REGIME LIES: TALK OF EMPOWERING WOMEN YET CONTINUES TO SUPPRESS PEOPLE
Human Rights Now
The Fiji regime continues to suppress its people on a daily basis and yet have no trouble lying to the world about progress made when it comes to women.
The United Nations Commission on Status of Women (CSW) in New York this week heard about the progress made by the Fijian Government in economically empowering its rural women.
A statement highlighting Government’s major empowerment programs was delivered by the illegal minister for Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation Dr Jiko Luveni at the UN Headquarters in New York. Imagine how desperate the regime are these days that they sent their women's minister to the UN HQ in America to push more lies.
Dr Luveni while presenting Fiji’s report on the theme for the 56th session of CSW, “The Empowerment of Rural Women and their role in Poverty and Hunger Eradication, Development and Current Challenges,” reiterated on following programs implemented to empower rural women.
Dr Luveni also presented to participants government’s continued efforts to empower rural women into leadership roles and decision making bodies. How can the regime say that they are empowering women when every Fiji citizen is currently living under military rule and without fundamental basic human right?
This is a laugh, the illegal minister even said that: “Of the three high chiefs of the three confederacies in Fiji, one is a lady and there are 225 women chiefs of traditional clans compared to 1,576 men. The positive here is that women are not denied their traditional inheritance. With respect to female chiefs, community-based leadership and empowerment training is necessary to continue to bolster their leadership positions”. So it is fine to harp on about a women chief when it is for the regimes convenience but did the regime also tell the UN that they have continued to threaten this high chief on a continuous basis since 2006?
The illegal minister also told the UN Commission that more than 300 women in Fiji are members of hospital boards and village committees and that such leadership roles are stepping stones to higher public office. She also touched on programs undertaken to provide justice to rural women, in particular the Domestic Violence Decree and Zero Tolerance Violence Free Community Program (ZTFVC). This is not personal and we are certain that Dr Luveni is a nice person however we are very sure that Dr Luveni must feel horrible spreading lies on behalf of the regime.
“Last year, a total of 15 local communities have been declared as violence free, and the aim is to increase this number by 15 communities annually. Such commitments by rural and urban communities is supported at the national level by legislative frameworks such as Fiji’s Family Law Act and the Crimes Decree, and the provision of social services in the areas of education and health that prioritize the needs of women and children,” Dr Luveni said. Where are the real statistics? No one knows this for certain and no independent bodies or persons have been involved in the gathering of these figures.
“The Micro-Finance Unit and the has identified rural women as a group with potential to create sustainable economic development projects, and now counts women as their majority clientele – 78% in the case of the Micro-Finance Unit and 60% for the National Centre for Small and Micro Enterprise Development (NCSMED). “Government’s Roadmap for Democracy, Sustainable Socio-Economic Development has prioritized, for the period of 2009-2012, there is improvement in infrastructure, and roads are being built in rural villages and settlements that have too long lived without access to safe water, electricity and access to markets,” Dr Luveni said.
Simply put, its all lies. Until and unless there is accountability and transparency with all these projects, we will never know the truth. You will never be able to empower women until and unless there are free and fair elections in Fiji. For now the regime is too happy spreading lies at the highest international institutions.
FIJI'S COMPETING NARRATIVES AND UNCERTAIN FUTUREIn a recent conversation with Ambassador Winston Thompson of the Republic of Fiji, the ambassador was asked how he addresses skeptics who believe that Commodore Frank Bainimarama's lifting of martial law was disingenuous. His opening remark, "We can only wait and see." While out of context, this response quite rightly captures the larger state of affairs in Fiji. Led by a military leader who views himself as a savior but who is condemned by Australia as a despot, Fiji remains a country with an uncertain future. The only thing that appears clear is that the path Fiji chooses resides in Bainimarama's hands not Julia Gillard's. Barring some major policy shift by other regional powers, democracy will not return to Fiji without his acquiescence.
In the Doghouse
In December 2006, Suva further entrenched its reputation as the coup capital of the South Pacific when Bainimarama removed Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase's duly elected but troubled democratic government. This marked the fourth coup since Fiji's independence from Britain in 1970.
Since the coup, Bainimarama - acting as self-appointed Prime Minister - has talked the talk of a progressive savior. He has announced grand plans to rid Fiji of its deeply entrenched racial divisions between ethnic Fijians and Indo Fijians. He also has promised better and fairer education and economic opportunities that supposedly only a strongman can deliver.
Such policies prey on the very real insecurities of a country that has witnessed the destabilizing effects of race-based politics for a significant part of its post-colonial history. Coupled with Bainimarama's tight grip on the military and media, the coup therefore has been met with a relatively muted response within Fiji.
Western countries and the Fiji diaspora, on the other hand, have been more forceful in their opposition. Australia and New Zealand in particular have leveraged their bilateral and regional influence to try and coerce Bainimarama's interim government to hold free and fair elections. Their position: Commodore Bainimarama is a dictator whose ambitions are antithetical to democracy.
The question then is whose coup narrative is right. Do the Commodore's tactics provide the stability required to implement corrective policies and finally unite a deeply cleaved society? Or, is Bainimarama no different than other post-colonial despots who have risen to power on baseless promises only to deliver pain and suffering to their countrymen and women?
Since overthrowing Qarase, the Commodore has remained consistent in his position that Fiji lacks the conditions necessary for democracy to function. His supporters also argue - that the regime has kept to the high-level milestones for reinstating democracy originally outlined in his 2009 strategic framework. They even claim that the regime has already instituted policies aimed at redressing the racial divide through economic and social development and lifting the draconian Public Emergency Regulations which oppressed free society in the aftermath of the coup.
However, in the eyes of the West, Bainimarama's claim that he is taking concrete action to restore democracy is viewed as baseless. They point to the fact the regime has instituted harsh censorship laws, sacked the judiciary, and cracked down on unions, media, church leaders and civic activists. It has failed to be transparent and provide economic and social data that would support its argument that domestic policies are bridging the racial divide. Furthermore, it has severely undermined the positive response generated from the lifting of the PERs by implementing a new Public Order Act, which quickly resurrected most of the concerns that the lifting of the PER sought to redress.
So, how will history remember Bainimarama? Much depends upon whether the Commodore is sincere in his commitment to drafting the new constitution by the end of the year and holding elections by September 2014. If Bainimarama dramatically picks up his game and delivers on the commitments outlined in the strategic framework, he might yet salvage his reputation and restore democracy. However, if he deviates from his self-prescribed milestones and the 2014 elections prove to be "a pipe dream," then Australia and New Zealand will find their position validated. Dictators do not have a great track record in following up on their commitments. So, it is now all up to Bainimarama and the people of Fiji to decide how history remembers the regime.
Fergus Hanson is the Director of Polling and Research Fellow at the Lowy Institute. Eddie Walsh is a senior foreign correspondent who covers Africa and Asia-Pacific.
A Biased Judiciary Exists in Fiji
COVERT TRIP REVEALS RULE OF LAW 'LOST' IN FIJI
By Eduardo Reyes
at the Law Society GazetteA secret fact-finding mission to Fiji has concluded that the rule of law ‘no longer operates’ in the country. The independence of the judiciary ‘cannot be relied upon’ and ‘there is no freedom of expression’, council member and Law Society Charity chair Nigel Dodds reports in Fiji: The Rule of Law Lost.
Dodds visited Fiji on a tourist visa in late 2011. Following a 2006 coup, ruled illegal by its court of appeal in 2009, Fiji is ruled by decree through emergency measures renewed every 30 days. The Pacific country of 850,000 people is currently suspended from the Commonwealth.
The report claims that Fiji’s attorney general, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, has been central to ending the rule of law by limiting the power of the courts and ending the independence of legal sector regulation. Fiji’s president, Ratu Josefa Iloilo, revoked all judicial appointments in 2009. Dodds’ report reveals the extent to which the government depends on the appointment of judges and senior law officers from Sri Lanka on short-term contracts. Chancery Lane’s human rights adviser, Courtenay Barklem, notes: ‘Judges have to have security of tenure. We don’t know how these judges are being selected.’
Meanwhile, the country’s largest commercial law firm, Munro Leys, once the government of Fiji’s main provider of legal services, no longer receives government instructions, independent sources told Dodds.
The 2009 Administration of Justice Act removed the jurisdiction of the court to hear or determine a challenge to any government action. This has now been supplemented with a practice direction, seen by Dodds, pinned to the walls of the courts, noting that the chief registrar will terminate any such case that slips through the net.
Dodds told the Gazette: ‘I found a significant number of lawyers endeavouring to do the best for their clients in intolerable circumstances. They deserve tremendous credit.’
Previously criticised by the Law Society in open correspondence, a professional accreditation regime remains in place whereby the government issues practising certificates, Dodds reports. In 2011 the government refused to permit Fiji’s Law Society to hold its annual meeting.
Dodds’ subterfuge was deemed necessary following the refusal of the Fiji government to admit an International Bar Association delegation to the country in 2009. He funded the trip personally.
Fiji’s High Commission did not provide a comment on the report in the time available.
Mad man on the loose!
SMUGGLED PAPERS SHOW ILLEGAL PM'S LUSH FOR POWERBy Russell Hunter and Victor LalCommodore Frank Bainimarama tried and failed three times to seize power in Fiji before his 2006 coup. Victor Lal and Russell Hunter reveal how the warning signs went ignored
It was February 2007 - two months after Commodore Frank Bainimarama seized power in Fiji - when Time magazine's Australian editor Steve Waterson arrived in Suva to assess the situation.
The coup leader, aware that his image abroad needed serious repair, immediately granted an interview and launched a charm offensive.
"Just call me Frank," he told Waterson, and later added, "I didn't want this job." He explained he was needed to clean up corruption and put the nation on a path to prosperity. A series of documents smuggled out of Fiji tell a vastly different story. Bainimarama not only wanted the job but had tried three times previously to seize control of the nation.
His first attempt occurred during the negotiations to end the George Speight hostage crisis in August 2000. Several of those present confirmed that the Commodore - who had tacitly supported the Speight coup - declared that the military should lead the nation "for the next five, 10 or 50 years".
A heated argument between Speight and Bainimarama ensued, ending only when President Ratu Josefa Iloilo said a democratic solution was the only way forward. Bainimarama proposed that banker and businessman Laisenia Qarase should lead an interim government with elections after one year. But to his frustration he found his "advice" to the interim government was routinely shunned.
By December 2003 the Qarase government - tired of the Commodore's constant and often public interference - was reluctant to renew his term, due to expire in April the following year.
When Bainimarama got wind of this, he flew into a rage and ordered his senior officers to start planning a coup. But he reckoned without senior officers who counselled against such action and finally refused to implement his orders.
On January 5, 2004, secret advice to Bainimarama not to stage a coup warned of the chaos and damage that could follow. The document, composed and signed by Lieutenant Colonel Jeremaia Waqanisau, Colonel Alfred Tuatoko, Colonel George Kadavulevu, Colonel Samuela Raduva and naval commander Timoci Koroi, reads in part:
"We feel that the interests of the RFMF (Republic of Fiji Military Forces) and the nation have been overridden by your personal wishes ...
"Under the circumstances there is no way you can justify your intent and impending action. On the other hand the consequences of such action would be catastrophic for Fiji. The despair and suffering will be unbearable and longer lasting than that experienced after 1987 and 2000."
None of the officers agreed to be interviewed.
However, the later "redress of wrong petition" also contains a statement by Tuatoko, who wrote: "In my interview with [Bainimarama] he stated that he would forcefully remove the present government if his term as Comd RFMF was not renewed.
"I advised him that such an act was illegal and amounted to treason. I advised him that there are legal ways to settle his disagreement with government and that he must follow that legal path. Comd said that doing so would take too much time. He said that removing the government would be legally wrong but was morally correct."
This document was sent to the Minister for Home Affairs, Joketani Cokanasiga, and is likely to have been seen by Qarase. Incredibly, nothing was done. A senior minister told Hunter at the time: "We're not too worried about him [Bainimarama]. He doesn't have the support at the camp that he thinks he has."
The aborted coup of January 2004 persuaded the Government that the soldiers would not obey their commander if he ordered them to commit treason by removing it.
In December 2005, Bainimarama decided to try for a third time. He had been reappointed, so his job was no longer an issue, but he knew Police Commissioner Andrew Hughes had no intention of backing off a murder inquiry into the deaths of five members of the elite Counter Revolutionary Warfare unit, kicked to death by loyalist soldiers after the November 2000 mutiny.
There was also anger in sections of the officer corps (by now mostly hand-picked Bainimarama men) that the Qarase Government was "soft" on those involved in the 2000 coup.
Bainimarama had sacked the five officers who refused to carry out his first attempted coup and appointed Lieutenant Colonel Jone Baledrokadroka as Land Force Commander - effectively his deputy. He told Baledrokadroka to prepare plans for a military takeover.
Like his brother officers before him, JB (as he was known) refused to be involved in treason. He was told to take leave and not come back but again the coup had to be postponed. JB told Hunter on the day of his dismissal: "I saw an order that I deciphered as treasonous and I could not accept it."
By May 2006, in the full realisation that Bainimarama's reappointment had not bought off its troublesome military commander and with a fresh election victory under its belt, the Cabinet wanted him gone.
There was talk of surcharging him for the blatant abuse of military funding in the army's "Truth and Justice" campaign that sought to influence voters during the 2006 election. It came to nothing - but Bainimarama was to hear of it and it fanned the flames of his fury.
With the dismissal of JB he was able to surround himself with an officer corps that owed their positions to him alone. His coup would take place within a year.
Claim strongman threatened to kill officer
Fiji leader Frank Bainimarama threatened to kill a former top army officer who challenged his 2003 coup plan, according to the officer's written testimony.
The late Lieutenant-Colonel Jeremaia Waqanisau refused to carry out the Commodore's coup order and took a new job as CEO at the Ministry of Home Affairs.
In a file note at the time he recalled in January 2004 the Commodore barged into Home Affairs Minister Joketani Cokanasiga's office with several bodyguards, accusing Waqanisau of raising an army against him. "Bainimarama further said had it not been for the minister I would have been dead already, and next time the military came back to finish what they started he would personally lead [them] to town and make sure I would be the first to die.
"I told Bainimarama when he came down next time he should come alone, without his weapon and his armed body guards and then try to kill me. He became furious challenging me to a fight taking off his [weapon] and posing for a fight... I said I didn't want to fight him and he should go away. The minister was holding him back and eventually pushed him out the door." * Russell Hunter is former editor-in-chief of the Fiji Sun and was deported from Fiji in 2008. Victor Lal is an Oxford-based academic researcher and a former Fiji journalist and human rights activist. Last week they revealed how former Fijian police chief Andrew Hughes tried unsuccessfully to persuade his New Zealand counterpart Howard Broad to arrest Bainimarama on his visit to New Zealand a few weeks before the 2006 coup.
A regime which has tortured and killed it's own people
REGIME LIES: ILLEGAL PM AIMS TO ENHANCE FIJI'S FOREIGN POLICY WORLDWIDE
Fiji illegal PM was at it again this time calling on Fiji's head's of missions based in diplomatic missions worldwide to enhance Fiji’s foreign policy worldwide. What? Can you say that again! What and how does one enhance Fiji's foreign policy worldwide when you have a dictatorship running the country. Impossible since all countries recognise the regime as an illegal outfit
The Prime Minister urged Fiji’s envoys to look at opportunities to strengthen the country’s foreign agenda at the opening of the 2012 Heads of Missions Consultations. The illegal PM said that: “with continued expansion, we must also enrich Fiji’s investment climate and rejuvenate private sector participation. In your deliberations this week, I encourage all of you to create innovative strategies that will enhance our engagement with the international community in a manner that is most effective and efficient”.
Once again saving the best for last the illegal PM continued by saying that: “As Fiji continues to foster positive engagement and develop bilateral relationships, we must uphold the fundamentals of our key foreign policy interests. While maintaining our territorial integrity, we will rely on the transparency achieved through open dialogue to pursue progressive and effective partnerships”, Prime Minister told members of both the Fiji and foreign diplomatic corps, government officials and those from the private sector at this morning’s event.
The illegal PM is truly delusional. When we last checked the whole world was against the regime in power in this country. The major world and regional institutions were also against this regime including the United Nations, the Commonwealth, the European Union, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund.
What exactly is the illegal PM harping on about by saying to 'foster positive engagement'. All these institutions and countries including the United States, Great Britain, Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand have openly criticised the regime and all have continued to say that they will only support Fiji once this nation returns to a democracy after free and fair elections. The illegal PM even mentioned the word 'transparency', he has no idea of the definition of this word and his whole regime is corrupt to the bone.
FTUC MEDIA RELEASE NO: 18-05/12
APPOINTMENT OF NEW LABOUR MINISTER
The FTUC notes the statement issued by the Regime on the appointment of a new Minister for Labour as a "reflection of commitment to labour." This claim appears to be hollow in wake of the recent Essential National Industries (ENI) Decree, the Public Order (Amendments) Decree (POAD) and the State Proceedings (Amendment) Decree. All these draconian decrees continue to undermine workers fundamental rights to Collective Bargaining, Freedom of Association, Freedom of Speech, protest or demonstration, right to seek redress grievances and disputes through the dispute settling machinery provided under the ERP.
The ENI further denies other fundamental rights to workers, such as maternity protection, sexual harassment protection and other benefits. The POAD restricts workers’ right to meet freely and discuss issues of concern and interest to them. This decree places unreasonable restrictions on workers and the public at large that would not stand up for scrutiny in a normal Democracy or against UN Human Rights Declaration.
The Ministry of Labour has become dormant and ineffective. It has demonstrated no capacity to deal with workers issues, or Industrial relations or even enforce existing laws. It has curtailed the functions of the Wages Councils, the Employment Relations Advisory Board (ERAB) and the OHS Board. One of the more important roles of the Ministry is to promote good Industrial Relations practices which it has miserably failed to do. Reports of disputes can take as long as 6 months for the Ministry to respond to when the law clearly states that it has to act within 30 days.
The Permanent Secretary is never available for consultations with the stakeholders. The new Minister has a real task on hand and he must be prepared to abandon his old baggage and assume pro-active and impartial role. He inherits a Ministry that has almost become non functional.
The FTUC reiterates that sound industrial relations practices create a better business environment and instills confidence in investors quite apart from ensuring fair and decent working conditions. Fiji is a member of the ILO and the UN. It, therefore, has obligation to respect and ensure compliance with the UN Declaration on Human Rights and the ILO Core Conventions.
The Ministry of Labour has the task of ensuring compliance by all stakeholders, including the Employers and the largest employer, the State itself. The FTUC looks forward to seeing some immediate improvements in this area and only after that, may one be able to comment whether the authorities “have some real and genuine commitment to labour issues and rights”, otherwise it is another window dressing.
INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND CRITICAL OF FIJI REGIME
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has called for the military government of Fiji to relax emergency measures in preparation for a promised 2014 election, a rare Fund foray into domestic politics.
In its annual report on Fiji's economy, the IMF said its mission team in the country had found the economy needed structural reforms and a "concrete plan" ahead of the first elections since a 2006 military coup.
"Removing structural impediments to growth is critically important. Many of the mission's interlocutors suggested that relaxing the emergency regulation and establishing a clear path toward a 2014 election would be the key measures to boost investor confidence," the report said.
"The current government took power in a 2006 coup, relations with traditional donors are strained, and FDI (foreign direct investment) has dropped sharply, though emerging donors remain engaged and have provided assistance," the IMF added.
"Elections expected for 2009 did not occur, but the government has subsequently announced plans for an election in 2014 and provided an allocation in the 2012 budget for electoral preparations."
IMF comments on domestic politics are rare; the report was approved by the Fund's executive board at the conclusion of the review on January 20.
Fiji's military strongman Voreqe Bainimarama announced on January 2 he would end emergency laws in place since 2009, when a Fiji court ruled his 2006 coup was illegal.
The IMF executive board said in an accompanying statement to the report that Fiji faces a preponderance of negative risks "given political uncertainties, structural weaknesses, and the fragile global economy."
Terrorists on the move
MILITARY TERRORISTS EDUCATE CIVIL SERVANTSVery interesting to note that Fiji’s military officials are responsible for educating civil servants on the importance of leadership. One must ask exactly what kind of leadership qualities would these military terrorists be imparting to these civil servants.
The person proudly speaking about this was was a criminal himself who has served time for killing a man and was one of the main terrorists behind the December 2006 coup, current Permanent Secretary for Works and Transport Commander Francis Kean see also REGIME CRIMINALS
. Kean was a guest speaker at the Police Leadership Symposium yesterday and said that one of their works was to mould civil servants and other discipline forces on leadership role and that this would make the police force stronger.
Saving his best line for last Kean went on to say that leaders should live up to the expectations of the government and that there was a need for leaders who have the ability to influence and empower people is what we need. Once again how on earth can this murderer and terrorist even speak about leadership and leadership qualities. How could this man even look at the course participants in their eyes and speak about good quality leadership? What a joke!The inside word is that he was removed from the Navy and given his current position since he was a joke amongst many navy officers due to his criminal conviction. Further that there were better officers who deserved the Navy commander position years back but being the brother-in-law of Fiji's dictator has many benefits, one of them is being appointed navy commander without merit or ability. Just look at the current crop of leaders in this country. Terrorist Kean is simply part of the team.
Torture Watch has been reliably informed that the illegal government will add two new ministers to its current line-up.
The two new portfolio's will cover labour and youth & sports with Jone Usamate to become Minister for Labour and military man Viliame Naupoto to become Minister for Youth and Sports.