Fiji joins the CTI Core Group of States!
CTI is pleased to announce that Fiji has accepted the invitation to become a CTI Core State, joining Chile, Denmark, Ghana, Indonesia and Morocco in working to reach universality of the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UNCAT) by 2024.
The decision was officially announced by Hon. Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama, Prime Minister of Fiji, on the first day of the 40th session of the Human Rights Council on 25 February 2019. In his intervention during the high-level segment, Hon. Prime Minister Bainimarama expressed that:
“Fiji is proud to join the CTI core group of Denmark, Chile, Ghana, Indonesia and Morocco to do our part in seeking the universal ratification of UNCAT”.
Fiji’s ratification of UNCAT in 2016 was influenced by the country’s willingness and commitment to putting an end to a previously deeply entrenched culture of violence and abuse. Regarding the country’s decision to ratify UNCAT, the Hon. Prime Minister Bainimarama said:
“We do not tolerate human rights abuses of any kind. They are legally and morally unacceptable. And we are determined to bring the perpetrators of such abuses to justice”.
Since 2016, Fiji has embarked on an impressive process of justice sector reforms, putting in place a series of measures to prohibit, prevent and respond to incidents of ill-treatment against persons in custody, including improving access to a lawyer and video recording of interviews. These reforms, which have prompted closer collaboration and communication between different sectors of the administration and Fijian society, stand as positive examples for Pacific as well as other countries.
As a leading Pacific Island nation, it is expected that Fiji’s membership in the CTI Core Group will expand the influence and reach of CTI in the Pacific, as well as in Geneva and New York with the community of Small Island Developing States. The South Pacific is a strategically important region for CTI, covering 25% of the remaining non-State-parties, and at the same time, a region with a growing number of States expressing interest in ratifying the UN Convention, to which CTI is ready to assist.
The CTI Ambassadors to the United Nations in Geneva of Chile, Denmark, Ghana, Indonesia and Morocco, warmly welcomed Fiji to the CTI, noting:
“Fiji’s path to UNCAT ratification and implementation combined with their generosity of hosting two CTI regional seminars* demonstrates their commitment to supporting our serious cause of eradicating torture worldwide. Fiji’s openness to sharing their experiences with other countries in the Pacific and beyond is to be commended. We look forward to working in partnership with Fiji.”
CTI, launched in 2014, is now made up of Chile, Denmark, Fiji, Ghana, Indonesia and Morocco, and is supported by a full-time Secretariat based in Geneva. CTI is based on constructive dialogue, international cooperation and technical assistance. CTI Group of Friends is a network based on cooperation, allowing for the exchange of knowledge, experience and ideas regarding how best to overcome obstacles to ratification and/or implementation. The CTI Group of Friends is currently made up of 41 UN Member States, along with international organisations, leading anti-torture NGOs and experts.
* The Government of Fiji kindly hosted two CTI regional seminars for Pacific States on UNCAT ratification and implementation, in October 2016 and, most recently, in February 2019. For more on Fiji, see CTI’s blog here.
For States interested in how the CTI can offer support, please contact the CTI Secretariat at firstname.lastname@example.org.