Govt Com­mit­ted To En­sur­ing Ac­cess To Jus­tice, says A-G

Fiji Sun - - Fiji Today - ASHNA KUMAR Edited by Maraia Vula Feed­back: ashna.kumar@fi­

Gov­ern­ment is com­mit­ted to en­sur­ing ev­ery Fi­jian has ac­cess to jus­tice in the real sense, says At­tor­ney-Gen­eral Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum. Speak­ing at the sign­ing cer­e­mony and launch of the Euro­pean Union – Fiji Ac­cess to Jus­tice Pro­gramme, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said real ac­cess did not mean a per­son need­ing to travel from Raki­raki to Suva for le­gal aid as­sis­tance. One of the first things Gov­ern­ment fo­cused on from early on was open­ing up of more le­gal aid of­fices around the coun­try. Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said merely hav­ing a Par­lia­ment, a ju­di­ciary and le­gal aid did not mean peo­ple had real ac­cess to ju­di­ciary. He said their com­mit­ment was to en­sure that the ser­vice de­liv­ery sys­tem was in a tan­gi­ble and prac­ti­cal man­ner reach­ing out to ev­ery Fi­jian it was sup­posed to reach.

“It was ridicu­lous to ex­pect a per­son liv­ing in Raki­raki to travel all the way to Suva or to Lau­toka to get the ac­cess to some le­gal aid in­for­ma­tion. It was ridicu­lous for some­body liv­ing in Tave­uni to go all the way to Labasa or come to Suva to get ac­cess to le­gal aid in­for­ma­tion. It is ridicu­lous for some­body who is liv­ing in Lau to wait for 18 months for his or her case to be heard. “That sit­u­a­tion has changed”. While thank­ing the Euro­pean Union for their as­sis­tance, Mr SayedKhaiyum said the EU has demon­strated that it is very much part and par­cel of the way of think­ing that Gov­ern­ment has. Gov­ern­ment also put in place poli­cies whereby now any­one want­ing to have their will made, can do so through a le­gal aid of­fice. Mr Sayed-Khaiyum stressed that the ac­cess to jus­tice pro­gramme be im­ple­mented in an apoliti­cial man­ner.

Photo: DEPTFO News

From left: Head of del­e­ga­tion of the Euro­pean Union, Am­bas­sador An­drew Ja­cobs, So­lic­i­tor-Gen­eral Shar­vada Sharma, At­tor­ney-Gen­eral Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and Chief Jus­tice An­thony Gates at the Grand Pa­cific Ho­tel, in Suva yes­ter­day.

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