The NGO Coalition On Human Rights Calls For A Stop To Police Brutality In Fiji
A viral video has circulated online showing two police officers utilising disproportionate and excessive force in detaining the suspect, an individual half their size. In the video it shows the man’s head being pressed down on the ground, his arms being pulled back aggressively, being pepper sprayed in the eyes, and in one instance the man complained that he was being choked.
It is disturbing to watch the unreasonable force being used on civilians despite our many pleas for the authorities to uphold and respect the fundamental rights and freedoms of our citizens, even more so during arrests. Every Fijian’s right to be free from cruel and degrading treatment must not be compromised at any time.
There were also recent reports by the media of a man who was allegedly assaulted by eight police officers and a military personnel during a drug raid in Tukavesi, Cakaudrove last month.
Excessive force and brutality is unacceptable and violates our commitment to the United Nations Convention Against Torture. The right of every Fijian is guaranteed in the 2013 Fiji Constitution. The NGOCHR once again reminds our law enforcers and institutions that they are responsible for the protection and safety of all citizens and demands that more effort and emphasis is put towards upholding the rule of law and protection of our citizens’ human rights
Fiji is facing serious cases of human rights violations where the Police have used excessive force during arrests on individuals. The video is yet another disgraceful display of the lack of commitment of the Fiji Police in upholding and respecting human rights of Fijians.
In 2018, Fiji had its third review for the Universal Periodic Review and supported recommendations made in relation to promoting and raising awareness of human rights for the police officers. We must ensure that these recommendations translate into meaningful change to prevent such incidents of alleged police brutality of civilians.
The Coalition reiterates the need for continued effort at elimination of torture and brutality for Fiji and to cultivate a culture of democracy that upholds citizen’s human rights for no one is above the law.