Fiji Ratification Of UNCAT Welcome Move For Women

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Updating ‘archaic laws’ in line with modern international standards

By Nasik Swami

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, March 1, 2015) – Ratifying the United Nations Convention against Torture and other Cruel Inhumane and Degrading treatment will enable women in the country to live a life free from inhumane treatment.

That was the view of National Council of Women Fiji's general-secretary Fay Volatabu while welcoming Government's decision to ratify the UNCAT during her submission before Parliamentary Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence on Friday.

"NCW Fiji agrees that it is about time that we ratify UNCAT. We are after all a 21st century developed nation and within the next five years we will hold our place as the jewel in the Pacific so it is only right that we move our archaic laws to be in line with modern international standards," Ms Volatabu said.

She said women in the country would not be tortured if UNCAT was ratified.

"Ratification of the UNCAT is a welcome (move) for women because there will be no more inhumane and cruel treatment of our sister advocates like those who have suffered at the hands of local authorities in the political upheavals," she said.

She said ratification would mean never again would there be any justification for any kind of inhumane treatment such as those meted out to women sex workers.

"Ratification will mean that laws and judicial systems will be enacted to ensure the prevention of inhumane treatment and torture, like those experienced by our husbands, fathers, brothers and uncles during the political upheavals.

"Ratification will mean that all actions of tortures will be considered criminal and subsequent penalties will be appropriately meted out to suit the gravity of the crime," Ms Volatabu said.

Committee chair Netani Rika welcomed the views of Ms Volatabu and thanked her for her submissions.

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