Tag Archive | weapons of democracy

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

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.

Final Petition of William R Marshall

The Petition of the regime’s former Justice of Appeal has kept lawyers amused all day.

The only version currently online is in reverse order. If anyone has a copy in natural order, please send it through via Comments and it will be posted on this blog.

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.

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.

Today, Mafatu

Colonel Tevita Uluilakeba Mara has been whisked away to Tonga for refuge and has posted a jaw-dropping video on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NCxRa64XTO0 .

Bravo, sir, for your willingness to speak out AND to acknowledge that We The People will deal fairly with you when the regime has fallen.

What is needed now is:

1. For the video to be translated into Fijian, so that native speakers – especially in the common soldiery and the rural areas – can hear your story in your own words. Please post onto YouTube again;

2. For those serving in our Armed Forces to understand that they are no longer serving the interests of our country. They are instead serving the interests of iArse – a megalomaniac who wants the utter destruction of our culture, hopes and aspirations;

3. For the remaining senior officers in our military to rise up against iArse and finish the job that Ului and Driti started. Bring back our government to We The People and give us fresh, free and fair elections.  Justice will be brought to the perpetrators of this illegal regime.

For now, we must all play our part to do what is necessary to help bring that about. We are SO CLOSE NOW. It’s no longer ‘One day, Mafatu’.

ONE DAY IS TODAY, MAFATU!

Tabu soro.

God bless Fiji.