9 Mar 2013

UN condemns video of two men brutally beaten in Fiji

9:05 am on 9 March 2013

The United Nations says it's shocked by the content of a video which has emerged over the past few days showing the apparent torture and inhuman and degrading treatment of two handcuffed men in Fiji.

A spokesman for the Office of the UN's High Commissioner for Human Rights, Rupert Colville, says while the circumstances surrounding the video have not yet been ascertained, the acts being carried out in it are clearly illegal, and they condemn them in the strongest terms.

The nine-minute video shows a handcuffed man being physically and sexually assaulted, beaten and humiliated by a group of men while lying helpless in the back of a pick-up truck.

The Fiji police authorities have stated they will seek to establish the facts in this case.

Mr Colville says they welcome this commitment, and urge the Fiji Government to ensure that the apparent serious human rights violations are swiftly and effectively investigated by an impartial and competent authority, and that the findings are made public.

He also says they call on the authorities to ensure that perpetrators - who are clearly visible in the video and should be easily identifiable -- are brought to justice.

He says the victims of the abuse must also have access to the necessary medical and psychological support, as well as redress.

Rupert Colville says the OHCHR's regional office for the Pacific, which is already working on torture prevention in the Pacific Island States, stands ready to assist the Fiji Government in their effort to eradicate torture and ill-treatment.

He says they will continue to follow this case closely as well as the outcome of the police investigations.