Bill Introduced To Remove Death Penalty For Fiji Military Forces

admin's picture

Amendment to RFMF Act to align with 2013 Constitution

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, Feb. 9, 2015) – A bill to amend the Republic of Fiji Military Forces Act (Cap 81) with a view to remove the death penalty provision will be debated and voted on in the Fijian Parliament in two days' time.

This after a motion by the Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum to expedite the process, by not referring the bill to a standing committee or other committee in parliament, was favoured by majority vote - of 21 For over 14 Against - today.

He moved that the bill be debated upon with each side of the house given two hours to debate on the one-page amendment that seeks to remove the capital punishment and align it with all laws of the country including the 2013 Constitution which provides that every person has the right to life.

Sayed-Khaiyum said the decision to introduce the bill was in line with an undertaking the Government gave the United Nations Human Rights Council during its human rights review last year.

"We gave an undertaking that we will remove any reference to the death penalty. That can be replaced by life sentence," he said.

"Given the fact, that we now need to be in Geneva to give a stock take of all undertakings we had given given last year, we need to be able to go back and tell them all these boxes we said we would tick we have ticked it otherwise we wil be short on our undertaking, and we don't want to be short on our undertakings.

"This is why we are seeking an expedited process of this bill - a simple amendment to remove the death penalty to ensure no contradiction to Section 8 of the Constitution and assure the UN Human Right Council so we'd like this amendment carried out."

Removing the death penalty was one of 137 recommendations put to the Fijian Government by UN Human Rights member states during its human rights review in Geneva in November last year.

Of these, the Fijian Government delegation accepted 98 of which 12 it said then was already being carried out.

The Fijian delegation did not provide responses to 39 other recommendations, and was been given no later than the 28th session of the Human Rights Council in March this year to do so.

Meanwhile, Fijian Opposition National Federation Parliament member Tupou Draunidalo suggested that a decision on amending the act is not rushed saying that keeping such "harsh things" intact doubles as a deterrent to future coups.

Rate this article: 
No votes yet

Add new comment