The New Zealand Law Society is backing Amnesty International’s call for Fiji to crackdown on torture and brutality meted out by its police force and military.
Amnesty International has released a report called Beating Justice: How Fiji’s Security Forces Get Away With Torture, which says an “ingrained culture of torture” has taken root among Fiji’s security forces, who are seldom held account for their actions. The report details cases of beatings, torture and sexual assault against suspected criminals and escaped prisoners that have resulted in severe injuries or death.
“It is troubling that violence, beatings and torture continue to remain part of Fiji’s culture, in particular by the military and police,” says Law Society spokesperson Austin Forbes QC. “No one should be above the law, and perpetrators of human rights abuses need to be held to account.”
While the Fiji Government ratified the UN Convention Against Torture in March this year, the New Zealand Law Society says it now needs to step up its efforts to end brutality by its security forces.
“Although the Fiji Government has acknowledged police brutality and torture and said it is committed to ending such conduct, it must back up those words with action,” Mr Forbes says.
Mr Forbes says the Law Society supports Amnesty International’s recommendation that Fiji withdraws the armed forces from policing tasks and ensures there is independent oversight of complaints so that security officials responsible for torture are brought to justice.