Does the constitution protect police officers?

Acting Commissioner of Police, Ravi Narayan, has announced that he’s terminated the services of Mr Ligairi for insubordination. We are told that he used his powers under the Constitution to terminate the services of his deputy.

Under Section 129 (7) of the Constitution the Commissioner is empowered “To remove persons from the Fiji Police Force”.

That all sounds very clear, but what about all the protections the constitution is supposed to provide for every individual.

Section 16 of the constitution says “every person has the right to executive or administrative action that is lawful, rational, proportionate, procedurally fair, and reasonably prompt”. It sounds like Deputy Commissioner Ligairi should be protected but the constitution also says the right to fairness is “Subject to the provisions of this Constitution and such other limitations as may be prescribed by law”.

In other words it is worthless. The Executive can do whatever is wants. A policeman does not have the right to decisions by a Commissioner which are rational, proportionate or procedurally fair because the constitution gives the Commissioner the over-riding power “to remove persons from the Fiji Police Force”. The normal protections any police officer should expect as a citizen are subject to this sweeping power.

It’s like the protection of freedom of speech. Our right to freedom of expression is subject any laws the regime may make “for the enforcement of media standards and providing for the regulation, registration and conduct of media organisations”.

This constitution, which no-one other than the unelected Attorney General and PM has had a say in, has been carefully designed by the two of them to keep their iron grip.

Croz walks the barbed wire tight-rope

No-one who knows him doubts that Crosbie Walsh is an intelligent man but his faculties of perception so filter the world on the way to his brain that he winds up with a view of the world which is difficult to reconcile with intelligence.

His discovery in late 2013 that the military which has ruled Fiji for seven years is mono-ethnic illustrates the peculiar nature of his faculties of perception. The military has not changed. Its ethnic composition is nothing new. And, besides, aren’t we all Fijian now, there are no more ethnic differences, so what does it matter?

Yet it does matter to Croz. The ethnic profile of the military, he says, should reflect the ethnic composition of the society. He is cagey about why this should be the case but eventually comes out with it – “An almost totally ethnic Fijian military cannot inspire confidence among Indo-Fijians and other ethnicities, and in situations where the military (or police) has to intervene, Indo-Fijians in particular will feel doubly threatened.”

Is he saying that Indo-Fijians don’t have confidence in the military government which has run the country for the past seven years? That would be quite a change for Croz.

Does Croz reject the proposition that Indians just don’t want to join the military? There is no formal bar, so what more is needed? Affirmative action? Not usually short of an opinion on anything, Croz seems to be holding back.

It’s as if the obvious truth of the regime has almost made its way into the brain of Croz, only to be thwarted by a brick wall. A government which replaced the Qarase Government, by whatever means, must be legitimate, even if it is illegal, incompetent, high-handed and defies all standards of transparency.

Or, to revert to my original metaphor: how long can Croz continue to walk this barbed wire tightrope?

Bainimarama’s transparency

When Bainimarama seized power in 2006 he kept talking about ‘transparency’. Since then he’s hidden everything his Government does and banned the media from reporting anything critical of his actions.

But the latest draft of the proposed Constitution makes his motives very clear for all to see.

The 1997 Constitution, which Bainimarama scrapped, said: “The President is the Commander-in-Chief of the military forces.”

The first draft produced by Sayed-Khaiyum working to Bainimarama’s orders was very similar: “The Prime Minister is the Commander-in-Chief of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces.”

The powers are the same but the office that holds them has been changed. Bainimarama wanted to keep the powers of the Commander in Chief for himself. Now that IS transparency.

It seems that Bainimarama’s motives were so transparent that they created a lot of unrest in the RFMF. The proposal that Bainimarama would be their PM and their Commander in Chief left no-one in any doubt that his only aim was to hang on to power.

The new Constitution gives the role of Commander in Chief to the President, but makes a big change in what that role means.

Now we have “The President shall perform the ceremonial functions and responsibilities as the Commander-in-Chief of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces.” In other words he is just a uniform standing on a podium to take salutes.

The Commander will exercise all his powers under the direct orders of the Government, which will be headed by Bainimarama.

Bainimarama has not forgotten the undermining, insubordination and plotting that made him Commander and Thief.

Time for affirmative action

In the days before the Bainimarama coup we used to talk about affirmative action. It meant assisting indigenous Fijians overcome obstacles which made it harder for them to enter business or gain access to higher education. The 1997 Constitution tries to make sure that this was done in an open and transparent manner.

Is the time ripe now for us to talk about affirmative action for Indo-Fijians to join the RFMF? At least let us be open about what those obstacles are.

Ask an RFMF officer why there are so few Indo-Fijians in the army and he’ll no doubt say that they don’t want to join. They’re happier in business. We all know this is nonsense. The RFMF has some of the best jobs going in our devastated economy.

Ask any Indo-Fijian who has tried life in the RFMF and they’ll tell you it is a stifling mono-ethnic culture. If you’re not an officer, life is not easy, especially if you don’t speak na vosa vakaviti.

Affirmative action doesn’t mean lowering standards or making it easier for some people to join than others. It means taking action to ensure that no-one who could become an effective soldier faces unnecessary obstacles on the path to becoming a member of the RFMF.

The 1997 Constitution allows Parliament to make laws designed to overcome disadvantage in equal access to “all levels and branches of service of the state”. This includes “special measures ….for the purpose of achieving substantial equality between different groups or different categories of people”.

Can anyone say there is “substantial equality” between iTaukei and Indo-Fijians in the make-up of the RFMF?

This is a perfect opportunity for the Interim Government to show that its vision for Fiji is more than empty propaganda designed to give a naked seizure of power respectability it doesn’t deserve.

The safety of our boys on the Golan Heights

The speed of the decision to send in over 500 RFMF personnel to fill the gap left by the pull-out of Austrian and Philippines troops has left many people stunned.

Bainimarama didn’t really have the troops needed to fill the job, but he’ll do anything to show that he has international acceptance. He jumped without any proper assessment of risks. He knew that the other troops pulled out because of risk, but that didn’t put him off.

The troops will need to be very well equipped in this dangerous environment but Bainimarama is still trying to scrape up equipment from the Russians after the first contingent departed.

RFMF people are putting out the story that our boys are well known in the area and much respected. And it’s not just the goons of the media cell saying this. It’s a wide spread feeling.

They say Michael Field is showing his ignorance when he says using Russian equipment will expose the troops to risk because the Russians are seen as aligned with the Assad regime. When the RFMF were deployed since 1978 they started with US equipment but that didn’t make any impression on the Amal or the Hizballah at all.

Let’s hope that the rebels who are fighting a life and death war with the Assad regime have the same view of the RFMF.

The fact is that we don’t know what risks the RFMF face. Bainimarama didn’t make the decision based on risk to his troops. Risk to his own backside had more to do with it.

Back in 1978 Cabin Boy Bainimarama would have been making cups of tea for Commander Brown or swabbing the decks of the boto idincavu that was our navy at the time. He knows nothing and cares even less for military operations and the risks they pose to real soldiers.

Let’s hope the RFMF optimists are right because a lot of lives are at stake.

The only way to end coup culture

There’s been a lot of talk about what we need to do to prevent coups.

Some see a strongly written constitution as the answer. If we define ‘coup’ carefully enough, so no-one can pretend that they’re not committing a coup (like Bainimarama in 2006) or add in the death penalty, then no-one will be able to stage a coup. I’m not sure if anyone really believes that the coup in 2006 was not illegal under the laws of the day, but even if they do, what about 2009? How can that be anything other than treason?

Others say we’ve got to end ‘coup culture’, whatever that means. Bainimarama himself is one of the people claiming that there must be an end to coup culture, and that’s just what he says he’s doing. Anyone smarter than him would see how ridiculous that is.

If coup culture means anything, it means that some people think treason is OK if you’re cause is good. And Banimarama has given out strong hints that if the voters don’t return a government committed to his ‘reforms needed to end coup culture’ he might be ‘forced’ to takeover again. So much for what he means by ending coup culture.

By now everyone but the few people with their snouts in the regime trough is heartily sick of coups. With the exception of a few diaspora people still twisted out of shape by the trauma of 1987 and the years following, the regime has alienated everyone – the Methodist Church, the sugar industry, the legal profession, the media, the tourism industry and the trade union movement.

The only support base the regime has is the military, their families and assorted hangers-on, all with with shady dealings based on access to the regime’s control of the levers of government.

The regime’s control of government is based solely on the military’s monopoly of armed force and unless we find a way to end this there will be no change. If the military want to intervene, what can we do to stop them? They have the guns, we don’t. If ending coup culture means anything it means changing the culture of the military.

Reading Victor Lal’s article about the Defence White Paper on Fiji Leaks yesterday, the answer finally dawned on me. We need to change the culture of the RFMF and the way to do that was contained in the White Paper – affirmative action to get a little more ethnic balance in the ranks.

It needs to be understood that affirmative action doesn’t mean lowering the fitness requirements (though heavens knows what they are when we look at the big bellies like Tikoitoga). It means removing obstacles of all kinds to recruitment and retention of of people who are not iTaukei or part iTaukei.

Indo-Fijians have always been free to join the military, but few do because the experience of those who do is so off-putting. It’s brutal in a way that even soft urban iTaukei might struggle to cope with. The culture is that of nineteenth century British traditions amplified through the prism of iTaukei culture. And it’s hard to escape the suspicion that the rigours of this system might be turned up a notch or two for the new Indo-Fijian recruit (for motives that are probably mixed, but could easily include a hint of racism).

The RFMF’s standard answer has long been to say Indo-Fijians all want to be officers and drop out if they aren’t accepted into officer training, but this is a cop-out. There are many Indo-Fijians who are able and willing to serve in the RFMF, as officers and other ranks.

A truly non-racial military would enrich the culture of the RFMF. The streak of authoritarianism that runs through the RFMF culture would be balanced by more diverse values. It would no longer have the feel of a closed club responsible only to itself.

We have long had a culturally diverse police force. So why can’t we have a diverse military? Bainimarama could have taken steps to achieve this, but he didn’t and the reason is not hard to work out. A culturally diverse military would not serve so easily as Bainimarama’s coup machine ready to follow him without question and throw out any elected regime that threatens to remove him or hold him responsible for his crimes.

The way to end coup culture is to change the culture of the RFMF.

The Military Council must Act to Oust Khaiyum and Restore the Rule of Law – CFDFiji.org

The recent spate of controversies including the shocking revelations from Justice William Marshall QC and the imminent crisis of massive redundancies that would occur once the US sanctions kicks-in; the Military Council has a solemn duty to act and oust Aiyaz Saiyed Khaiyum from Office of the Attorney General. 

In April 2009, Khaiyum deceptively advised the Military Council to abrogate the 1997 Constitution by taking advantage of the ailing late President Ratu Josefa Iloilo contrary to the pathway set out by the Fiji Court of Appeal for the return of democratic rule. The devious plan of Khaiyum was a self-serving charade of creating a so-called new legal order away from Commodore Bainimarama’s set commitment to the international community within the 97 Constitution. The Khaiyum plan was completely divorced from the original President’s mandate which necessitated the preservation of the 1997 Constitution. His plan was to ensure his long haul in power as Attorney General.  Seemingly, calculative and cunning plot to entrap the Commodore hopelessly beyond the point of return so that he can prolong his stay.

In it lies the ultimate betrayal of the military council’s commitment to return to early elections and a conspiracy to disenfranchise the people of Fiji of their political rights for a very long time. It is little wonder that his father Sayed Khaiyum is seeking to have the 2014 General Elections delayed to 2020.

By 2010, Khaiyum settled in his position neatly surrounded by a small group of leeches who were in it for rewarding contracts and consultancies. He went on a rampage of churning out decrees that starting to occupy public space with media under his tight control through censorship. He then started to weaken the Military Council by plotting against senior military officers who were continuously advising the Commodore to remain committed to the pledge made to the Pacific Forum and the European Union in 2007.

By August 2010, his venom had infiltrated the Council with me and Brigadier General Pita Driti accused on plotting a coup which was really a smokescreen to weaken the military council and make him the exclusive advisor to the Commodore. Sadly he succeeded.

Three and half years after the abrogation of the Constitution; Khaiyum has silenced most of the critics on trumped up charges, created a self-censoring media, stripped the workers of Fiji of their fundamental internationally accepted rights through  the essential services decrees and is gaping like an owl to see the aftermath.  It should be clear to all now that Khaiyum and his group of advisers have hijacked the President’s Mandate and the Appeals Court Ruling for their own selfish agenda.  Fiji has been under the destructive and divisive policies while the military council has been administratively incapacitated.

The nation’s debt has climbed from $2.3 billion 2006 to $4 billion in 2012. Investments are all time low at 2% of GDP and inflation running in double digits. Some 9,000 graduates are jobless and 11,000 pensioners stripped off the benefits by 50%.  Poverty has climbed to unprecedented level while the regime refuses to accept Wages Council’s Chair Father Kevin Barr’s forth recommendation to lift wages. Hospitals around Fiji don’t have morphine and other basic medicine but the health minister lectures people on their responsibility.

Law and order has shaken the fabric of the nation whilst hangers-on are having cocktail on beer budgets. 15,000 jobs will be lost soon and the regime is now befriending the rogue nation of Iran which  wants Israel eliminated.  Police officers enjoy the proceeds of crimes and prefer to sort their differences out in the night club intoxicated from the stolen cash. The nation has really been brought to its knees and it’s time for action.

It is time now for the Military Council to assert its rightful place and wrestle the control away from Khaiyum and his small group of self-serving individuals to avert the looming crisis of unparalleled magnitude which will lead Fiji into abyss of poverty never seen in her history.  We have seen enough and the curtain must fall on the satanic verses chanted by Khaiyum against the people of Fiji.

The Military Council must act now.

Ratu Tevita Uluilakeba Mara
Council for a Democratic Fiji
Cfdfiji.org

Fjiileaks website joins blog ranks to take on illegal regime in Fiji

Fijileaks: You could sent to it confidential documents: fijileakseditor@gmail.com

Fijileaks: It also means since the 2006 coup Fiji has been sinking deeper and deeper into mess

Cartoon: It speaks for itself – dictator trying to keep afloat from the mess he has created since 2006

The Crumpled Document: It reveals his fraudulent back-pay of $185,000.

There are many others in his back-pocket – to be revealed soon on Fijileaks

Keep blogging on Fiji Today.

Vinaka vakalevu, to all.

Read on:

http://www.fijileaks.weebly.com

http://www.fijileaks.weebly.com/blog

Media Release – Statement on the Melanesian Spearhead Group meeting in Suva, March 2012 – CFDFiji.org

Statement by Ratu Tevita Uluilakeba Mara, representing the Council for a Democratic Fiji on the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) meeting in Suva, March 2012

Nukua’lofa, Tonga: Thursday 29th March 2012

Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama is bringing shame and dishonour to the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) by continuing to act as its chairman. He should be disqualified from the chair’s role because he is in breach of all the MSG’s founding principles. The leaders of Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands are obliged to explain to the South Pacific and the world why they tolerate a brutal military dictator as their MSG leader. Can they not see that they have allowed themselves to be compromised by endorsing Commodore Bainimarama as the MSG chair?

The MSG and Melanesian solidarity are devalued if they become a vehicle for serving the interests of one desperate individual heading a regime that has been declared illegal.

The CFDFiji calls on the MSG leaders to actively encourage Commodore Bainimarama to immediately abandon his present mission of dictatorship which is having such a disastrous effect on Fiji. The CFDFiji invites the MSG to employ Melanesian methods of consensus and peace building in an effort to restore legitimate government to Fiji. If it does not do this it is betraying the people of an MSG member state.

Commodore Bainimarama has no legal legitimacy because he came to office through a military coup in 2006. He clings to power to escape the serious legal consequences of his actions including crimes of violence and abuse of human rights. All his talk about reforms and modernization and Melanesian solidarity is just a sham, a scam and a cover up. His so-called plan for elections in 2014 is already showing signs of becoming yet another act of deception.

The agreement establishing the MSG requires its member states to respect human rights and democracy based on the rule of law. It emphasises that democratic principles are universally recognized underpinning the organization of a state to ensure the legitimacy of its authority and the legality of its actions.

Commodore Bainimarama continues to rule Fiji in violation of democracy and instead has suppressed our people with threats and acts of force and through the imposition of oppressive decrees. He has destroyed the independence of the judiciary.

Already Commodore Bainimarama’s destructive influence is at work through his promotion of the idea that the MSG states are more important than smaller regional countries because they have bigger populations. This is against all the rules of equality that govern international and South Pacific affairs. It is an example of Commodore Bainimarama employing wedge politics to further his own ends.

He has made a mockery of the Melanesian culture, tradition and values that he is supposed to uphold. These values include the rights of indigenous peoples and communities. Commodore Bainimarama does not uphold these rights if they are in conflict with his own priorities.

When he was in Vanuatu recently he accepted a chiefly title conferred by an indigenous community. On his return to Fiji he abolished the Great Council of Chiefs that has played a key role in the country as a symbol of indigenous identity, traditions and customary law. He acted against the GCC because it had refused to recognise his regime. This is typical of the hypocrisy that marks so many of Commodore Bainimarama’s actions.

Ratu Tevita Uluilakeba Mara
For the Council for a Democratic Fiji
Cfdfiji.org

Please see the following link for a full copy of the Media Release.

Open Letter to Professor Yash Ghai – CFDFiji.org

Dear Professor Ghai,

RE: YOUR CHAIRMANSHIP OF THE FIJI CONSTITUTION COMMISSION

I am writing to you to express, on behalf of the Council for a Democratic Fiji, my most respectful but grave concern regarding your acceptance of the above Chairmanship.

I must firstly explain the nature of the Council, on whose behalf I am writing to you.

The Council, as its name implies, is dedicated to the restoration of democracy in Fiji. It is a very widely based organisation having amongst its stakeholders the two major political parties who garnered the overwhelming majority of votes cast in the last democratic election held in Fiji, the Methodist Church of Fiji, the Fiji trade union movement, and the Fiji Democracy Movements worldwide.

I attach for your information marked “A”, a release issued following the first meeting of the Council in Auckland, which elaborates further upon the nature of the organisation.

The Council is concerned for the implementation of a return to democracy in accordance with the principles set out by the Fiji Court of Appeal in Qarase v Bainimarama 2009 FJCA 57, 20009 3 LRC 614. I am certain that a distinguished jurist of your stature would be familiar with those principles.

The Council, as I have said, is respectfully but gravely concerned at your acceptance of the Chairmanship of the Constitutional Commission.

There are two reasons for this stance – firstly, that the very purpose of the creation of the Commission – the creation of a fresh Constitution and supplanting of the current Constitution by the creators – appears to be incompatible with the principles set out in Qarase’s case and also with the principles set out in another seminal Fiji decision with which I am sure you are equally familiar, that of the Fiji Court of Appeal in Republic of Fiji v Prasad 20001 FJCA 2, Abu 0078 200S. The said purpose is both illegal and unconstitutional in light of the above decisions, and, that purpose being illegal all steps for the effectuation of that purpose are equally illegal and unconstitutional.

The second reason for this stance is simply that the very process proposed for the doing of the Commission’s work appears having regard to the history of the current regime and the militarisation by it of Fiji life, to inevitably be destined to be other than democratic, in other words, having regard to the history of the regime and its proclivities and the militarisation created by it, due and proper consultations by stakeholders would in any event be impossible, even if the exercise in question is treated as valid. (Which it is not).

Full copy of the letter continued here.

Fiji will pull out of the Wellington Sevens tournament……(cos they wont give me a visa) ….Colonel Tikoitoga

Fiji rugby boss labels NZ sanctions absurd

Posted at 03:17 on 31 August, 2011 UTC

The chair of Fiji’s Rugby Union says New Zealand’s policy excluding members of the military from sports events is absurd, and he will no longer subject his players to it.

The New Zealand Government has declined Colonel Mosese Tikoitoga’s visa application to attend the Rugby World Cup, because he is a member of the military.

Colonel Tikoitoga says Fiji will miss out on vital development opportunities if he is not in New Zealand.

He says he told the New Zealand authorities, in his visa application, that he would be attending meetings with the IRB, as well as watching rugby.

“It is absurd to think that anybody has to give up his power of earning, or power of living, or power of employment, just to come and play rugby in New Zealand. It is not only absurd, but I think it is a stupid policy. And I cannot subject our players to that every time we want to come and play in New Zealand.”

Colonel Tikoitoga says if the sanctions remain, Fiji will pull out of the Wellington Sevens tournament.

News Content © Radio New Zealand International
PO Box 123, Wellington, New Zealand

Lieutenant Colonel Mosese Tikoitoga says he can’t comment until he’s read the reports of sexual intimidation, harassment, assault and rape of men and women by military personnel……

Wikileaks allege rape by military in post-coup Fiji

Posted at 01:39 on 29 August, 2011 UTC

Women who say they were subjected to sexual assault by members of Fiji’s military remain traumatised by their experiences after the 2006 coup.

Leaked cables from the United States Embassy have documented cases of rape and sexual assault by military personnel.

Sally Round reports.

“The Wikileak reports are unearthing events so traumatic for those involved, women’s rights activists are reluctant to speak publicly. The cables from Suva to Washington allege at least one group of detainees was forced to engage in group sexual acts and the military used rape threats by phone as a method of intimidation. One woman activist spoken to by Radio New Zealand International has listed allegations involving sexual intimidation, harassment, assault and rape of men and women by military personnel, in the months after the 2006 coup. She says the alleged acts have not been reported to police for fear of retaliation and the trauma involved. Social stigma also contributes to a low rate of reporting sexual crime in Fiji. Fiji’s military spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Mosese Tikoitoga says he can’t comment until he’s read the reports.”

News Content © Radio New Zealand International
PO Box 123, Wellington, New Zealand

Its Official!………Lieutenant Colonel Mosese Tikoitoga has a sense of humour.

NZ government turns down visa request from Fiji rugby chief

Posted at 01:49 on 29 August, 2011 UTC

The New Zealand government has turned down a request by Fiji’s Lieutenant Colonel Mosese Tikoitoga to attend the Rugby World Cup.

Colonel Tikoitoga who’s also Chairman of the Fiji Rugby Union has been farewelling the Fiji team on its departure this morning still waiting to hear about his own visa.

New Zealand’s Foreign Minister Murray McCully says the visa application was immediately declined when it was received last week under a ban on allowing Fiji regime members into New Zealand.

He says another rugby official with links to the regime has also had his application refused.

“I regret that we haven’t been able to see some movement on things in Fiji which would have enabled us to make more progress in the way in which we deal with these things but the sanctions are there for a reason and banned means banned.”

Mr McCully says the visa refusal should have been communicated to Colonel Tikoitoga before now.

News Content © Radio New Zealand International
PO Box 123, Wellington, New Zealand

Reported torture of 12 year old. Being held down and having your fingers broken for graffiti is obscene.

FijiToday has been reliably informed that a 12 year old boy was caught painting crude comments about the PM on a bus shelter at Lami last night.

  The two soldiers who caught him were in a white 4wd and had been seen circling the area for several hours before the reported event took place.

After having his face slapped for refusing to give his name the boy was hit in the head and then held on the ground while the second soldier broke three of his fingers. During this torture he gave his name and address.

 He was kicked in the head and told to tell his parents that if the incident was reported the whole family will suffer a similar fate.

The parents did not report the incident.

The boy is of indo fijian decent and the a member of the extended family emailed FijiToday this report including a phone number and address.  We contacted her and found the details of her story very convincing.

Fiji becoming hell for workers

Fiji’s Military Regime Smashing Workers’ Rights

25 August 2011

Posted by AlexSchlotzer

http://dailywire.com.au/index.php/blog/12/entry-786-fiji%E2%80%99s-military-regime-smashing-workers%E2%80%99-rights/

Fiji becoming hell for workers

Workers in Fiji might come across as super-friendly and bursting with positive vibes and good will. The reality though for workers is that they have no rights.

The ruling military regime under Frank Bainimarama has recently issued a decree that effectively stamps out union activity and removes basic workers’ rights. Unions are required to apply for permits in order to hold meetings of members, which can take months to be approved. The permits require that the military sits in and observes meetings; taking notes and the details of those that attend. Permits can be revoked without notice allowing the regime to violently break-up meetings, especially those meetings it sees as a threat to its legitimacy and authority.

Reports are coming out of Fiji that union leaders and delegates are being physically threatened and intimidated. There are confirmed reports of union leaders being detained and beaten. In one case a union leader had to tell frightened hospital workers that they’d had an accident in the cane fields before they would treat him, despite having significant injuries including kidney damage.

Needless to say that the recent decree revoking basic workers’ rights must be of significant concern to the region as a nation takes drastic actions to curtail rights.

Unfortunately, Bainimarama’s regime maintains its regional legitimacy through successfully winning the control of a regional committee for Micronesian states. The regime’s continued clamping down of human and workers’ rights only weakens the country’s ability to trade. While the regime may think it clever to entice foreign investment and businesses to open through smashing workers’ rights, it in fact signals an unstable political and business environment.

The issue has become of such concern internationally that the International Labor Organisation (ILO) sent a delegation to investigate the situation. The ILO’s delegation were witness to the reality for Fiji’s trade unions and members with Bainimarama’s regime withdrawing the permits for the Fiji Trade Union Congress (FTUC) to hold its annual general meeting. The regime went about breaking up the meeting while the ILO’s delegation was in attendance.
The issue is of rapidly growing concern to trade unions globally including in Australia, the UK and New Zealand. The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) is involved, working with its affiliates in the South Pacific and Australasia region to put pressure on Fiji’s military regime to restore human and workers’ rights.

The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) through its Your Rights at Work campaign platform has launched the Human Rights for Fiji campaign. The campaign is asking Australian unionists and supporters to tell Bainimarama to restore Fiji’s human and workers’ rights. The ACTU is working with its affiliates to organise rallies at Fiji’s High Commissions in Sydney and Canberra on September 2 in support of union leaders on trial for breaking the regime’s anti-union laws.

The Maritime Union of Australia (MUA), the Australian Workers Union, the CFMEU, the education unions and a range of other unions are active in the campaign. The MUA has established a Facebook page about the campaign and a Facebook event page for the rallies on September 2.

The New Zealand Council of Trade Unions (NZCTU) is also working with its affiliates to put pressure on the regime. This will become of some significance once the Rugby World Cup begins, especially as Fiji’s team includes members of the military. New Zealand will have the world’s focus for the World Cup, which presents an opportunity to highlight the worsening situation for Fiji’s workers to a global audience.

Within Fiji itself a blog, Coup Four And a Half, operating to expose the regime’s crack down on workers’ rights, provides details of the on-going harassment and intimidation of unionists and union leaders. It is reporting from the front lines in the campaign to restore human and workers’ rights in Fiji. They have a Facebook page you can like and share with friends and family.

Undoubtedly this will prove to be an even more dangerous time for Fiji’s union leaders, organisers and delegates as the regime attempts to prevent any sign of disunity should the international media’s glare focus on Fiji. And the regime’s nepotism and corruption will only help fuel growing resentment towards it, even among Fiji’s first peoples (of which the military is predominantly comprised).

What might be an idyllic holiday paradise for Australians, is in reality a nightmare for Fiji’s workers. Workers wake up knowing that any attempt to stand up for their basic rights is met with threats and intimidation. At least 50 per cent of workers live below the poverty line, including workers with full time employment.

They need our help putting pressure on Bainimarama’s military regime to restore human and workers’ rights.

Fiji’s workers need more rights not less.

Visit Human Rights for Fiji for campaign details; including details for the rallies and ways to help restore human and workers’ rights in Fiji. There are PDF downloads available and a banner for blogs and websites to show your support for the campaign.

Passive Resistance wins the day…….

Full Story……..http://www.stuff.co.nz/world/south-pacific/5490651/Fiji-military-seizing-Methodist-Church-leaders

Soldiers last night tried to detain an 80-year-old former head of the church, Reverend Josateki Koroi, at his Pacific Harbour home.

He told Stuff that he arrived at his home after dark last night to find the army and a policeman at his house.

“When I got out of the car they said we are here to take you to the camp,” Koroi said.

“The commander wants you to come and other ministers of the church are there, being pulled into camp.”

He said he refused to move and the soldiers kept ringing the barracks to ask what to do.

Koroi said he kept asking the soldiers to let him speak on the phone.

He believes the soldiers were speaking directly to Land Force Commander Colonel Mosese Tikoitoga – who is also the chairman of the Fiji Rugby Union.

Koroi said he kept on saying no and the soldiers kept on insisting.

“I said no, I am not going to go,” he said.

“I told them, the only way to take me to camp now is bundle up my legs, tied up, and my hands, I will not go with you.

“That is the only way, you carry me to the camp or you bring your gun and shoot me and you carry my dead body to the camp to show to the commander.”

Eventually the soldiers left without him but he expects they will show up today.

“They have got my address.

“I will be staying here; I am not in a mood or feeling for hiding at all.

“I am at peace; if they want to take me then I will say direct to them ‘what is their business in the church’.”

Meeting was told to destroy the FLP and SDL……..“I know this for a fact since I was present at that meeting,” Ratu Tevita.

Sri Lankan Lawyer’s Claim True and Correct

BY RATU TEVITA MARA, 19 August 2011

The claim by Sri Lankan lawyer, Madhawa Tenakoon, that the illegal, corrupt and ruthless military regime in Fiji interfered in Fiji’s judicial system and pursued a selective, “witch hunt” policy in the investigation and prosecution of persons by the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC), is absolutely true and correct, former Military Officer, Ratu Tevita Mara, said today.

Mr Tenakoon was a lawyer on contract with the FICAC before he resigned, unable to stomach the abuse of power, abuse of justice and flagrant abuse of the rule of law in Fiji by the ruling military junta.

Ratu Tevita said that, shortly after the Military Coup of December 2006, the Military Commander Frank Bainimarama devised a policy to destroy the Fiji Labour Party (FLP) and the Soqosoqo ni Duavata ni Lewenivanua (SDL) and totally remove both from the political landscape of Fiji. It was first necessary, however, to destroy the Leaders of both Parties, Mahandra Chaudhry of the FLP and Laisenia Qarase of the SDL, in any and all ways possible through subverting investigative and legal systems in Fiji.

Ratu Tevita revealed that Commander Bainimarama created a special Military Council after the coup and at a meeting of the Council in early 2007, he raised the issue of the FLP, SDL and their Leaders Chaudhry and Qarase, and emphasized that the Parties and the Leaders were political enemies of the State and ordered that charges be made up and brought against the two men to ensure that they were kept out of the political future of Fiji.

“I know this for a fact since I was present at that meeting,” Ratu Tevita added.
The former Military Officer, now campaigning regionally and internationally against the illegal military Junta and for the return of freedom, democracy and the rule of law in Fiji, pointed out that at a Meeting of the Commission for Change in Fiji, some years ago, dictator Bainimarama, told members that he was opposed to any representatives from the FLP and the SDL being represented on the Commission and especially Chaudhry and Qarase. “I wish to repeat: what Sri Lankan lawyer Tenakoon said about interference in the judicial system and in the FICAC is absolutely true and correct,” he asserted.

“The oppressive, repressive and suppressive regime of Bainimarama and his co-conspirator, Aiyaz Khaiyum, is destroying the foundations of civilised society in Fiji, to wit, the rights and freedoms of every citizen, the freedom of speech and the media and the rule of law. It must end. The Voice of the Oppressed People of Fiji Restoring Democracy, Rule of Law & Human Rights in Fiji

I call on countries in the South Pacific region, especially Australia and New Zealand, and the International Community to do more to end the nightmare in Fiji. I urge the people of Fiji to pursue peaceful protests and peaceful resistance against the tyranny, injustice, corruption and dictatorship in the country. The late, great Leader Mahatma Gandhi carried out a plan of “passive resistance” by the people in India many years ago which led to their freedom and independence. The people of Fiji must stand up against the evil being perpetrated by the vicious and brutal illegal military junta. Enough is enough,” Ratu Tevita declared.

Religious persecution alive and well in Fiji.

Fiji Methodist Church given ultimatum by government

Updated August 19, 2011 16:10:25

http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/pacbeat/stories/201108/s3297824.htm

Fiji’s influential Methodist Church has been given a deadline of Monday to agree to restrictions from the interim government on who will be allowed to speak at its annual conference.

The church’s deputy General Secretary, Reverend Tevita Banivanua, says the coup installed military government wants assurances that the President, Reverend Ame Tugaue, General Secretary Reverend Tuikilakila Waqairatu, and prominent Church leader Reverend Manasa Lasaro will not speak at next week’s conference.

Around a thousand people are expected to attend the meeting.

Reverend Banivanua says rumours that the interim government has demanded the three men resign are not true, but he was taken to the military barracks two weeks ago to be informed that the conference should not be political.

“The New Zealand government has been advised Fijian rugby player Leone Nakarawa has resigned from the Republic of Fiji military forces and has been discharged,”

Fiji player quits army to sidestep Cup ban

http://news.smh.com.au/breaking-news-sport/fiji-player-quits-army-to-sidestep-cup-ban-20110819-1j1wu.html

New Zealand has lifted a ban preventing a Fijian player from attending this year’s Rugby World Cup after he resigned from the Pacific nation’s military, Foreign Minister Murray McCully said on Friday.

New Zealand has barred Fijian soldiers from entering the country since the military seized control of the government in a 2006 coup, meaning lock Leone Nakarawa was not eligible to play in the tournament.

With Fiji poised to name the 23-year-old in its 30-man World Cup squad on Saturday, the issue posed a potential headache for organisers of the rugby showcase.

However Nakarawa’s resignation broke the impasse and McCully said the player had been given a temporary exemption from the ban so he could play in New Zealand.

“The New Zealand government has been advised Fijian rugby player Leone Nakarawa has resigned from the Republic of Fiji military forces and has been discharged,” he said.

“The New Zealand government will grant Nakarawa a temporary exemption from the travel sanction, this allows him to play for Fiji in the Rugby World Cup.”

McCully added: “While we would normally take a little longer to provide an exemption or lift the sanction in respect of a person resigning from the military, in this case we agreed to act more quickly.”

A source close to the government told AFP that it was confident Nakarawa genuinely intended to pursue a rugby career after attracting interest from European clubs, rather than simply re-enlisting after the tournament.

The 117kg lock is the only Fiji player affected by the ban, although many top officials at the Fiji Rugby Union will not be allowed to attend the tournament because of their military ties.

Fiji avoided a confrontation with New Zealand authorities last month by omitting the player from the team that travelled to Dunedin for a Test against the All Blacks.

Fiji coach Samu Domoni said this week that he needed to take Nakarawa to the World Cup because his squad had been weakened by injuries.

AFP

© 2011 AFP

Instant punishment handed out by litter prevention officers is another draconian step towards removing our rights without appeal.

Fiji litterers face harsher sanctions

Posted at 01:39 on 17 August, 2011 UTC

People who throw litter in Fiji will face new punishments under changes to the country’s Litter Decree.

The interim government’s announced people who throw rubbish will not only have to pick up their litter straight away, they’ll also have to clean up the surrounding environment.

The changes also empower those policing the rules to get offenders to do instant community service.

Permanent Secretary in charge of the environment Taina Tagicakabau says studies found Papua New Guinea offenders had to do push ups.

She says Fiji’s focused on getting offenders to further clean up the area involved.

Changes also include appointing members of the police force as litter prevention officers.

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