Fiji to remain suspended from Commonwealth
Published: 10:36AM Tuesday April 17, 2012 Source: ONE News
Fiji self-proclaimed Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama – Source: ONE News
Fiji remains suspended from the Commonwealth following a meeting in London of ministerial officials.
The Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) met last night to discuss the interim Frank Bainimarama led-government that has ruled the island nation since 2006.
Fiji was fully suspended from the Commonwealth in 2009, three years after Bainimarama overthrew the then government in a military coup.
The CMAG concluded Fiji could not be reinstated into the Commonwealth until it had restored democracy by holding elections and addressed pressing human rights and legal issues.
However, the group welcomed the recent announcement by the interim-government of a constitutional consultation process that may lead to elections by September 2014.
The interim government has promised the process will be inclusive, transparent, and conducted with integrity and honesty.
The CMAG, representing nine Commonwealth countries, also congratulated Fiji for lifting the public emergency regulation as a necessary step in the improvement of human rights.
However, the group said it was still concerned that restrictions on human rights remain under the Public Order Amendment Decree.
The law allows police to interfere if a group of three or more meet without prior government approval.
The group also expressed concerned that Fijians do not have adequate access to justice and are restricting by freedom of speech.