Substantive compliance to Human Rights Commitments starts with No Impunity

20/02/2017

The NGO Coalition for Human Rights (NGOCHR) calls for an independent and thorough investigation into the death of Vikarant Nand. The Coalition affirms that justice for Vikarant’s death starts with an independent investigation with no impunity to those responsible for the care of Vikarant, who died under suspicious circumstances in custody.
“We welcome the Police Commissioner’s recent comments that an investigation has been directed with the hope that the investigation will be independent with no impunity to those responsible for Vikrant’s care in custody”, says Coalition Chair, Nalini Singh.

“The unfortunate death of Vikarant following an alleged beating by Police officers if not investigated thoroughly and allowed due process through the law will indicate Fiji’s invigorated attempts at Human Rights commitments hollow. Commitments such as compliance to our recent ratification of the United Nations Convention Against Torture (UNCAT), including Fiji’s continued campaign to become a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council,” Singh continued.

The Coalition acknowledges the recent efforts of the Police force to minimise the practice of arbitrary policing, with regards to continued training police officers have undertaken. Yet reiterates the need for substantive change within the Police force to eliminate arbitrary policing and a continued culture of violence that appears prevalent within State enforcement agencies, which has been highlighted in previous accounts and media footage of torture, circulated on social media and Amnesty International’s Fiji Torture report.

“We understand that Police officers potentially experience frustration when dealing with detainees but this recent death highlights a deep fracture that needs to be addressed. Further consideration should be made into efforts to improve Police Procedures when dealing with detained persons. The perceived notion of impunity can only change if efforts are made to substantively put into practice the Human Rights commitments made, with a strong reminder that Police officers are in service to the people- to serve and protect.
Furthermore, we look forward to the Fiji Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission closely scrutinising with impartial independence in their own investigations into this case,” Singh further remarked.

The Coalition reiterates the need for an independent investigation, of which the results should be made public; and a continued effort at eliminating torture and police brutality for Fiji to cultivate a culture of democracy that emphasises rule of law, accountability and equal protection of citizens’ human rights.

ENDS.

For further information contact Nalini Singh on +679 998-2221 or