Skip to main content

35+ years of activism & feminism in Fiji

Published

16 July 2020

Author

Fiji Women's Rights Movement

Themes

Press Release: Women's Rights Groups call out the Fiji Corrections Services 16/07/2020

Women's Rights Groups call out the Fiji Corrections Services 

16/07/2020

Women's human rights groups in Fiji are deeply disturbed and disappointed by recent comments from the Fiji Corrections Services on double standards for sportspeople convicted of rape.

The Fiji Corrections Services defended its position to allow athletes convicted of rape to participate in their respective sports despite them barely serving 1 year of their sentencing. According to the FCS spokesperson, the athletes have undergone rehabilitation and once they are considered, ‘low risk,’ are allowed to train and play sports in public.

femLINKpacific and the Fiji Women's Rights Movement are concerned about the implications of these comments and call for investigations into FCS and its remand and rehabilitation processes.

“It’s appalling that rapists and sexual offenders are considered ‘low risk’ by FCS. Sexual violence is a grave and heinous violation of human rights and this has been recognised by the Courts and justice system as well as the Fijian government,” said FWRM Executive Director Nalini Singh.

"This is an insult to victims and survivors of sexual violence and everyone who has been pushing to end violence against women. There have been efforts at the national level by government and across all sectors of society to eliminate sexual violence and yet the body tasked with the rehabilitation of criminals is reinforcing rape culture," she said.

FCS defended its position in response to the public outcry around the release of convicted rapist Amenoni Nasilasila to play rugby only 9 months after his sentencing. The 28-year-old was sentenced to eight years imprisonment with a non-parole period of six years by the High Court in Suva. This is the second time he was seen out training. He received media attention in October last year for training with a rugby team only five days after he was sentenced.

It is understood that he is not the first and that according to FCS, “nor will he be the last”; there are currently other inmates convicted for serious offences who have been picked to play rugby and other sports outside prison. FCS claimed that Nasilasila has been rehabilitated despite having only served less than 10 per cent of his full sentence.

“No one is above the law. There is a clear double standard for sports celebrities portrayed by FCS which is unacceptable and must be called out," said femLINKpacific Susan Grey.

The position that FCS has taken on convicted sports people highlights another concern with possible conflict of interest, as the Commissioner of Corrections, Francis Kean is also the Fiji Rugby Union Board Chair and affiliated with Namosi Rugby Union under which Nasilasila is expected to play.

"In a country where rape and sexual violence statistics have hit crisis level, what kind of message is FCS sending to the public? There is a lack of assurance that perpetrators of sexual violence are being held accountable.”

The FCS comments undermine its pivotal role in women’s access to justice and threaten the progress of attitudinal change towards gender equality and ending rape culture. The women’s rights groups reiterate that there must be a proper investigation on the existing rehabilitation policies at FCS and reform towards a human rights-based approach that ensures equal treatment for all.

ENDS

 For media queries please contact:

FWRM Communications Officer Maryann Lockington at 8677330 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.