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Advancing torture prevention: national workshop held with Fiji's NHRI and stakeholders

Graphic: National Workshop on Torture Prevention participants

Association for the Prevention of Torture LogoAssociation for the Prevention of Torture
Asia Pacific Forum LogoAsia Pacific Forum

As part of its ongoing commitment to strengthen the capabilities of its member NHRIs, the APF held a National Workshop on Torture Prevention in collaboration with the Fiji Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission (FHRADC) and the Association for the Prevention of Torture (APT).

The workshop, held from 27-28 November in Suva, Fiji, brought together representatives from the FHRADC and state institutions including the police, military, correction services, and immigration department. 

The workshop aimed to enhance participants' understanding of torture prevention under international law and human rights norms, including the legal and regulatory frameworks required to prevent torture. 

It also strengthened participants' practical knowledge and technical skills in NHRI functions as oversight mechanisms to prevent torture, including the role of National Preventive Mechanisms (NPMs). 

Additionally, the workshop provided a platform for FHRADC staff and other relevant state institutions to collaboratively identify common challenges in preventing torture in Fiji within legal, institutional, and contextual frameworks. Together, they developed actionable strategies to address incidents of torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatments in Fiji.

Graphic: National Workshop on Torture Prevention

The Méndez Principles and their key components and objectives in relation to conducting ethical and effective investigations, and how these principles have been successfully implemented in other countries, were also covered. 

The workshop was co-facilitated by Mr. Mark Thomson, Co-Chair of the Méndez Principles Steering Committee, Mr. Ben Buckland, Senior Advisor at the APT, and Dr. Ahmed Shahid, Acting Capacity Development Manager of the APF.

Discussions covered policies, legal safeguards and ethical interviewing, with consideration to Fiji's unique legal, cultural, and institutional landscape, emphasising legal reforms, training, cultural factors, and monitoring mechanisms to strengthen FHRADC's role in preventing torture and inhuman treatment.

The workshop also examined Fiji's obligations under the Convention Against Torture (UNCAT), which it ratified in 2016, and possible advocacy efforts towards ratifying its Optional Protocol (OPCAT). The implementation of OPCAT, NPMs' work, and associated challenges were also discussed. 

Date: 5 December 2023

Image credits

  1. National Workshop on Torture Prevention participants - APF
  2. National Workshop on Torture Prevention - APF