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Wednesday 19 Sept, 18

SWITZERLAND, GENEVA – Commander Francis B. Kean, Commissioner of the Fiji Corrections Service, led the Fijian delegation at its side event on the application of the UN Minimum Standards on the Treatment of Prisoners, also known as the Nelson Mandela Rules, held in the margins of the 39th Session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland on 12 September.

The delegation also consisted of Fiji’s Chief Justice Anthony Gates, Director Legal Aid Commission, Mr Shahin Ali, Director Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission, Ashwin Raj, and Mr Philipp Meissner from the UN Office for Drugs and Crime.

Commissioner Kean highlighted the transformation journey of the Fiji Corrections Service, including its reform and rehabilitation efforts, stating that,

The call of duty for rehabilitation is a noble one, the business of saving and restoring lives is an honourable duty…a holistic approach to rehabilitation will require a whole of nation effort”.

The Commissioner spoke on the various reform initiatives undertaken by the Fiji Corrections Service and the importance of building strong partnerships with all relevant stakeholders. The Commissioner reassured the commitment of the Corrections Service in meeting the Nelson Mandela Rules, a journey that the Corrections Service has already embarked upon.

The Honourable Chief Justice Gates spoke on the judiciary’s application of the Nelson Mandela Rules and how this has helped shape and support prison reform.

Also speaking as panellists, the Legal Aid Commission and the Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission highlighted the importance of having access to prisons in ensuring that the rights of all persons guaranteed under the Fijian Constitution is respected and protected.

The UN Office on Drugs and Crime highlighted its work in promoting the practical application of the Nelson Mandela Rules in various jurisdictions including in terms of assessing compliance and raising awareness and further commended the Fiji Corrections Service for the various initiatives that have been implemented in Fiji.

The side event hosted by Fiji gained lots of traction and was well attended by various Ambassadors and members of the diplomatic community, civil society organisations, non-governmental organisations and the general public.

The Human Rights Council will conclude its 39th session on 28 September 2018.


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