Comment on Commonwealth Secretary General statement on Fiji

  • 1st June 2004
  • 2004
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The Fiji Labour Party has questioned the statement by Commonwealth Secretary-General Don McKinnon that Fiji was taken off the Commonwealth Ministerial Group (CMAG) watchlist because of the progress made here in dealing with outstanding constitutional issues.

“Obviously, Mr McKinnon has heard only the government side of the story. They will naturally tell him and CMAG that all is well in Fiji when the truth is otherwise,” said FLP parliamentary leader, Mahendra Chaudhry.

Mr McKinnon has certainly not sought the views of aggrieved parties on the matter. The oral presentation made to CMAG by Foreign Affairs Minister Kaliopate Tavola could not have been a truthful account of the actual political and human rights situation here, said Mr Chaudhry.

Mr Tavola would hardly have told CMAG of the blatant State sponsored racial discrimination against the Indian community here.

Mr Tavola would not have told CMAG that the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (UNCERD) has indicted Fiji on 22 counts of breaching the international convention on the elimination of racial discrimination.

This is something Mr. McKinnon was already aware of because the final CERD report on Fiji was conveyed to him by the Fiji Labour Party some 12 months ago.

He should now answer whether Fiji complies with the human rights principles enshrined in the Commonwealth’s Harare Declaration.

It is simply not good enough to come here and try to fool our people through diplomatic niceties, said Mr Chaudhry.