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Fiji regime presents ‘clean’ human rights report to UN – What a load of crap

October 31, 2014

The regime delegation to the UN: ‘We’re all happy in Fiji’

First the Auditor’s General report now human rights.

A regime delegation is in Geneva presenting a Human Rights report to the United Nations claiming to have resolved breaches.

Led by Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum, the delegation delivered a 22 page report saying Fiji has met 97 out of 103 recommendations by the UN.

Here’s some of the bullshit presented to the UN:

Khaiyum told the panel Fiji will ratify human rights treaties and is committed to making changes, where needed, to align local rights laws and policies with accepted international standards.

He promoted the 2013 Constitution at length, describing it “as an expression of will of the people” that reflects values that provides for, protects and promotes rights of all its citizens and should be aspired to universally.

Khaiyum said while the country has not acceded to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights or the International Covenant on Economic, Cultural and Social Rights, the 2013 Constitution provides for and promotes these rights under the Bill of Rights.

With regard to  Women’s Rights, he said these are consistent with the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) which Fiji ratified in 1995.

“Our Constitution protects all Fijians from unfair discrimination including on the grounds of sex, gender identity and expression, pregnancy, marital status, culture, religion, social origin, conscience and social or health status,” he said.

“These grounds that I have just read out are all new grounds and weren’t in any of the previous constitutions.”

Khaiyum: Spewing lies

Khaiyum told the council the Military Code will be amended by Parliament as a matter of priority to remove the reference of death penalty altogether.

In regard to reports of assault on citizens while in police custody, he said where evidence of such assaults have been shown to be sufficient for prosecution as determined by the Director of Prosecutions, “such persons have been prosecuted and some are currently serving terms of imprisonment for such acts.”

He told the council that under the constitution, police procedures have been modernised and made more transparent to address and avoid acts of assault in police custody.

In regard to public service, he told the council that the Fijian Public Service policy is now based on meritocracy, after he Fijian Government has done away “with discriminatory policies for the public services put in place by previous governments” which introduced policies that “only further advanced an elite agenda and clique.”

“In light of this experience, all appointments in the public service are now made on the basis of qualification and performance alone. The public service is currently undergoing reforms which will ensure that the systemic prejudice based on race, ethnicity, gender identity and religion is eliminated.”

Chief Justice Anthony Gates also made a presentation to address matters pertaining to the judiciary, Director of Public Prosecutions Christopher Pryde addressed matters pertaining to the administration of the criminal justice system and MIDA Chairman Ashwin Raj is to address matters pertaining to media freedom.

source -c4.5, posted by rusi varani for swm

Bainimarama punishes North for promising to vote for him then voting SODELPA

October 28, 2014

Now starts the era of revenge.

Frank Bainimarama claims “Nobody will be left out” and yet two years ago he withdrew aid from two cyclone-damaged villages because they refused to swear allegiance to him.

Media coverage and stories such as “PM: Supporter first on my list” during the weekend tell us exactly where taxpayer and international aid money is going to be spent by Fiji First.

If Bainimarama has his way, the North will go begging because according to him he was betrayed by villages that said they would vote for Fiji First but voted instead for SODELPA.(Fiji Sun October 26)

“Everyone pays tax – either it is through VAT, income tax or licence,” says Opposition leader, Ro Teimumu Kepa. “The people are entitled to any developments required.”The Opposition has been quick to remind Bainimarama the country’s coffers are not his personal funds.

The party’s Shadow Minister of Itaukei Affairs, Naiqama Lalabalavu, says Bainimarama’s threats to cut off SODELPA supporters show

“It is consistent with what he did in early 2013 with the Tui Vitogo and his people,” he says.what type of government is in office.

“It is similar to the threat he made to Niko Nawaikula’s supporters.”

Lalabalavu also asks:

“How does he know who did not vote for him? What does he
Foreign aid donors are being urged to note Bainimarama’s bias and to secure guarantees to any funds given to Fiji. have from the Elections office that will allow him to identify who did or did not vote for him?”

“Taxpayers include many who did not vote for Frank Bainimarama and his Fiji First Party,” says Lalabalavu.

“They have equal rights for their tax dollars to be used for their well-being.”

The threats to the North follow the one last week to withhold development support from people who voted for Niko Nawaikula, after he said the good in the Constitution should be extracted and the rest discarded.

Bainimarama went on to accuse Nawaikula of threatening a coup.

Nawaikula said at the time: “This type of behaviour is blackmail….and for the Fiji First Government to use this same tactic ust 11 days after the first sitting of our new Parliamet in8 nyears, is a sign of what the people can expect as the ‘real intent’ of this government.”

Cynicism runs wide because of the well-documented revenge taken against Lautoka villages Vitogo and Naviyago, soon after Cyclone Evan devastated the West in December 2012.

After Tui Vitogo refused to support Bainimarama,  the dictator ordered material to rebuild damaged homes removed.

The suspension of funds was confirmed in writing to all government departments on January 23rd 2013 in a circular signed by then Commissioner Western, Joeli Cawaki.

The Opposition has also called on Bainimarama to drop his conditions for Fiji returning to the Pacific Islands Forum.

Bainimarama insists Fiji will only return when New Zealand and Australia opt out and become development partners.

 

source- C4.5; Posted by Rusi Varani for SWM

Beddoes fights on

October 28, 2014

  “……we ‘punched’ a big enough hole in the side of the Bai-Kai ship that now they have to contend with 18 pairs of eyes bearing down on them every day…’

There is no doubt the regime and the Fiji Sun have it in for veteran politician Mick Beddoes so it’s not surprising both have kicked up a stink over him getting into Parliament, albeit it as the Principal administrative Officer for the Opposition Party.

Beddoes has yet to be officially appointed and is currently a volunteer but has been asked to take up the position by Ro Teimumu Kepa, who clearly wants to ensure an effective Opposition.

He wasn’t elected but excelled in the lead-up to the elections in singling out the key issues and getting publicity on them and his absence is a loss to the Opposition.

In an interview with C4.5, he says he’s honoured to have been asked and expects to bring some very useful advice to the Opposition.

C4.5: You’ve been around a long time – how would you describe your particular skills?
Beddoes: Having spent 6 years as an Opposition MP and 3 of those years as Opposition Leader, I think I have developed a few skills that might prove useful to our members.
Remember, in my days there was 2 verses 50, so with 18 Members to confront the government with, I think we will be in great position to keep them on their toes.

We also have the added advantage of a highly academically qualified and experienced group of individuals in their own     right, which I think is pretty impressive.

source – c4.5; Posted by Rusi Varani for SWM

Award for excellence – and yet deaths in custody

October 21, 2014

Incompetency awarded:

Two of the country’s most incompetent agencies have been singled out for their so-called ‘excellent’ service.

And yet both have been involved in ugly and controversial beatings of Fiji citizens, including prison escapees, some of whom have lost limbs or who’ve died in custody as recently as August.
The government run Corrections Services and Fiji Police have been recognised for their service to the community, while ironically the recent death of Vikilesa Soko is being investigated, and other cases remain ‘unsolved’ or closed.

Torture of Benedito and another prisoner.

Both Corrections and Police have had poor public relations records in recent years, with cases such as that of Iowane Benedito going uninvestigated despite the perpetrators being identified.

Now, with Fiji Islands Revenue and Customs Authority (FIRCA), Fiji Corrections has taken the 2014 Excellence (SEA) Prime Minister’s award, with Fiji Police being named in the Service Excellence Award – along with a number of government departments including the Prime Ministers Office and the Ministry of Information.

FIRCA, too, has had a questionable role in some of the fraud and corruption cases brought against Fiji citizens, working hand in glove with FICAC to pursue targets generally accepted as reflecting biases and the settling of old scores.

The awards seem to have been given out indiscriminately with almost every government agency and Ministry being rated. One has to ask: how believable is that?

2014 Service Excellence Commitment Award

‘Traumatic’ injuries: Soko’s report talks of assault.
Lost limb: Escaped prisoner.

Fiji Sports Council, Ministry of Rural & Maritime Development & National Disaster Management, Ministry of Justice

2014 Service Excellence Achievement Award
Office of the President, Judicial Dept, Ministry of Strategic Planning, National Development and Statistics, Ministry of iTaukei Affairs, Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Ministry of Local Govt, Housing and Environment, Ministry of Agriculture, Department of Information Technology Services, Ministry of Public Enterprises, Ministry of Sugar Industry, iTaukei Affairs Board, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Immigration, National Security and Defence

2014 Service Excellence Award
Office of the Prime Minister, Office of the Auditor General, Public Service Commission, Ministry of Employment, Productivity & Industrial Relations, Ministry of Fisheries and Forests, Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport, Ministry of Youth and Sports, Ministry of Foreign Affairs,

source – c4.5; Posted by Rusi Varani for SWM

Nawaikula fights back on ‘out of context coup threat’

October 19, 2014

“Bainimarama must understand he is now a Prime Minister, not a Dictator with a mandate to govern, he must exercise his powers with humility, respect and accountability”

Nawaikula: Bainimarama is fear mongering

Quick and sharp response today from Opposition member, Niko Nawaikula, after Frank Bainimarama accused him of threatening to carry out a coup.

Bainimarama was quoted in the Fiji Sun as saying Naiwaikula had threatened in his maiden speech that if the Constitution was not amended it would be Parliament’s invitation to another coup.

In a veiled threat, he went on to say government, RFMF and police were working in unison and would stop any attempted coup.

Nawaikula was quick to front the claims and the ‘alleged threats against him’ saying he had said nothing of the sort.

“…. Prime Minister Bainimarama and the Fiji Sun would do well to read the context in which I referred to coups in the Hansard – if they had, they would realize that their claims that I ‘threatened a coup‘ were not only baseless, but deliberately distorted to ‘sensationalize’ the issue for their own benefit of fear mongering.”

Nawaikula said his reference to coups was in relation to his remarks on ‘True Democracy’ where he said, quote:

“True Democracy will only be achieved by a Constitution that contains the following essential elements:

1) It is the common will of the population;
2) It guarantees the rights of all citizens, and by that I mean, individual fundamental rights, indigenous group rights, minority rights, workers’ rights, women’s rights and all the other rights that are now established by UN Convention;
3) It provides within its mechanism a clear separation of powers; and
4) It must also provide within it a provision that guarantees accountability, transparency and good governance.

“I will be so bold as to say that the sooner we convene a commission to look into and extract from all previous Constitutional documents, the good they have in them, combining them all into one that we all agree with containing those essential elements, the better it will be for us.

“Not doing so will be an invitation for another coup because we have shown by the very way that we have been voting since 1987, that a coup is a legitimate way to change things. Unquote.”

Nawaikula went to say : “This is clearly recorded in the Hansard records. Nowhere in that statement do I threaten a coup!”

He added: “The fact is, the Prime Minister and his side of the House and the 2013 Constitution are themselves the end product of the coups I referred to as the way we have been changing our political direction since 1987.This is a fact. Plain and simple.

“By threatening me as he did, the Prime Minister himself is mocking the 2013 Constitution because he shows no respect or regard for my freedom of speech, expression and publication as stated in the Bill of Rights Sec 17, and my freedom of conscience and belief as stated in Sec 22.

“The Honourable Bainimarama must understand that he is now a Prime Minister, not a Dictator with a mandate to govern, he must exercise his powers with humility, respect and accountability and that includes allowing others to freely express their view and he must protect their right to do so.”

source – c4.5; Posted by Rusi Varani for SWM

Authorities forced to respond to Ebola concerns

October 19, 2014

Fiji police: due home from Liberia.

Is Fiji ready for the Ebola epidemic?

The question is a fair one but not one Parliament is ready for – or wants to discuss.

An urgent question was filed yesterday by Fiji’s Opposition member, Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu, but it was rejected by the Speaker.

Lalabalavu

The epidemic is sweeping several West African countries, with new cases reported in the U.S. and Spain and Germany but there have been no reports of the virus in Fiji or anywhere near the Pacific.

Fiji police, however, are stationed as part of the United Nations peace keeping mission in Liberia, one of the hot spots for Ebola.

Fiji has now been forced to respond with the Assistant Health Minister, Veena Bhatnagar, saying safety measures have been put into place.

She says the Ministry mobilised a taskforce early in August so safety precautions are already in place .

“This multiagency technical advisory group which consisted of advisers from within the ministry, WHO, Defence Ministry, Foreign Affairs, Ports Authority of Fiji and most recently AFL have mobilised preparations at the boarders and hospitals in preparedness of any arrival from an Ebola affected country.”

But she also says measures are being stepped up with  training and workshops being held next week for health professionals.

Lalabalavu’s urgent question stated that:

Given the potential of the epidemic to worsen before it is expected to be brought under control, can the Minister for Health please inform the House on the following:

• Does the Ministry have in place any plans to create public awareness about the Ebola virus and what can be done to prevent it?

• What plans do we have to effectively isolate any suspect cases

• Has the Ministry started any training of Health personnel to handle cases while maintaining their own safety

• Do these plans include the establishment of an Ebola testing laboratory to enable quick results?

• Have our Border officials and airline personnel been briefed on this Virus and are they ready to conduct proper screening of visitors and returning residents?

• What plans have we got in place for screening our Police contingent when they return from Liberia which is the centre of the Ebola epidemic.

Fiji police have also undertaken not to send replacements to Liberia.

The Fiji Times quotes police spokesperson, Ana Naisoro, as saying the first lot of officers is expected back at the end of next month and the rest in May next year.

Last month the Health Ministry said the chances of Ebola entering the country were low but conceded if it did, it would be via an infected traveller.

source – c4.5; posted by Rusi Varani for SWM

MPs use maiden speech to target Constitution

October 19, 2014

Early days yet but the maiden speeches give some idea of who to watch.

SODELPA MP Niko Nawaikula twisted the tiger’s tail with his comment the 2013 Constitution did not have the people’s mandate and that the best parts should be extracted and the rest discarded.

Niko Nawaikula

“The question I ask Madam Speaker is, Is the 2013 Constitution the People’s will? The straight answer is, it is not and this has been imposed on us.”

The lawyer was reprimanded several times by the speaker for saying the Constitution was an interim measure only as Fiji morphs and seeks to achieve true democracy.

He said a true Constitution reflected the spirit of the people.

“It is common will of the population,” said Nawaikula. “It guarantees the rights of all its citizens and by that I mean individual or fundamental Rights, indigenous group rights, Minority rights, Worker’s rights, women’s rights and all other rights that are now established by the UN convention.

“It provides within it mechanisms that provides a clear

Mosese Bulitavu

separation of power, and it provides within it provisions that guarantees accountability, transparencies and good governance.”

The leader of the Opposition, Ro Teimumu Kepa, also focused on the Constitution saying the history of the Deed of Cession wasn’t even mentioned in it.

source – c4.5; posted by Rusi Varani for SWM
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