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Raj: Need for use of force policy

Felix Chaudhary
Tuesday, February 27, 2018

FIJI needs strict guidelines for the disciplined forces to ensure that the rights and dignity of people taken into custody are maintained at all times, says Fiji Human Rights and Anti Discrimination Commission director Ashwin Raj.

"There is a need to have a use of force policy which dictates how much force disciplinary services can use to apprehend those that are alleged to have transgressed the law," he said.

"Any use of force must be proportionate, legitimate and necessary.

"You cannot break the law to uphold the rule of law.

"Fiji is both constitutionally obligated as well under international law to protect everyone from torture and other forms of cruel and degrading treatment."

Mr Raj made the comment in response to questions sent by this newspaper about an incident in Waikubukubu, Tavua, where nine youths were allegedly tortured and assaulted by police officers while being questioned about their involvement in the cultivation of marijuana.

A relative of one of the alleged torture victims claimed he had contacted the HRADC office three days after the incident took place.

He claimed that despite sending forms and medical certificates, nothing had eventuated from his complaint.

Mr Raj said if there was substance to the claim, he would ensure the issue was addressed with urgency.

"Should members of the public feel that the HRADC is not addressing their complaints about such allegations, I encourage them to please come forward and bring these matters to the attention of the director."

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