Friday, February 25, 2011

Amnesty International Public Statement [FIJI SITUATION]


AI Index: ASA 18/001/2011
24 February 2001

Fiji: Arbitrary detentions and beatings must stop

The severe beating, amounting to torture, of a government critic and the reported detention and beating of several trade unionists and politicians in the last week indicate that the human rights situation in Fiji is worsening, Amnesty International said today.

The military detained politician Sam Speight at the Queen Elizabeth Barracks outside of Suva, the capital, on 21 February. They repeatedly beat him until he lost consciousness. He was released on 24 February. Speight was a cabinet minister in the deposed government of Laisenia Qarase.

The military continually denied knowledge of Speight's whereabouts to his wife and other family members during his three day detention.

Speight has since gone to Australia to receive urgently needed medical attention.

Human rights activists who visited the military barracks to obtain more information on Speight during his detention said that the military threatened them and warned them to keep quiet or they themselves would be beaten.

Speight's detention and torture followed the recent arrest of a number of trade unionists and politicians who were also threatened and beaten by military officers at the Queen Elizabeth Barracks. Those who were beaten up include trade unionists Felix Anthony and Maika Namudu and two politicians. They have subsequently been released, but there are continuing fears for their safety.

Amnesty International is gravely concerned for the safety of activists and government critics as another crackdown begins in the country.

The government continues to use the Public Emergency Regulations (PER) as a tool of repression. The PER was enacted in April 2009 in the wake of the government's abrogation of the Constitution, and greatly restricts freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. Ongoing censorship of the media and threats, intimidation and attacks against government critics continue to evoke a climate of fear in Fiji.

Amnesty International calls on the Fiji government to:
· Immediately stop the arbitrary detention, torture and other ill-treatment of critics and activists;
· Immediately initiate an independent impartial investigation into the arbitrary detention, torture and other ill-treatment of Sam Speight and others, and ensure that those military officers suspected of involvement in these acts, irrespective of rank, are brought to justice;
· Immediately suspend the Public Emergency Regulations;
· End the censorship of the media;
· Ensure that freedoms of expression and peaceful assembly are respected.


Public Document
International Secretariat, Amnesty International, 1 Easton St., London WC1X 0DW, UK

Thomas Yocum
Asia-Pacific Press Officer

Amnesty International
International Secretariat
1 Easton Street
London WC1X 0DW

desk: +44 (0) 20 7413 5871
mobile: +44 (0) 7904 398 103


Working to protect human rights worldwide

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

[New Zealand Prime Minister] Key announces national state of emergency

Sent to you by fijikiwigal via Google Reader:

via - Stuff by Tracy Watkins on 2/22/11

Prime Minister John Key has announced a national state of emergency during an emotional address this morning, in which he told residents the whole country was behind them.

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Christchurch: Our Thoughts & Prayers are with You All.

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via Uploads by TVNewZealand by TVNewZealand on 2/21/11

FULL COVERAGE: - Prime Minister John Key says at least 65 people have died following the 6.3 magnitude earthquake in Christchurch this afternoon.
From: TVNewZealand
Views: 16615
23 ratings
Time: 06:34More in News & Politics

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Monday, February 21, 2011

Regime hypocrisy: new Chinese company allowed to be formed without local par...

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Regime hypocrisy: new Chinese company allowed to be formed without local partners

via Coup Four And A Half by Pacific in the Media on 2/18/11

BIG SELL: Netani Sukanaivalu with Chinese Ambassador Han Ji Heng.

21.6million (US) factory
Fiji Times was forced to sell 90 per cent of its shares to local investors but the regime has encouraged a new Chinese factory in Suva that has no local partners.

The pugnacious and illegal Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum, ordered the owners of the 140-year-old newspaper into local ownership or face closure, out of sheer vindictiveness.

And yet, the same 90 per cent local ownership principle was waived against the Chinese owned Tengy Cement (Fiji) Company Ltd, when the Ministry of Lands and Mineral Resources formalized the 99 year lease agreement last December with the company to build the country's second cement factory in Veisari, Lami. Tengy was granted a 33 acres industrial lease.

The illegal Bainimarama regime had issued the Chinese investors with an industrial lease, cutting short the waiting period from 24 months to just eight weeks, a record breaking time.

The illegal Minister for Lands and Mineral Resources, Netani Sukanaivalu, commended the work of various Government ministries and departments for helping facilitate the needs of Tengy Cement (Fiji) Company Limited in record time.

"This is what Government had been saying all along, that Government ministries and departments must re-look at their systems and processes and ensure we reduce our turn-around time."

Sukanaivalu said what used to take government two years to finalise, took just two months to complete.

He boasted: "Tengy is one of the first Chinese companies to accept the Prime Minister's invitation. I'm particularly pleased that the Fiji government has stood true to its commitment to facilitate - in the shortest time possible and within reasonable cost - the request from foreign investors.

"Today, we witness a historic occasion in as far as government facilitation is concerned. What use to be 24 months turnaround time is now reduced to only two months. This means that government system and processes could be viewed to improve on our responsiveness."

How it all began – A Passage to China

In August last year, the dictator Bainimarama announced that a Chinese cement producing company had expressed interest to set up a cement plant in Fiji.

"This company has indicated its willingness to set up their business in Fiji and I welcome them," the dictator said. He revealed that he was approached by the company and he extended an invitation to them to visit Fiji and ascertain the conditions for setting up the plant.

The setting up of another cement factory in the country in Fiji, the dictator claimed, will help decrease the price of cement by creating competition for the few cement companies in Fiji who are indulging in cartel activity.

The dictator claimed the cement companies in Fiji had been asked to decrease the prices of cement but had not relented. "They have not done so and now it's better to bring in another company to do just that for a lower price. Monopoly is bad for the people and I'll make sure to put a stop to that."

Bainimarama said he was determined to break the monopoly held by the sole cement producer in the country - Fiji Industries Ltd. (Coupfourpointfive wants to know why, if we are to accept the dictator's monopoly thesis, his own army officers are monopolizing all crucial civil service and other institutions?)

The dictator had met the Tengy cement company investors during the Shanghai Expo, where Fiji also had a booth to entice investors to the corruption riddled Fiji.

Also present with the dictator were Khaiyum (doubling up as illegal Minister for Trade and Commerce) and Fiji Trade and Investment Board (FTIB) chairman Adrian Sofield, who had taken up his new post in June 2010. The Chinese ambassador to Fiji was also up there.

The Road to Company Registration in Fiji
A Coupfourpointfive investigation into Tengy reveals the Chinese company was awarded the Foreign Registration Certificate Number 10-01-79 on 21 December 2010 by the FTIB CEO.

In awarding the Certificate, the CEO wrote to one Fugang Zao, P O Box 2563, Government Buildings, Suva, that the Certificate was for the Chinese company to establish a cement factory; and to manufacture and retail cement products.

The company was informed that "the foreign investor must have at least $250,000 in paid up capital in the form of cash from the operational date, to be brought fully into Fiji within the 12 months implementation period". In addition, "the foreign investor must not engage in any other business activities not specified in this certificate".

Jamnadas and Associates
The scandal ridden lawfirm of Jamnadas and Associates acted on behalf of the Chinese company. In this instance, it was not Renee Lal (partner in Jamnadas and Associates, and now accused of $400,000 fraud involving a Ghanian businessman) but Mele L Rakai, an Associate with the lawfirm who was involved in the formation of Tengy, as evidenced from his affidavit to the Registrar of Companies.

The two directors of the company are as follows: Teng Fei Zhao and Yu Bian. Both are Chinese citizens. The two gave their addresses as P. O. Box 2563, Government Buildings, Suva. The secretary of Tengy has been listed as one Ray Zhao.

The share capital of the company is one million dollars Fiji currency divided into 1,000,000 shares of $1 each, with power for the company to increase or reduce such capital.

The signatures of Teng Fei Zhao and Yu Bian, was personally witnessed by Dilip Jamnadas, solicitor, Jamnadas & Associates, Suva.

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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Our source says Pacer Plus is back on with Fiji being activly involved. Vanu...

Whilst we commend the Government leaders in the PIF in their stance on what Bainimarama's regime is currently doing to Fiji, we do however feel for the people. The ordinary people that are being penalised are those that have lost their jobs because this current Fiji military led regime wants to weed out all those older ones; ie. years of experiences, academic qualifications, wisdom, etc etc.
To the eyes of the younger generations, this may or may not sound great. But to the ordinary Fijians it targets mostly those who are Fijians in their ethnicity with a small numbers of Rotumans, Banabans, Part Europeans, Indians and others. So in essence, when the New Zealand, Hon Murray McCully says the ministerial group monitoring Fiji 'will not soften' its stand, it simply means, 'more sufferings to the rural Fijians & those that have been axed out of their jobs'. This does not affect Bainimarama & his favourites of merry men who are allegedly milking the Fiji coffers. This is the reality. For those of us following the Fiji saga, are aware that this is the ultimate price.
Most of the non Fijians in Fiji are well to do and although their businesses may suffer, they are still the winner at the end of this mad Fiji race that Bainimarama & his cohorts have created. The questions are many; why then does members of the ministerial group monitoring Fiji elect to penalise further a group of people who are trying to get out of the rut they are in? Why not single out Bainimarama & his cohorts and penalise them instead?
Australia has announced that it wants Fiji to have an early election before 2014. This will be great and we ask the ministerial group monitoring Fiji to follow suit with this so that Fiji people can be released off the shackles that have been forced on them since Bainimarama took over forcefully in December 2006.
Luvei Viti Think Tank Team
Google Reader:

Our source says Pacer Plus is back on with Fiji being activly involved. Vanuatu has asked Fiji not to use its reentry to Pacer Plus to score political points.

via Fiji Today FijiTodays Open Forum Blog by fijitoday on 2/13/11

No softening of Pacific Islands Forum stance on Fiji after ministers meet

Posted at 04:28 on 14 February, 2011 UTC

New Zealand's Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully says a ministerial group monitoring Fiji won't be recommending the Pacific Islands Forum softens its stance on Fiji.

The Pacific Islands Forum Ministerial Contact Group on Fiji has been meeting in Vanuatu today as part of efforts to keep in touch with Fiji and report back to Forum members.

Fiji has been suspended from the Forum since 2009, over its regime's refusal to return the country to democracy.

Mr McCully was one of six representatives from Pacific Island nations who heard from Fiji's interim Foreign Affairs Minister, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, at the Port Vila meeting.

Mr MCully says the regime's sticking to its 2014 date for the return to democratic elections.

"We're obliged to report to leaders on whether there is progress to elections and while we agree to disagree on when elections should occur, the fact is the Fiji administration's quite open about the fact that elections in their view won't be held anytime soon."

Mr McCully says the group's been invited to visit Fiji for discussions, a move he see as constructive and positive.

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

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Monday, February 7, 2011

RIP; Ratu Josefa Iloilo. "Former Fiji president dies.'

ABC Australia writes, "Former Fiji president dies..." Reflecting  on the controversy that surrounds Ratu Iloilo's reign as the former President of Fiji is one that does not sit well with many Fijians. His term in office will now go into the history books as the President who many says had been manipulated by the military regime & their supporters to have the Fiji Constitution abrogated in order to make way for Komada Voreqe Bainimarama & his co-horts to rule Fiji with guns.

This is the reality and which now the people of Fiji for & against will have to live with.
RIP- Ratu Josefa. For sure all Cakaudrove and Vuda people will be all preparing for a state funeral as was accorded to Ratu Penaia Ganilau and the only difference is that Ratu Penaia Ganilau was still the President incumbent and Ratu Josefa had retired.

read more;
Ratu Josefa Iloilo's career was marred by controversy, most notably in 2009 when he abrogated the Constitution and sacked the judges after the Court of Appeal ruled Frank Bainimarama's government was illegal. [ABC]

Last Updated: 15 minutes ago

The former president of Fiji, Ratu Josefa Iloilo, has died at the age of 91.

He'd been unwell over recent years and travelled to Australia frequently for treatment for a number of illnesses, including Parkinson's Disease.

His career was marred by controversy, most notably in 2009 when he abrogated the Constitution and sacked the judges after the Court of Appeal ruled Frank Bainimarama's government was illegal.

Historian Brij Lal, who closely monitors events in Fiji, has told Radio Australia's Pacific Beat, Ratu Josefa will be fondly remembered by most.

"I think the overwhelming sense in Fiji would be that he was a very decent man caught in difficult circumstances and then really being used by the military to do the things the military wanted to do," he said.

"To abrogate abrogate the Constitution, endorse the illegal overthrow of the Qarase government and sack the judges and so on."

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Fiji Rugby Union (FRU) debacle hits the Wall St Journal

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Fiji Rugby Union (FRU) debacle hits the Wall St Journal

via Intelligentsiya by Keep The Faith on 1/26/11

The whole world, if it didn't before, now knows that what appears to be a little rugby tiff was really a politically motivated move by the illegal and treasonous military regime to gain total control of Fiji's rugby world.

Unfortunately for Bainimarama and the utterly clueless (as well as illegal and treasonous) Commerce Commissioner, Mahendra Reddy and inept "Minister in charge", Filipe Bole -- their jurisdiction cannot be imposed on the International Rugby Board, to which the FRU is accredited.

The Wall St Journal (WSJ) article explicitly breaks it down that "Fiji's dictatorship earlier this month accused the local rugby board of running an illegal lottery to raise funds for the team" and even reveals that the whole mess sent Filipe Bole scurrying for cover by not being available to answer questions (NOT available to answer questions from the Wall St Journal mind you!).

And for context the article goes even further to remind it's readers (read: investors) about the current business environment in Fiji by highlighting the Fiji Water fracas as well as the forced closure of it's sister paper, the REAL Fiji Times.

The military dictatorship just doesn't get it. Because they are soooooo predictable, we knew way back in March last year that they had designs on manipulating the FRU (perhaps to ensure that Bainimarama's yet unrewarded murderers (and totally undisciplined) rugby boys who have been trying in vain to represent the country but are restricted by a global "black-list", can FINALLY don the Fiji jersey).

We have no doubt that the same modus operandi is being "copy & pasted" in Fiji's netball arena as well.

The whole sorry lot of 'em need to be sin-binned forever.
* JANUARY 26, 2011, 2:17 A.M. ET
Fiji's Rugby Team Caught in Funding Dispute

WELLINGTON, New Zealand—A dispute between international rugby's governing body and Fiji's military-led government has put the top-ranked national team's accreditation at risk ahead of the widely watched Rugby World Cup.

Fiji's rugby team, known as the Flying Fijians, is ranked 10th internationally, but their unique playing style makes them a spectator favorite, and they are one of the drawing cards for the Rugby World Cup in September.

But Fiji's dictatorship earlier this month accused the local rugby board of running an illegal lottery to raise funds for the team. The government ordered the board to resign in exchange for 3 million Fijian dollars (US$1.6 million) to fund the team's participation in the cup, which will be hosted by New Zealand.

The ultimatum spurred concerns about political interference in the sport, and raised concerns over whether the Fijian team's governing body should have its accreditation revoked.

Fiji's sports minister, Filipe Bole couldn't be reached to comment Tuesday.

The International Rugby Board, based in Dublin, is due to send a delegation to Fiji next month to mediate the dispute.

Rafaele Kasibulu, the Fijian board's interim chairman, said the board members retracted their resignations when they received a letter of support from the IRB. Mr. Kasibulu declined to comment on the government's allegation of wrongdoing, but said its monetary offer for the team was about half the amount needed to fund the team in the world cup.

Fiji's government charged the local governing body with five breaches of a code called the Commerce Commission Decree. The charges include deceptive or misleading conduct, unconscionable conduct, false or misleading representation, misleading conduct in relation to goods and failure to provide gifts or prizes offered.

The case will be heard in the High Court in the capital, Suva, said Bobby Majaraj, Chief Executive of Fiji's Commerce Commission, in an email.

Rugby is Fiji's national sport with around 80,000 people playing it in a country with a population of just 850,000. The team reached the quarterfinals of the 2007 World Cup but lost to South Africa. Its Rugby Sevens team missed out on playing in the Commonwealth Games in 2010 because of Fiji's suspension from the Commonwealth since 2009.

A spokesman for the International Rugby Board said its chief executive, Mike Miller, will meet with officials from the Fiji board in early February to discuss their initial decision to resign, and to allay concerns about political interference in the sport.

A threat to the local union's independence could force the international body to revoke its accreditation and its right to play in international competition.

"The IRB is concerned about the breach of the bylaws of the constitution," the spokesman said.

The last time a team was excluded from international rugby was between 1976 and 1992, when Commonwealth governments agreed to avoid sporting contact with South Africa because of the country's apartheid regime. The IRB excluded the nation from the 1987 and 1991 Rugby World Cups.

The dispute comes as Fiji's Commodore Frank Bainimarama's military regime, which took power in 2006, increasingly finds itself at loggerheads with international businesses.

Late last year, bottled-drink company Fiji Water closed its plant in the country in response to steep taxes imposed suddenly on companies that extract large volumes of water from the country. The company, owned by billionaire investors Lynda and Stewart Resnick, later reopened the factory after meetings with the government.

Media company News Corp. was forced to close the Fiji Times after the government introduced laws banning foreign ownership of the media, last year. News Corp. owns Dow Jones & Co., publisher of The Wall Street Journal.

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Bula, No'oia, Kia Ora, Warm Greetings, Namaste

Children of Fiji & Friends of Fiji

Children of Fiji & Friends of Fiji
Down memory lane

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