Top Fijian Envoy Tells Of Education Empowerment


Growing up in a family that had strongly believed in education, Fiji’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva Nazhat Khan was destined to achieve greater things in life. 

Being the third eldest of four daughters, Ambassador Khan grew up in a family that believed that through education women were destined to be good role models in society. 

“My parents were strong educationalists, especially for girls. They were also great readers, and encouraged us to fulfil our dreams for academic excellence.” 

“They also encouraged us to analyse information, and never to accept any view without exercising individual reason.”

A lawyer by profession, Ambassador Khan was admitted to the Bar of England and Wales at the Inner Temple in 1983, and later admitted to bar at the High Court of Fiji in 1984.
She completed her higher education at the Sussex University and Cambridge University in the United Kingdom. Serving as Fiji’s PRUN in Geneva, Ambassador Khan was always passionate of her work as a professional lawyer. 
“When I first became a judge, the sentencing practices of the courts tended to state the result without setting out how the judicial offices had reached that result.”
“I had studied the principles of sentencing when I had read for the Master of Philosophy degree at Cambridge, and worked with the other criminal judges to introduce those principles in the High Court in Fiji. When judges sentence in a principled and transparent manner, the executive is unlikely to restrict sentencing discretion. Governments will only interfere when the public is dissatisfied with the process of sentencing.”
Ambassador Khan also shared some of her achievements whilst working under Fiji’s judiciary, one of which was the introduction of sentencing principles, now enacted and protected under the Sentencing and Penalties Act 2009.
This was important for the protection of the independence of the judiciary and of the judicial discretion to sentencing offenders. Her contribution within Fiji’s judicial system was vast and she acknowledged the work of judges who contributed to the development of human rights jurisprudence in Fiji. 
“That work included a consideration of the rights of the child (both victims and offenders) in the courts, the relationship between the Bail Act and prison conditions, and the importance of ensuring access to justice for those who are vulnerable in society.”
“I still work with the judiciary on training especially on the link between international human rights law and the domestic courts. I am pleased also to conduct, for the judiciary, the Ethics and Etiquette at the Bar workshops for new legal practitioners, workshops which include discussions on gender equality and the Bar. The role of lawyers in protecting and furthering access to justice, on relationships with other lawyers, with judges and with the public.”
With her colourful career as a lawyer Ambassador Khan attributed her success to her parents and her high school teacher for encouraging her to further pursue her career as lawyer and all that she has achieved till today. Ambassador is married to Aslam Khan and has two children.