Tag Archive | international pressure

Commonwealth calls for withdrawal of military from Fiji’s govt

26 April 2013, London

1. The Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) held its thirty-ninth meeting in London on 26 April 2013.

2. The meeting was chaired by Hon Dr Dipu Moni, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh. It was also attended by Senator the Hon Bob Carr, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Australia; Hon John Baird, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Canada; Hon A J Nicholson, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Jamaica; Hon Dr Abdul Samad Abdullah, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Maldives; Hon Dr Samura Kamara, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sierra Leone; Hon Bernard K Membe, Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation of Tanzania; Hon Winston Dookeran, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Trinidad and Tobago; and Hon Nipake Edward Natapei, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and External Trade of Vanuatu.

3. CMAG welcomed the recent adoption by Heads of Government, and signature by The Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, of the Charter of the Commonwealth, encapsulating the core values and principles of the Commonwealth. It noted that the Charter reaffirmed the Commonwealth’s commitment inter alia to democracy, human rights, the rule of law, separation of powers, freedom of expression, good governance, tolerance, respect and understanding and the role of civil society. As the custodian of the Commonwealth’s fundamental political values, the Group pledged to continue to promote these commonly agreed goals.

4. The Group reviewed developments in relation to the country currently on its formal agenda, Fiji.

Fiji

5. CMAG reiterated the Commonwealth’s unwavering solidarity with the people of Fiji, and CMAG’s commitment to Fiji’s reinstatement as a full member of the Commonwealth family, through the restoration of constitutional democracy, the rule of law and human rights, in accordance with the fundamental political values of the Commonwealth.

6. Ministers expressed their regret at the Government of Fiji’s diversion from the previously-agreed constitutional process, which had earlier been welcomed by CMAG and which had attracted widespread public engagement and confidence within Fiji.

7. CMAG called on the Government of Fiji to ensure that the steps now undertaken toward restoring constitutional democracy are credible and inclusive, and similarly enjoy the confidence and support of the people of Fiji, including:

a. a transparent and consultative process to achieve a constitution that accords with Commonwealth and internationally-accepted standards for democracy, good governance and the rule of law, and that genuinely enjoys the endorsement of the people of Fiji;

b. the restoration of the structures necessary for credible elections, including an independent Election Management Body;

c. the ability of political parties and candidates to contest elections freely under fair and consistent rules and on a level playing field;

d. withdrawal of the military from involvement in government; and

e. full respect for fundamental human rights and freedoms in accordance with international law and without undue restriction, including freedoms of speech, association and movement, and a free and independent media.

8. The Group expressed concern about ongoing restrictions on human rights and reports of human rights abuse in Fiji, and emphasised the necessity of full respect for human rights and the rule of law, to create the environment necessary for credible elections.

9. CMAG noted the visit to Fiji undertaken by the Pacific Islands Forum’s Ministerial Contact Group on 12 April 2013, and reaffirmed the Commonwealth’s commitment to continuing to work in co-operation with regional and international partners in relation to the Fiji situation.

10. CMAG encouraged the Commonwealth to remain engaged with Fiji in appropriate ways, including the Secretary-General’s ongoing engagement with the Government of Fiji and other stakeholders, also encompassing further exploration of options for the provision of assistance to Fiji in relation to democracy and the rule of law.

God bless Fiji

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Kill The Chicken To Frighten The Monkey

The entire Fijian community – within our islands and overseas – is still reeling in shock at the video which graphically captures the beating of Iowane Benedito, the alleged escaped prisoner.

Some on the blogs and social networks believe the clip has been leaked to the media. But could it be something even more sinister?

The regime is on the back foot. They know they are at an all-time popularity low. They know they can no longer hide behind their lies. They know their decrees aren’t worth the paper they are written on. They know that discontent is seething among We The People.

If you cast your mind back to December 2006, back when We The People still believed in our inalienable rights (before the illegal regime went ahead and ‘alien-ed’ them), there was quite a bit of discontent which was being publicly expressed. At least, it was being publicly expressed until the illegal regime detained at their barracks our most visible, respected and admired rights advocates – all women other than one young man – holding them without access to legal representation, and criminally assaulting them. They killed innocent young civilian men in custody. Before the coup, they had killed the CRW soldiers, also while in custody.

The shock, revulsion and outrage at that time was comparable to that we all feel today. How dare they?!

They dare, because this is yet another tactic used to effect by illegal regimes in other parts of the world.  In China, the tactic is referred to as ‘killing the chicken to frighten the monkey’. The regime knows they cannot lock us all up. So instead they visibly target a select few, commit grave atrocities, and let word of it be spread among the population. They don’t need us to be completely scared. They just need us to be scared enough to not take action, to not speak out, to not have the courage to stand up and say ‘NO MORE!’.

They are cowards. And their time has come. Do you really think they will let us have elections in 2014? We must take action NOW before our country is further ravaged by the rot. We need strikes and demonstrations, up and down the country. We need to show the world that this illegal regime does not have our mandate, our support nor our meek compliance. We need justice.

Tabu soro.

God bless Fiji.

See how far we have fallen

The regime’s new buddies who are helping them control our cyberspace, monitor our emails and flood our blogs with anti-matter, constantly use deceptions and sleights of hand to obscure how very, very bad things are for us now in Fiji.

One of the great things about the internet is that anything sent via a server is now pretty much ‘held’ somewhere in cyberspace. We can revisit documents, images and snapshots – like long forgotten photo albums – to remember where we have been.

This letter from Human Rights Watch Asia Executive Director, Brad Adams, to Bainivore and the later Tui Vuda, back in early 2007, makes for sobering reading.

For one thing, it reminds us of what life was like under the protection of our 1997 Constitution.

For another thing, it reminds us of what life was like when the idea of innocent civilians being taken to barracks and beaten was still horrific to us.  Nowadays, we are almost blase when we hear someone has been detained, whether a leader or an ordinary person.

It reminds us of what it was like to be able to have the courage to say to the regime that we felt what they were doing is unacceptable.

It reminds us of how it felt to have fundamental rights of expression, assembly, association and to feel that we had a right to humane treatment while in detention.

February 6, 2007

Interim Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama
President Ratu Josefa Iloilo
Republic of the Fiji Islands
Government Building
Suva, Fiji

Dear interim Prime Minister Bainimarama and President Iloilo,

We write to share our concerns regarding developments in Fiji since the December 5, 2006 military coup. We urge you to ensure the swift transition to an elected government, and call on you and your officials to immediately and publicly make an unambiguous commitment that fundamental human rights will be respected and those who exercise them will be protected. The conduct of an independent investigation into the death of a person in military custody and allegations of arbitrary detentions, beatings, and harassment of more than a dozen individuals by the military should be a first step towards helping to restore confidence. In addition, we call on you to publicly state that all legal civil society groups are free to continue with their work. Finally, we urge you to protect the independence of the judiciary and the media.

We are particularly concerned about allegations that your government has engaged in arbitrary detention and abuse of particular individuals.

On the evening of December 24, 2006, Ms. Virisila Buadromo, executive director of the Fiji Women’s Rights Movement, Mr. Arshad Daud, Ms. Buadromo’s partner, Ms. Laisa Digitaki, a businesswoman, Mr. Imraz Iqbal, a businessman and former journalist, and Ms. Jacqueline Koroi and Mr. Pita Waqavonovono, both youth activists, were taken from their homes by members of the military. No arrest warrants were produced. Between the coup on December 5, 2006 and this incident, some members of this group had received threatening phone calls from individuals who identified themselves as members of the military. The six were taken to the Queen Elizabeth Barracks, where they were questioned and beaten by military officials. At least two were hit in the face in the course of their questioning, and one required a neck brace following her release. Another suffered a broken leg and broken ribs. Early the following morning, they were forced to run 10km in the rain to Lami, where they were made to dismantle pro-democracy banners. They were subsequently informed by the Immigration Department that they would not be allowed to leave the country.

The comment from you, Interim Prime Minister Bainimarama, that, “If we need to call [activists] in and say you’re speaking too much, we’ll do it,” would appear to be an unacceptable endorsement of this behavior.

Other detentions and assaults by members of the military are of equal concern. According to our information, at least two dozen people, including civil society activists, but also members of the business and media communities as well as private citizens, have been detained. None appears to have been detained with a warrant. Those detained include:

  • Mr. Kenneth Zinck, former government minister of Labour, who was detained twice (6 December, 9 January). On the occasion of his second arrest on January 9, Mr. Zinck was taken by members of the military to the Namaka barracks near Nadi after he made comments in a publication against the military regime. He was allegedly beaten during his detention.
  • Mr. Mesake Koroi, Fiji Daily Post General Manager (December 8), was taken to Queen Elizabeth Barracks for speaking out against the military.
  • Mr. Peceli Kinivuwai, United Fiji Party (Soqosoqo Duavata ni Lewenivanua, SDL) National Director (December 9), was also taken to Queen Elizabeth Barracks for speaking out against the military.
  • Mr. Robert Wolfgramm, Editor-in-chief of the Fiji Daily Post (December 14), was not given a reason for his detention and was taken to Queen Elizabeth Barracks.
  • Mr. Jagannath Sami, former Sugar Cane Growers Council chief executive (December 23, and January 18), was taken to the police station in Lautoka for making statements to discredit the military.
  • Ms. Laisa Vulakoro, Musician (December 28), was questioned by the police after voicing his criticisms of the military.

We note that these actions violate Fiji’s constitution, which guarantees the fundamental rights of expression (section 30), assembly (section 31), and association (section 32). They appear to also violate the rights to be treated “with humanity and respect for his or her dignity” if arrested and detained (section 27 (1)(e)).

The death in military custody of Mr. Nakelo Verebasaga, a land surveyor, particularly merits independent investigation. Mr. Verebasaga did not appear to be suffering from any life-threatening injuries or illness when he was taken into custody on January 5, 2007 for alleged disputes with his neighbors. He too was taken to Queen Elizabeth Barracks, and was pronounced dead on arrival at the barracks hospital. His body was then taken to Colonial War Memorial Hospital mortuary at 11:30am for a post mortem examination. Military officials have claimed that Mr. Verebasaga had been injured in fights the previous week, and that he had developed breathing problems en route to the barracks. As Mr. Verebasaga died whilst in the custody of the military an independent investigation is essential to establishing a credible explanation for the cause of death and the culpability of any of the military officers in charge of him at the time.

The military’s placing on leave on January 3, 2007 of Chief Judge Daniel Fatiaki and Chief Magistrate Ms. Naomi Matanipobua also raises concerns about your present and future commitment to the rule of law. These two senior members of the judiciary appear to have been dismissed because they are likely to oppose your efforts to suspend the Constitution. An independent judiciary is fundamental to the protection of human rights, and military interference in it constitutes grave disregard for the rule of law.

President Iloilo’s January 4 statement supporting the extension of legal immunity to all coup members and interim Prime Minister Bainimarama’s similar statement on January 7 send a worrying signal that you intend to prevent investigations into allegations of serious human rights abuses perpetrated by members of the military. Any attempt to grant impunity for abuses will undermine efforts to re-establish a stable and democratic Fiji for the foreseeable future.

Human Rights Watch urges that you publicly reiterate your commitments to basic freedoms as guaranteed by Fiji’s constitution, and instruct your officials to conduct themselves accordingly. Finally, you must ensure that elections consistent with international standards are held as soon as possible, and that the results of those elections are honored. Should you fail to do so, the future of human rights in Fiji remains in jeopardy.

Sincerely,

Brad Adams
Executive Director
Asia Division

How very, very far we have fallen.

How very, very badly we need to stand.

Tabu soro.

God bless Fiji.

What is needed

If you haven’t yet seen it, take a look at Lt Col Tevita Uluilakeba Mara’s latest post on YouTube – a hard-hitting strike against the regime in which the Lauan Chief positively identifies BainiVore as having lead the beatings of Fiji’s women democracy activists who were tortured in December 2006. Other soldiers in the room who had held back from beating the women, soon joined in, in true Monkey-See, Monkey-Do style.

This is the first time any member Fiji’s military has admitted to and apologised for taking part – even passively – in beating civilians for having spoken out against the junta. May others in the military follow his lead.

What OmniVore has achieved with a small section of our military forces, is to convince them that normal ethical considerations no longer apply to them. In this morally disengaged state, they can be manipulated to commit acts which they would acknowledge in the cold light of day are atrocities against our own people.

There are many psychological experiments which show how to balance authority and conformity to influence individuals to behave in ways they know are wrong. In the Milgram Experiment, which took place after the trial of a Nazi war criminal in Jerusalem, Yale University psychologist Stanley Milgram tested the theory of whether accomplices in the Holocaust simply followed orders, even when those orders violated their beliefs. Subjects were instructed to administer electric shocks to another human if that person gave a wrong answer, with the shocks becoming stronger on each successive incorrect response. Although before the experiment, Milgram and his colleagues believe only a small percentage of the subjects would administer the maximum shock (450V), in fact 65% did so. In his summary, Milgram noted:

Ordinary people, simply doing their jobs, and without any particular hostility on their part, can become agents in a terrible destructive process. Moreover, even when the destructive effects of their work become patently clear, and they are asked to carry out actions incompatible with fundamental standards of morality, relatively few people have the resources needed to resist authority. (Milgram, Stanley (1974). Obedience to Authority. Yale)

Another illustration of this principle is if you select a random group of people, give them each a sledgehammer and instruct them to destroy a high-value object, such as a car. At the beginning, the group will hesitate and then, when once one member of the group overcomes their qualms and begins to destroy the car, the rest of the group will join in, increasingly with gusto. This particular experiment is very popular with psychology undergraduates.

Another reason that the soldiers and officers are able to follow BainiVore’s atrocious orders is BECAUSE NO-ONE IS TELLING THEM THAT IT’S WRONG.

This is where We The People have made a rod for our own backs through our inaction. None of the soldiers fully understand our collective disgust with the regime because none of us will voice our rage.

The time has now come.

We KNOW that the illegal President would happily disengage BainiVore & iArse if the conditions were right. We KNOW that there are senior officers in the military who are willing to risk insubordination to overthrow BainiVore & iArse. We KNOW that, once BainiVore is incapacitated, iArse is toast. We KNOW that BainiVore FEARS any sign of public protest – and he always has. Now that he has seen the strength of public protest in North Africa and Asia, BainiVore KNOWS that We The People hold the key to topple him. We KNOW that BainiVore won’t issue live ammunition to his soldiers because he fears that they will use it against him. We KNOW that, if we work with the governments of the Forum countries and international Aid and donor agencies, they will keep a close eye on the wellbeing of our people as we march to Freedom.

In 2006, a young man told me that all it takes to get rid of the illegal regime is one bullet in BainiVore. As an advocate of peaceful, non-violent protest, I would never agree with violence (the young man was tortured by the regime shortly afterwards, and I think now agrees with the pacifist viewpoint), but it is undeniable that, with BainiVore out of the picture, the regime’s House of Cards falls away.

We need to co-ordinate with the senior officers. If we hold our peaceful protest for the world to see, and to distract the military’s attention, the senior officers can stage their own coup. And we could be back to free and fair elections before the end of 2011.

So – how badly do you want freedom? Tabu soro.

God bless Fiji

By Victor Lal and Russell Hunter

Dictator Frank Bainimarama narrowly escaped New Zealand charges days before the 2006 coup.

There were already sedition charges against him in Fiji, where the police were also keen to talk to him regarding the murders of the CRW soldiers that followed the 2000 mutiny. He was aware of all of this.

Now he is calling Lt Colonel Ulilakeba  Mara a “fugitive” from law and seeking extradition from Tonga.

By VICTOR LAL and RUSSELL HUNTER
Betrayal and cowardice are two traits that are deeply ingrained in the veins of dictator Frank Bainimarama, the self-anointed illegal Prime Minister of Fiji.

Our claims are based on five years of painstaking research, personal interviews, top secret State, military and other confidential documents. For a detailed account of our findings, please wait for our forthcoming book tentatively entitled Treason in Paradise: Commodore Frank Bainimarama and the 2006 Fiji Coup – The Inside Story.

We will shortly disclose how Bainimarama left New Zealand in November 2006 where the local police had reversed an earlier decision to arrest him on a charge of perverting the course of justice in a foreign jurisdiction. If convicted he faced a maximum sentence of seven years. Perverting the course of justice in a foreign jurisdiction is a crime in New Zealand.

Remember there was also a pending charge of sedition in Fiji. Plus the police were closing in the Counter Revolutionary Warfare Unit murder inquiry. There is no suggestion we know of that Bainimarama played a personal role in the murders. (Editor’s note: But see Bainimarama’s version of the mutiny and his role to SkyNews Australia on the left column of C4/5; Fiji’s Frank Bainimarama, Part 3 of 3 video).

The Fiji police wanted to establish whether or not Bainimarama was an accessory to the crimes. But Bainimarama had avoided at least two invitations for a non-caution police interview but couldn’t maintain that indefinitely. And he knew that.

It was one of many motives which prompted him a week after his departure from New Zealand, where he had gone for his grand daughter’s christening, to overthrow the democratically elected multi-party SDL-FLP government in December 2006.
But, first, let us examine the “Fugitive” Bainimarama’s pattern of betrayal and cowardice.

The 2000 Speight Coup
Despite conventional but uncontested narrative, we can disclose that Bainimarama was behind the 2000 George Speight putsch that resulted in the overthrow of the Chaudhry government and the subsequent hostage crisis that lasted for the next 56 days.

And the mutiny that followed in November 2000 was a result of his betrayal of Speight and others after the signing of the Muanikau Accord. Bainimarama not only deceived the then President Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara, the father of Ratu Ului, to step aside at the height of the crisis, but he also betrayed the “Speight Gang” in order to ensure that the way was now open for him to enter the corridors of political power in Fiji.

Bainimarama, according to confidential documents and statements in our possession, had suggested military rule for at least five years shortly after the release of Speight’s hostages. Certainly some of his senior officers at the time were aware that he thoroughly relished his taste of power, when he took over as president in 2000 before handing over to an interim civilian regime, led by Laisenia Qarase. But Bainimarama longed to taste it again.

We are well aware of the much publicised “cassava patch” dash that Bainimarama made as the bullets were flying all over the Nabua barracks.

What he has refused to disclose is that he began suffering post trauma stress syndrome. In the aftermath of the mutiny Bainimarama had brushed aside all offers and suggestions of counselling thinking it perhaps unsoldierly.

The full results of that can only be guessed at, by psychologically unqualified writers, but results there certainly were.

We may recall that three loyalist soldiers died during the 2000 mutiny. The 20 or so wounded would all recover. The scar of that day, however, has never healed.

The potential for violent retribution was obvious – but few in Fiji expected what followed from a once proud disciplined service.

Five members of the Counter Revolutionary Warfare unit were quite literally kicked to death the following day, November 3. Post mortem photographs in our possession display viciously mutilated corpses barely recognisable as human remains. At least one of the dead played no part in the mutiny. It seemed CRW membership alone was sufficient motive for the most brutal of murders.

Acting Police Commissioner Moses Driver pronounced the deaths as murder and launched an investigation – a deed that marked him for later attention by the military. Bainimarama remains the principal person of interest in the murder inquiry. To date, no one has been charged over those murders.

The shootings and killings were over – but the stain of the 2000 mutiny would never be removed. And Bainimarama could never feel safe again – from those whom he betrayed and the long arm of the law.

He became a deeply paranoid individual who concluded that his career advancement depended on the barrel of the gun and pliable military men around him.

Bainimarama wanted coup in 2003/2004

To be continued

Editor’s Note: We publish below excerpts of the exclusive interview Frank Bainimarama gave on his 55th birthday to Graham Davis for SkyNews Australia. The video was uploaded by SkyNews Australia on 2 May 2009

Davis: You were nearly killed? How close save was it?

Bainimarama: Very close.  We were here having lunch when the rebel soldiers came across – and three of my bodyguards then closed in and helped my escape – they held the fort here while I moved away from here

You wanted to kill Captain Shane Stevens? Is that true that you wanted to shoot him yourself personally?

No, that’s not true that I wanted to shoot him personally– In fact, I was in hospital when he was brought in. I went to visit some of my soldiers that got shot that day. And I stopped the guys from going in to bring him out

I saved the life of one of the guys that eventually got killed…He was brought down to the naval base.

When you say you saved his life? When you say you saved the life of the man….You stopped them from killing him?

Initially.  I didn’t stop them from killing him. I stopped them from bashing him up.

But they killed him later?

Sometime later on

They were beaten to death, won’t they?

They were beaten to death. It was spur of the moment.  And  I can understand the emotions that went through the troops on that day. In fact, I can say that they were very lucky that they all lived

Did you want them dead?

I didn’t want them dead but I wanted them punished – You must understand it was a mutiny. These guys came in to kill us – I don’t think a lot of people understand that? These guys came in to kill us. So people really don’t expect us to kiss them on their cheeks.

God bless Fiji

 

Qori! Vinaka Lt Col Mara

Bless him, he’s done it again. And this time, he’s done it with FIRE!

If you have not already seen it, please watch Lt Col Mara’s announcement on YouTube about the illegal regime’s lies since their inception (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lNCRcwdXdd8) and the lies that they have told to try and stay in power (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dUlk__h7EtY) AND (this is the doozy) the amounts they are paying themselves and how they are getting it done.

Let us take our own power NOW. What other proof, evidence or reason do we need?

To the honourable officers who are left minding the fort (literally) – PLEASE gather up your loyal troops and incarcerate the illegal Dictator BainiVore, iArse and their minions until they can face justice under an elected government.  They have already cleared Naboro – let them now inhabit it.

Dear Lord, we are so close now.  Tabu soro.

(Oh, and btw Vore – POTE!!)

God bless Fiji

Spread the word – coconut wireless goes digital

There was a Comments exchange on Coup FourPointFive between Anonymouses (anonymice? anonymii?) that is too good to allow to disappear into the ether. The best way to spread the word of Mara’s YouTube broadcasts to those of us who without internet access. Read more below, and please feel free to circulate.
Do keep checking in to Coup 4.5 for the latest developments. Those guys really have their finger on the pulse.

May 18, 2011 8:53 PM. Got an idea, since some of us in Fiji do not have internet access, why don’t those of us who do, download these videos, save them on our phones and bluetooth them around…..everybody in Fiji has a mobile phone…..by the way you can download any youtube video on this site:
http://www.keepvid.com

May 18, 2011 9:34 PM. anonymous 8.53pm…kudos on the motion….
k, steps of doing that please, for some of us that are not familiar with it.

May 18, 2011 10:09 PM. @ anon 9:34.  Ok…these are the steps:

  1. Go to the ‘Keep Video’ website by typing in http://www.keepvid.com in your browser address or just go to google and google keepvid either way it will take you to the website.
  2. Once you’re there, copy the video’s url that is: http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=n5o7sffmRGQ  or  http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=CFLnV01a2p8  and paste it in the blue url box
  3. Click download and you’re on
  4. It will give different options of format to download in…you can choose which ever one fits you  Note: you fill find that there is also an option for saving the mp3 format of the video that is the sound only…….this will come in handy for phones with no video…
  5. Once you’ve downloaded, connect your phone to your computer and save the videos in it.
  6. Once you’re done you can start sharing media file around…walla…job done!  Note: you have to download the video one by one….

Vinaka Saka

May 18, 2011 10:20 PM. issue instruction how to put this on mobile phones and sending by email, copies on disks and usb drives and send to all people groups in fiji, written copies to mail boxes and send to all media organisations in fiji

May 18, 2011 10:57 PM. There you go guys. Downloading is one best way of getting the message across to those in the rural areas….

Power to The People.

God bless Fiji.