26/01/18

NGOCHR: There Must Be No Impunity for Sexual Offences

The Fiji NGO Coalition on Human Rights condemns all acts of sexual offences and welcomes the launching of a police investigation into recent allegations. The group is responding to allegations of sexual offence by police officers that was reported by a sex worker. 

“We welcome the Fiji Police Sexual Offences Unit’s response to these allegations, in launching an investigation. This is important because the authorities bear the responsibility for ending impunity for sexual offences – it is a crime and an extremely serious violation of human rights. There must be justice for the victim,” said Coalition Chair, Nalini Singh.

A sexual offence is the worse form of physical and psychological infringement of a person’s life.  There should be a transparent and independent investigation by the Fiji Police Force in this case involving police officers. The involvement of a sex worker should not be a deterrent to take the matter seriously. 

As publicized during FWRM’s “It’s Not OK: Stop Sexual Harassment Campaign” last year it was noted that of the women who had experienced sexual harassment in the workplace; 25% were working in the public service industry.

In a recent study done by FWRM “Balancing the Scales: Improving Fijian Women’s Access to Justice” revealed that 45 out of the 49 women interviewed had gone to the Police and of these women only half of them had felt safe in the Police Station and 8 said the Police had sexually harassed or threatened them.

The 2016 Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) Rape and Sexual Offenses Statistics, as revealed by FWRM’s Balancing the Scales: Improving Fijian Women’s Access to Justice research report shows that:

  • Rape accounts for 71% of the sexual assault cases prosecuted.
  • Of these rape cases:

59% of victim/ survivor is a child (under 18 years of age)

23% are living in a domestic relationship with the offender

  • The overwhelming majority of sexual offences prosecuted (95%) are committed by adults.
  • Two thirds of the victims of sexual offences prosecuted (64%) by the DPP are children under the age of 18.

In November 2017, the ODPP released its monthly statistics whereby 3 police officers were charged with rape. This behavior by police is unwarranted and will not be tolerated.

For more information contact the NGOCHR Chair Nalini Singh on 9982221 or Secretary Menka Goundan on 9982283

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