APT congratulates Fiji for ratification of the Convention against Torture
The APT congratulates the Government of Fiji for its ratification of the UN Convention against Torture (UNCAT) on Monday 14 March, in New York.
The Secretary General of the APT, Mark Thomson, said: “This ratification confirms the commitment of Fiji to the rule of law and to a just society for all its citizens.”
Since Fiji’s first appearance at the Universal Period Review of the UN Human Rights Council in 2010, the APT has been assisting the Government to implement the recommendation to ratify the UNCAT. The APT has been working at the invitation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to consider questions of ratification, and in 2013 convened a workshop among representatives from multiple government ministries to consider specific implications of UNCAT ratification. This was followed by a seminar for Fiji police officers responsible for training, in order to gauge the issues on police practice and procedures that would require particular attention to conform with the Convention’s obligations.
In 2015, the APT made a written submission to the Parliament of Fiji’s Ratification Committee in support of ratification and we have provided legal advice for the Attorney General’s Office on matters related to the Convention. Finally, just last week, the APT organised a visit of a group of Fijian lawyers to Geneva and London, to learn about the legal aid systems and police practices in the first hours of detention in Switzerland and the UK.
The APT looks forward to supporting the government, police, judges, prosecutors, other State actors and lawyers to reform practices and procedures so that they may conform with the treaty obligations. We are confident that Fiji will be a positive role model for other Pacific island States, who have still to ratify the UNCAT.
Romain Zappella (APT), Laurel Vaurasi, Roopesh Singh, Seema Chand and Shahin Ali visiting the Fiji High Commissioner H.E. Mr. Jitoko Tikolevu in London.