Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Fiji: You are not allowed to talk about torture

Last year, Fiji finally ratified the UN Convention Against Torture, almost thirty years after other countries had done it. At the time, they said they were goign to outlaw torture in Fiji. Instead, it seems they've outlawed protesting against it:

A man has been detained by Fiji police after making a lone protest march to mark the UN Day in support of Victims of Torture.

Jope Koroisavou was walking along the pavements of downtown Suva carrying banners with the names of men who have died in Fiji after alleged torture by the state.

The SODELPA youth wing leader was also carrying the Morning Star flag, used by supporters of West Papuan independence, which is banned in Indonesia's Papua region.

Mr Koroisavou's friend Viliame Waka said Mr Koroisavou was detained at the Suva central police station.

"Two guys came out of the 4x4 and took him. He was just crossing to cross and then the police came on the scene. He was alone. I thought it was really brave of him but ... plus today is a day of remembrance of all those who are tortured."

Viliame Waka said Mr Koroisavou was not disrupting traffic during his protest.

He has since been released, after two days of questioning, but it really makes you wonder about Fiji's commitment to ending torture - and to freedom of speech. After all, when you can't criticise the government for torturing people, what can you do?