17 Sep 2002

Fiji's human rights commission seeks action over police brutality

5:47 pm on 17 September 2002

The Human Rights Commission in Fiji is seeking action from the police commissioner over further allegations of police brutality.

The manager of complaints, Chetan Lakshman, says they are meeting with the commissioner this week and want an undertaking that something concrete will be done after two brothers say they were brutally beaten by police.

The two Indo-Fijians, one of whom was robbed at gunpoint in Nepani, say four officers took turns to bash and verbally abuse them at Valelevu police station.

Mr Lakshman says the Human Rights Commission has been training police officers but the message doesn't seem to be getting through.

"Even just re-training, it does not help because people need to actually practice what is being given out to them. The change in attitude would need help, because once we go out and train people, and say OK if you do this you'll be breaching these rights, but it needs to stick with people and say we shouldn't be doing this."

Mr Lakshman says the recent allegations are not an isolated incident and there have been at least 15 complaints this year of police brutality.