Malaita women leaders and mothers living in Honiara are greatly saddened and shocked by reports of alleged police brutality and violence on three young males in Honiara, last Saturday, November 27th, 2021.
In a letter to the Commissioner of Police, Mostyn Mangau, the spokesperson for the Malaita women leaders said that it is very disturbing to hear such reports after the excellent and tireless efforts of the Royal Solomon Island Police Force (RSIPF) to maintain law and order in Honiara over the past trying days.
It was alleged that on the morning of Saturday, November 27th, police handcuffed three teenage males, tied their arms and legs, and left them lying face down on the bare ground in the scorching sun outside of the Bishop Brother’s building at Ranadi.
“As mothers, it breaks our hearts to hear such stories of police brutality on children and youths which are unacceptable and must be stopped immediately,” Mrs. Sigimanu said and called on the Police Commissioner to urgently conduct an internal investigation into the matter.
She says that the Malaita women leaders and mothers understand the extreme stressful and trying happenings of the past few days, endured by the police, but this does not give the Officers, the right to inflict brutality and violence on suspects especially youth and children.
Such actions she says are totally against the rule of law which the police should be upholding.
She reminded the police to always exercise professionalism in all circumstances in their course of duty and must not let emotions dictate their work and added that although the Police Act gives them powers to apprehend suspects, such powers must be exercised reasonably, and not to subject suspects to acts of torture.
“The alleged acts of brutality and violence inflicted by the police are unconstitutional and an abuse of police powers,” the Malaita women leader’s spokesperson reiterated.
The Constitution provides the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law and cases must be tried according to due process where all individuals are treated fairly, so the police had no right to take matters into their own hands, Mrs. Sigimanu said.
Furthermore, she said that the Do No Harm principle must always be applied by the Police in situations of potential conflict, to avoid exposing people to additional risks through their actions
Solomon Islands is a party to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) after our government ratified the Convention in 1995. This means that the State must recognize and accord children and young people their right to protection and safety.
“What the police have allegedly done clearly shows their abuse of the rights of these children,” Mrs. Sigimanu stated.
She reminded the RSIPF officers of Christ’s teaching to love our enemies, bless those who curse us and pray for those who abuse us.
“To the implicated police officers, those children are our children and as mothers, we plead for compassion, empathy and the respect for the rights of young people and children, in the course of your duty in such cases as this, whilst awaiting legal process to take its course,” Mrs Sigimanu ended.
When contacted, police made this response today.
Police acknowledges these allegations and remind parents the situation has been very tense. Police asks that parents know where their children are and what activities they might be involved in. Complaints of this nature should be referred to our Professional Standard and Internal Investigation (PSII) to investigate further.