Permanent Secretary of Defence and National Security, Mr. Osea Cawaru
Deputy Commissioner of Police
Representatives of the Fiji Police Force
Members of the media
Ladies and gentlemen:
A very good afternoon to you all!
I’m happy to join the closing of this Regional Training of Trainers workshop on Investigative Interviewing and Video-Recorded Interviews.
At the outset, I wish to convey my deepest sympathies to the family of the former Deputy Police Commissioner, Mr. Isikeli Ligairi, and to the Fiji Police Force. I was saddened to hear of his untimely passing. I had the pleasure of meeting the Deputy Commissioner and he was instrumental in the development of the pilot of the First-Hour Procedure and Video-Recorded Interviews. He would have been very proud of the achievements of the Fiji Police Force in undertaking this training and, indeed, the launching of the Fiji Police Force posters and investigative interviewing knowledge tool.
This week’s workshop received a wide coverage in national media and social networks. The Fiji Police serve as the predominant initial point of contact for citizens in accessing justice, so the reporting gave Fijians a good opportunity to learn how the Police Force is going about the business of protecting their rights.
The initiative of the Fiji Police Force to conduct this regional training is highly commendable as it supports south-south cooperation and encourages peer-to-peer learning. This is a significant milestone for the entire Pacific region. Based on the feedback received from some of the participants, the training has been a worthwhile learning experience, particularly the opportunity to share knowledge, skills and best practices with colleagues and peers across the region.
The timing of this initiative was also fortuitous as it coincided with the launch of the Fiji Police Force posters and investigative interviewing knowledge tool.
I would like to recognize the foresight and leadership of the Fiji Police Force in upholding the principles of inclusion in its work, as was evidenced in the printing of the awareness materials in Braille, in addition to English, iTaukei, and Hindi languages. By working in partnership with the United Blind Persons of Fiji and the Fiji Association of the Deaf, the Police Force is holding true to its mission of service to all Fijians. This inclusive partnership approach is also in the spirit of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development that pledges to ‘leave no one behind’.
The Sustainable Development Goal 16 of the 2030 Agenda is fundamental in this regard as it puts forward the need to promote peaceful and inclusive societies based on respect for human rights, the rule of law and transparent, effective and accountable institutions. The collaboration of the justice sector stakeholders in Fiji, namely, the Judicial Department, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Fiji Police Force, the Legal Aid Commission, and Fiji Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission, has ensured that the institutions encourage accountability, honesty and transparency throughout the justice system. Their collaborative effort has also ensured progression of the pilot project, and indeed Fiji’s implementation of the UN Convention against Torture.
UNDP acknowledges the valuable partnerships created under its Pacific Security Sector Governance Project and with support from the British High Commission. The strong alliance of stakeholders working hand in hand and supporting each other gives us much confidence that further milestones will be reached in Fiji in protecting human rights and delivering access to justice to all citizens.
I would like to congratulate all the participants and the Fiji Police Force trainers on organizing a successful workshop, and wish all those returning home to Nauru, Tonga, Samoa, Vanuatu and other divisions in Fiji a safe and pleasant journey.
Tubwa, Malo, Faafetai, Tangkiu and Vinaka Vakalevu!