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CSO’s called on to help change culture of violence

12:40 Fri Feb 17, 2017

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Report by: Maggie Boyle

Civil society groups gathered in Suva today for consultation on the ‘One Hour Procedure’ being piloted in two police stations in Suva.

The procedure ensures a person has access to a lawyer within an hour of arrest or detainment.

Any caution interview is also recorded on camera with their lawyer present.
Chief Justice Anthony Gates says while this program is long overdue, there is a need to address the wider issue of violence in Fijian society.

“To eradicate violence from our society, that is our noble aim I think and we’re more concerned with the first hour procedure to see that we’re removing violence from the investigation process. We’ve heard those comments made, ‘Well, we will get it out of him, ‘or ‘This is the only medicine they understand,’, well neither of those are right.”

The workshop facilitated by the Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission is one in a series of trainings to further strengthen the criminal justice system.

Commission Director – Ashwin Raj says it’s critical that civil society plays a part in developing the one hour procedure.

“In your capacity as the interlocutors between the community and the state, you bring an important voice to bear and particularly something which is close to my heart you know is the conversation around you know vulnerable groups.”

More than 12 CSOs were involved in the workshop.

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