The National Workshop on Torture Prevention focused on the prohibition of torture and other forms of ill-treatment in places of detention.
The Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission (HRADC) conducted the workshop, in collaboration with the Association for the Prevention of Torture (APT) and the Asia Pacific Forum for National Human Rights Institutions (APF).
A total of 31 participants from different private and state institutions, including the Attorney-General’s Chambers, Corrections Service, FICAC, Immigration, Legal Aid Commission, Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, Police Force, RFMF, St. Giles Psychiatric Hospital, Social Welfare, and University Academics, attended the workshop.
The human rights and anti-discrimination chairperson, Pravesh Sharma, states that there is no stand-alone legislation in relation to torture in Fiji.
The participants considered a review of the current domestic legislation relating to torture and the possibility of specific stand-alone legislation.
The experts introduced the Mendez principles, which are a guide to providing an alternative to coercive and confession-based interrogations.
The Mendez Principles improve the results of investigations, fully respect human rights, and enhance trust in the state.
The commissioner also mentioned the possibility of establishing a national preventive mechanism through the ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture and Other Inhumane or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT).