The information disclosed about sex offenders must be limited to what is necessary to promote public safety.
This was highlighted by the Director of Fiji Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission Ashwin Raj while making submissions on the Registration of Sex Offenders Bill to the Parliamentary Committee of Justice, Law and Human Rights.
Raj raised concerns regarding the issue of confidentiality and the right to privacy for the sex offenders on the register.
He stated that under Section 29 (1) (A) (B) it has strong confidentiality provisions which require that a person who is authorised to access the register must not disclose any information in the register unless the person is authorised by the Commissioner or permitted by the court of law.
He adds that Section 29 (2) (A) (B) requires that a person to whom personal information about a registered offender is disclosed must not disclose that information to any other person unless the disclosures made with the consent of the commissioner for the purpose of ensuring the safety and protection of the person otherwise permitted or required by a court of law or under any other written law.
Raj says this provisions protects those that are registered and their families against persons who may use the information in the registry to injure, harass or commit a criminal act to discriminate unreasonably.
He adds that this could include denial of housing, education and other necessary benefits against any person included in the registry.
Raj suggested that law enforcement agencies assigned to manage the Sex Offenders Registry must undergo compulsory human rights and ethics training to enhance the understanding of the human rights implications and this must include public awareness.
He says while the Bill requires that people who are 12 years of age and above who have been convicted of a sexual offence be registered as sex offenders the committee must consider whether the mandatory registration of young sex offenders fails to give proper consideration to the best interest to the children.
Fiji First MP Brij Lal stated that in the current Bill everyone is supposed to be registered and he further asked Raj’s view on having people registered after the Bill is passed and not the previous offenders.
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