13 May 2010

UN Representative is confident prisioner's death in Vanuatu will see action

8:17 am on 13 May 2010

The UN Special Rapporteur on torture says he's confident those responsible for the death of a prisoner in police custody in Vanuatu last year will be held accountable.

Manfred Nowak is in Vanuatu where a recent coroner's report into the death slammed the attitude and brutal actions of the police paramilitary unit, the Vanuatu Mobile Force.

While Vanuatu's government has just committed to signing the UN Convention Against Torture, it has come under criticism from Transparency International for its inaction over the coroner's recommendations for prosecution over the case.

Mr Nowak says this is the first reported case of a death caused by beatings and torture by Vanuatu police.

"There's a certain frustration that not quicker action has been taken but it doesn't mean that no further action will be taken. I am personally very encouraged by the statements that have been made (by government) in relation to this case. I'm fairly confident that it's not yet too late and that action will be taken to hold the persons responsible accountable."

The UN Special Rapporteur on torture, Manfred Nowak.