state of civil and political rights: Partly free
constitution: enacted on 25 July 1997; effective 28 July 1998
legal system: based on British system
legislative system: bicameral Parliament consists of the Senate and the House of Representatives
judicial system: Supreme Court, Court of Appeal; High Court; Magistrates' Courts
religion: Methodist majority; 34% Hindu; 7% Muslim
year of last executions: 0-0-0
death sentences: 0
international treaties on human rights and the death penalty:
Convention on the Rights of the Child
Statute of the International Criminal Court (which excludes the death penalty)
On 10 February 2015, Fiji joined the ranks of countries to abolish the death penalty for all crimes. The Parliament passed the bill amending the Republic of Fiji Military Forces Act (Cap 81) in order to remove the death penalty provision. The one-page amendment, introduced by Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, passed with 29 votes in favour, 1 vote against, 9 abstentions and 11 absent, despite strong statements by the opposition, claiming that the death penalty would deter its military from staging coups. The Attorney General told Parliament there was a growing international trend to remove the use of capital punishment from all laws and also referred to Fiji’s Constitution that every person had the right to life and must not be deprived of life. Sayed-Khaiyum added that the decision to introduce the bill was in line with an undertaking the Government gave the United Nations Human Rights Council during its human rights review in November 2014. “We gave an undertaking that we will remove any reference to the death penalty. That can be replaced by life sentence,” he said.
Fiji had abolished the death penalty for ordinary crimes in 1979 and removed the last references to the death penalty in its penal code and in the Crimes Decree in 2002. The only remaining reference to the death penalty existed in the Military Act, which referred to the UK Army Act of 1955 which had a provision on the death penalty.
The last execution took place in 1964, before the country became independent in 1970.
On December 19, 2016, Fiji for the second time voted in favor on the Resolution on a Moratorium on the Use of the Death Penalty at the UN General Assembly.