Thursday, August 18, 2011

Pacific Forum Chief say Fiji Regime Puts Agency’s Principles at Stake

RNZI News - 18 August 2011



The secretary general of the Pacific Islands Forum, Tuiloma Neroni Slade, says the fundamental principles of the regional agency are at stake with Fiji’s military led government continuing to cling to power.


Mr Slade, addressing officials from Forum member countries in Suva ahead of the summit in Auckland in three weeks, told them that military rule and an erosion of human rights and individual freedoms are inconsistent with the agency’s noble ambitions.

He says the Forum’s Ministerial Contact Group has strongly encouraged Fiji to restore democracy, saying a constitutionally elected government is essential to building investor confidence and growing the economy.

Mr Slade says the MCG Ministers were also concerned that the continuing extension of the Public Emergency Regulations infringes on the basic rights of Fiji citizens.

He says the MCG will make recommendations at the summit on Fiji’s participation in regional trade and economic meetings and consider whether the regime is taking sufficient steps to enable a return to parliamentary democracy.


Reference to Fiji in Mr Slade's address is contained in Paragraph 16 and reproduced in full below.



Fiji
16. The situation in Fiji continues to be a concern for us all, not only out of concern for the people of Fiji, but also because fundamental Forum principles are at stake. One needs only to note the principles of the Biketawa Declaration or reflect on the Pacific Leaders’ Vision, to see that military rule and an erosion of human rights and individual freedoms are inconsistent with the noble ambitions and high hopes of the Forum. The Ministerial Contact Group, MCG, which has been mandated to monitor the situation in Fiji and report back to Leaders met in February this year and strongly encouraged Fiji to restore democracy as soon as possible, noting that a constitutionally elected government is essential to ensuring that necessary steps are taken to build investor confidence and grow the economy. MCG Ministers also were concerned about the continuing extension of the Public Emergency Regulations since their promulgation in 2009 as an infringement on the basic human and democratic rights of Fiji citizens. The MCG also agreed to make recommendations to the Forum Leaders on Fiji’s participation in regional trade and economic meetings. We look forward to the MCG’s report to Leaders in Auckland with a clear focus on whether Fiji authorities are taking sufficient steps to enable a return to parliamentary democracy as they maintain they are committed to do.


Click here to read the full speech!




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