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35+ years of activism & feminism in Fiji

Published

19 May 2021

Author

Fiji Women's Rights Movement

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NGOCHR PR - Coalition calls out police harassment on persons with disabilities 19/05/2021

19th May 2021 

The NGO Coalition on Human Rights calls for a stop to police harassment on persons with disabilities living on the streets of Suva. 

Earlier this week, an alleged case of police harassment on persons with psychosocial disabilities living on the streets of Suva was flagged with the NGO Coalition on Human Rights (NGOCHR). It is beyond disgraceful to hear of police officers, sworn to uphold the law and protect the safety of all Fijians, belittling, degrading and treating persons with disabilities in such an inhumane manner. In this alleged incident, persons with psychosocial disabilities living on the streets of Suva were forced to jump off of the Suva seawall, one having his trousers removed and others being photographed without their consent. 

Just over a week ago, the Coalition had raised concerns over police officers utilising disproportionate and excessive force in detaining a suspect, an individual half their size. Today, it is another call out against police harassment of persons with disabilities. In fact, we are astounded and speechless at the height of disrespect and disregard of people’s fundamental human rights, and even more so for persons with disabilities who are among the most vulnerable groups in society. 

How many more cases of police harassment, bullying, and violence does the NGOCHR need to call out for the Fiji Police to take serious steps in addressing the issue? The attack on persons with disabilities living on the streets of Suva is yet another appalling display of the lack of commitment of the Fiji Police to upholding and respecting the human rights of all Fijians. 

The NGOCHR strongly reiterates the need for continued efforts towards the elimination of torture and brutality for Fiji and for the cultivation of a culture of democracy that upholds citizen’s human rights,  for no one should be above the law.

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The Members of the NGOCHR include the Fiji Women's Crisis Centre (FWCC), Fiji Women's Rights Movement, Citizens Constitutional Forum (CCF), femLINKPacific, Social Empowerment and Education Program (SEEP), and Diverse Voices and Action (DIVA) for Equality Fiji. Pacific Network on Globalisation (PANG) and Haus of Khameleon (HoK) are observers.