issues notably its Presidency of COP 23 and Vice Presidency of the Human Rights Council.
The Acting Chief Justice Kamal Kumar stated that access to justice is a priority for the Judiciary and its continuous efforts towards ensuring access to and delivery of justice for all Fijians.
He also assured the Human Rights Council that the independence and impartiality of the Judiciary is guaranteed under the Fijian Constitution and is in accordance with the United Nations Basic Principles on the Independence of Judges.
He further informed that the judicial officers undergo mandatory training in all aspects of their work and other related areas such as gender competence and children related issues.
The Director of Public Prosecutions Christopher Pryde clarified that there were no political prosecutions in Fiji and that it was the crime, not the individual or organisation, being targeted.
He also referred to the various guidelines that assist in the decision-making process to ensure that there is a reasonable prospect of a conviction including the Prosecution Code, including the Guidelines on prosecution of child sexual abuse cases to ensure that the best interests of the child is safeguarded.
The Commissioner of Police Brigadier-General Sitiveni Qiliho updated the Council on the progressive work of the Fiji Police Force in ensuring that the fundamental rights and freedom of Fijians are maintained and balancing rights with justifiable limitations is consistent with international law.
The Commissioner also highlighted the work of the Fiji Police Force in collaboration with the Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission, Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and Legal Aid Commission with respect to cases of human rights violations.
Director for Women Selai Korovusere highlighted Government’s efforts in strengthening gender equality and women’s empowerment in the areas of elimination of violence, gender and climate change, women in leadership and economic participation.
These include the various initiatives in response to sexual and gender based violence and Government’s strong partnership with CSOs, Faith Based Organisations and other stakeholders in this regard.
She also informed that Government is focusing on a coordinated effort of preventative measures in addressing gender based violence, and the implementation of strategies for a transformative institutional capacity development across Government.
The Acting Director for Legal Aid Commission Shahin Ali updated the Council on the various empowerments and awareness programs undertaken, in line with Government’s commitment to ensuring equal access to justice for all Fijians.
He further informed that the Legal Aid Commission has opened various branches in rural, remote and maritime areas to ensure better access to legal services.
Meanwhile, also attending the Review was the Director for Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination, Ashwin Raj.